A healthy diet is important throughout your life, but your needs change slightly over time. Meal prep for seniors follows many of the familiar principles you're used to, such as creating balanced meals with fresh ingredients and limiting sugar and salt, but there are a few nutrients that become more important when it comes to senior care. Here's what you need to know when preparing food for a loved one.
Which Aspects Are Most Important in Senior Nutrition?
1. Vitamins & Minerals
Because bones tend to get more brittle with age, especially in women, calcium is more important than ever. Seniors also need plenty of vitamin D to help their bodies absorb the calcium. Senior bodies can generate vitamin D as long as they’re getting sunlight, but they may need supplements if they spend most of their time indoors. Finally, more potassium and less sodium help seniors manage blood pressure.
The older people get, the more fiber they need to aid in digestion. It's where the stereotype of seniors loving prunes comes from, since prunes are high in fiber. There are also plenty of other good sources, like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
You probably already know that seniors should limit their intake of cholesterol and saturated fat for better cardiovascular health. However, not all fat is equal, and some of it is actually healthy. Polyunsaturated fats like omega-3 fatty acids lower senior cholesterol levels. They're found in avocado, fish, seeds and nuts, and olive oil. If the senior you’re caring for is healthy and doesn’t have special dietary restrictions, they can stay healthy if they get up to 35% of your calories from fat each day, two-thirds of which should be polyunsaturated.
If you need help with senior care and meal prep, choose Visiting Angels in Toms River, NJ. Serving Ocean County and Monmouth County, their compassionate caregivers follow care plans that are completely tailored to the needs of the individual recipients, with a focus on independence and dignity. Call (732) 240-1050 or visit their website to learn more about their program.