This time of year, it can seem like everyone is making plans for changes in their lives. Exercise more. Lose weight. Start a new hobby or pastime. And as we all know, these kinds of plans can be tough to stick to. But when it comes to the health of senior loved ones, a commitment to healthy eating habits is certainly a plan worth keeping – all year long.
Throughout our lives, we often get stuck in patterns. For many people, one of those patterns is unhealthy eating habits. But the good news is that it is never too late to break out of these patterns and improve health. Older adults can benefit greatly by making nutritious food and beverage choices.
The following healthy eating tips can help older adults take steps toward improved nutrition:
- Identify nutrient-dense foods. Nutrient-dense foods contain high amounts of vitamins, minerals, protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, but are relatively low in calories. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include: fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat or fat-free milk products, seafood, lean meats, eggs, peas, beans, and nuts.
- Cut back on unhealthy choices. Limit foods with added sugars and saturated fats as well as those high in sodium. Reducing caffeine and alcohol intake is important too. Overindulging in these types of foods and beverages has been shown to cause health issues such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Begin shifting to healthier food and beverage choices. Once you know which foods are best for you, begin shifting your diet to incorporate more of them.
- Keep track of your daily intake. Write down your daily meals and snacks each day to log the foods you are eating. This can help you see how well you are doing on changing your eating patterns and areas where you can still improve. Notice a lot of snacking just before lunch? Try adding more protein during breakfast to help you feel full until lunchtime.
Making the Move to Healthier Foods
We all have foods we’ve grown to love, despite the fact that they might not be the best for our bodies. Giving up a snack food can feel challenging. But it is important to remember that giving up food is not the goal; replacing unhealthy foods with healthier ones is. Here are some ideas to help older adults make the shift to foods that are better for the body:
- Love high-calorie chips? Shift to nutrient-dense carrot sticks.
- Snacking on cookies with sugary fruit filling? Shift to fresh fruit instead.
- Using white bread for toast and sandwiches? Shift to whole grain bread.
- Cooking everything in butter or margarine? Shift to healthy oils, like olive oil.
Remember, starting a new habit takes time and patience. Help older loved ones make the changes slowly, and don’t expect them to be perfect right away. Partnering with a professional home care provider can help as well. At Jewish Family Home Care, a provider of trusted in-home care in Hollywood, FL and nearby areas, we offer personal nutrition services to ensure seniors maintain healthy eating habits that meet their unique needs. Our dedicated caregivers can assist with planning and preparing nutritious meals and even provide friendly companionship during mealtimes.
If an older adult you love could benefit from in-home care in Hollywood, FL or the surrounding communities, contact us online or give us a call today at (954) 908-5677. Our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have or schedule a free in-home assessment to help you learn more about our services.