The National Institute on Aging has a few guidelines for elderly men and women to consider when planning their diet. Staying hydrated is important, but there are also specific foods that seniors should make sure they’re eating every day. Does your dad’s diet cover these needs?
Swap Fresh Herbs and Spices for Extra Salt
Foods naturally have sodium. For seniors who find their taste buds have changed, adding extra salt is the wrong choice. Instead of trying to improve flavor with salt, use fresh herbs and spices. You can grow many fresh herbs on the windowsill. Basil, mint, thyme, chives, rosemary, and sage are all plants that are easy to grow inside.
If you’re looking for ways to create easy dishes that are full of flavor, try these combinations. Saute spinach in olive oil, garlic, lemon, and thyme. Use a meat tenderizer to flatten a chicken breast. Layer fresh tomatoes and basil leaves over the breast and sprinkle with black pepper. Roll the chicken breast up and secure with a toothpick. Bake and serve on top of a pilaf made with farro or barley.
Boost Intake of Whole Grains
Many seniors go for easy-to-cook starches like instant potatoes, frozen french fries, or Minute Rice. During a visit with your dad, cook up healthier grains like quinoa, farro, barley, bulgur, or whole grain pasta. Put them into small freezer bags and write instructions for your dad to rely on when reheating the grains.
Make Sure He’s Eating Fresh Vegetables and Fruits
It’s important that your dad gets multiple servings of fresh fruits and vegetables every day. If he lives in an area where fresh vegetables are hard to get in the winter, frozen is second best.
When planning his meal, he should make it a goal to have vegetables take up half of his plate. His protein and grain should each fill a quarter of his plate. If he has a hard time eating certain vegetables, which can happen with dentures and bridges, there are things you can do. If your dad loves carrots but hates them cooked to a mush, roast them until tender.
Does Your Dad Hate Cooking?
Many seniors simply do not like cooking. That’s why they lean towards takeout and freezer meals. Standing for a long period of time is hard. Lifting a heavy pan from the oven seems impossible. Using a knife is hard when arthritis is present.
If this is an issue your dad has, hire someone to help him cook healthy meals. Elderly care services can help your dad plan a menu, shop for ingredients, carry groceries inside, put them away, and prepare a meal. Call an elderly care agency to learn more.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elderly care in Toms River, NJ, contact the caring staff at Care Street Home Care’s Ocean/Monmouth Division. Call today 732-719-7011.
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