In order to age well and stay healthy, it is essential to adopt a good alimentation and diet. Choosing healthy eating habits has many advantages for seniors. These benefits can be seen in the overall health and quality of life of older adults. Here are some useful tips about nutrition for seniors that may help you on a day-to-day basis.With these guidelines, we hope that you will discover the right balance and the satisfaction of healthy eating for seniors, through a balanced routine.
Why is healthy eating so important for a senior ?
By adopting a healthy and balanced diet, seniors have the opportunity to contribute to maintain and even improve their health. Regardless of age, healthy eating habits on a daily basis can help to :
- prevent some of the well-known health problems such as diabetes or hypertension ;
- get the required energy to perform all leisure activities and daily tasks ;
- maintain good muscle mass and bone health.
In summary, healthy eating for seniors has many benefits. The positive consequences of good nutrition have an impact on the well-being of the senior, as well as helping to maintain a maximum of independence and autonomy in everyday life.
Some good nutrition tips for seniors
Over time, following the age of retirement, some changes may occur in the human body. Metabolism tends to slow down. Resulting in a decreased appetite for many seniors. For some, the relationship with food may also become more problematic for a variety of reasons.
In order to help you maintain good lifestyle habits, healthy eating and proper nutritional status, here are some concrete recommendations. These guidelines will help you, or your elderly relative, maintain healthy eating habits, regardless of age !
1. Be inspired by Canada’s Food Guide
Canada’s Food Guide is a detailed and comprehensive nutrition reference for all of us, regardless of age. Revised in 2019, this new guide now focuses on the quality of food consumed and the adoption of some healthy eating choices on a regular basis.
For example, emphasis is put on the recommendation to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, to choose whole grain products when possible and to limit the amount of highly processed foods in the daily diet.
For seniors who enjoy cooking, the opportunity is perfect to share your culinary talents. Make plans with your friends and family and take the time to enjoy some quality time together around the dinner table !
2. Opt for nutritious and varied food
Another important nutrition tip for seniors is to make sure to get a maximum of variety in their menu. Making sure, at the same time, to choose foods with high nutritional value.
A healthy eating plan for seniors also involves ensuring an appropriate intake of protein. Whether from animal or plant origin, eating protein-rich foods helps maintain muscle strength and prevents unwanted weight loss. Here are some examples of high-protein products that seniors should try to incorporate in their meal plan :
- fish ;
- seafood ;
- red meat ;
- eggs ;
- nuts ;
- legumes (peas, lentils, kidney beans, etc.) ;
- plant proteins such as tofu or soy milk for example ;
- and much more !
Note : for an elderly person, a well balanced diet implies a good intake of both calories and proteins. The objective is to ensure you get the quality and quantity of nutrients needed for maintaining optimal overall health. This way, you will be able to continue your daily activities with vitality and energy !
3. Look for healthy food alternatives
Although it is important to choose a well-diversified menu, the search for healthy food alternatives is a profitable nutrition solution for the health and well-being of each senior. Here are a few suggestions to adopt a healthier diet for seniors :
- Include more fruits, vegetables and/or nuts for snacks during the day ;
- Substitute white rice for quinoa or brown rice ;
- Choose whole grain bread over traditional white bread ;
- Consider whole grain pastas ( from wheat or legumes for example), as they are richer in protein ;
- Use some fresh herbs for seasoning instead of adding salt to your food ;
- Choosing lower sodium products when shopping at the grocery store.
Plus many more alternatives that can help to promote healthy living in the older population.
4. Make every meal an enjoyable experience
While all of these tips for healthy eating for seniors are valuable, one thing in particular is critical : remembering to enjoy eating !
In order to prevent problems of undernutrition or malnutrition in the elderly, it is essential to ensure that every meal stays a pleasant experience. Here are a few ideas worth considering :
- Music lovers can choose their favorite songs and enjoy their dinners with a lively or relaxing atmosphere. Music can be a great way to fully appreciate the moment, while eating properly and slowly.
- For seniors living at home by themselves, loneliness can have a negative impact on healthy eating. A close elderly relative in your entourage is in a similar situation ? Why not share good meals with them, either with family or friends.
- Love to go out for dinner ? Why not give yourself a treat occasionally ! Going out to your favorite restaurant is a great way to keep appreciating all the delights of food and eating.
Whether at home or away, healthy eating habits for seniors also means allowing yourself to choose food that you truly enjoy. This way, eating will remain a fun and positive experience !
5. Benefits of drinking enough water
Another precious tip to keep in mind is to always make sure to stay properly hydrated. Benefits of drinking enough water are well-known. Regardless of age, water fulfills several vital functions in the human body. It regulates body temperature, hydrates tissues, helps with digestion, facilitates the transport of nutrients, and much more.
The need to remain well hydrated is even more important among the elderly population. Indeed, the risk of dehydration for seniors is higher than average for various reasons. For example, this can be due to the use of certain medications, a reduced thirst sensation, or the deterioration of the kidneys functions. Incorporating sufficient water intake into your daily routine is the most effective way to prevent problems. Younger or older, staying well hydrated is always good for your health !
6. Consult a dietician / nutritionist for professional and personalized advice
For healthy eating for seniors, every one of the above points is worth considering. However, in order to go further and in greater details, there is nothing like professional advice and personalized recommendations from experts. As a key part of the health care system, Registered Dietitians (RD) can assist you. These professionals are specialists in the field of nutrition. In collaboration with other health care professionals, including your family physician, a nutritionist / dietician is qualified to perform a comprehensive evaluation of your nutritional needs, in relation to your health condition.
Dietitians can therefore help the elderly in their daily lives in order to improve their control of some health problems such as diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, and more. As well as acting in prevention for various problems of malnutrition or undernourishment among seniors.
7. Eating assistance and meal preparation for seniors : an interesting home care service available
For seniors living alone at home, Visavie offers a very interesting home care service : meal preparation and feeding assistance. Whether you need help for grocery shopping, weekly meal planning or cooking some delicious and comforting dishes, Visavie‘s professional caregivers can accompany seniors through each of these steps. This home care solution also provides a reassuring presence for seniors during mealtime. Together, these factors can contribute to more balanced and healthier eating habits among the elderly population.
Interested in more advice on good nutrition for seniors and don’t know who to ask ? Do you believe that an elderly relative you care about may need support at home to make sure to eat healthy ? Or, maybe you are concerned that a senior family member might suffer from undernutrition ?
Feel free to contact our advisors at Visavie for a personalized accompaniment, adapted to the needs of each senior. Our team will guide you with a caring and respectful approach towards the right resources. With the objective to establish healthy eating for seniors, improving quality of life and maximizing autonomy.