Some seniors don’t like eating massive meals, or their stomachs can’t take it. That’s why smaller portions throughout the day can help a senior stay healthy. However, when many people think about eating snacks, they think of pre-packaged foods like Twinkies or Oreos. But those aren’t the best choices for you or your loved one.
Making healthy choices as a senior may seem silly, but it’s actually crucial to allow them to age in place for longer. Home care can provide guidance when it comes to healthy eating, and it may be able to help prepare snacks, but it is ultimately up to the senior and their family members to make the best health decisions. Here is how you can pick out healthier snacks and what some good options are. Keep in mind that you can take full meals and cut them down to smaller portions for your seniors too. Snacks don’t have to be limited.
Look At the Nutritional Value
A lot of pre-packaged foods are filled with chemicals and something called "empty calories," which means that the food is filled with calories but won’t satisfy or keep a senior full. The calories don’t work for the body; they work against it. If you are leaning towards a pre-packaged food look at how many carbs are in it, salt, sugar, calories and protein. Something like tuna fish will be lower calorie and higher protein than a packaged twinkie. It’s crucial to choose snacks wisely because they can be small but keep your loved one full for longer.
Go for Higher Protein
Protein is crucial for seniors, even if they don’t know it. This is part of a well-rounded diet, and it works to keep bones, muscles, and tissues healthy. A senior can snack on fish, beans, legumes, and things like yogurt. Foods like yogurt can have added fruits and oats, making it tasty and delicious, easy to process in the body, and keeping a senior full for longer.
Opt for Vegetables
No matter what a senior thinks they should be eating vegetables daily. If they have a hard time chewing, help them make a smoothie with kale, spinach, and apples. Vegetables are filling but low in calories, and they are filled with essential vitamins that can make a senior feel good. Ask your loved one what kind of vegetables they prefer to eat and then provide a list for home care providers.
Higher-Fiber Foods Are a Good Choice
Eating fiber is crucial for a senior because it will keep them feeling full for longer but also keep their bathroom trips regular. It can help battle both constipation and diarrhea. Oats, citrus fruits, beans, and potatoes are high in fiber. This can also help them keep their blood sugar at a normal level, which can help manage diseases like diabetes but also just their overall energy levels.
Find the Low Calorie Options
Although low-calorie doesn’t always mean healthy, it is something to look for if your senior is eating full meals. But food choice does matter. A can of tuna fish or a pack of fish may be 90 calories and filled with protein and fiber, whereas a fruit roll-up may also be 90 calories but filled with preservatives and sugar. Opt for low calories, but always read the ingredients.