15 Jan Elder Care Nutrition, Part 2: What should a healthy diet for older adults contain?
Before you head to the market or the kitchen, make sure you understand the following key items before starting any change in nutrition for someone in elder care or a senior on medication:
- Do they have any food allergies?
- Do they have any medications that have nutritional restrictions?
- Do they have any physical or dental limitations?
- What types of foods or tastes do they enjoy?
- Should their doctor receive a copy of their nutrition plan? (Hint: Yes.)
Breakfast Meal Ideas for Seniors in Elder Care
- Oatmeal with fresh or frozen berries – can easily be cooked for one or several people and can be kept warm in a crock pot or stove top with a very low flame.
- Hard-boiled egg – when prepped in volume at the beginning of the week, a hard-boiled egg can be kept shelled or unshelled in refrigeration. Pair with a slice of toast or bagel and a cup of coffee or tea.
- Yogurt parfait – mix together yogurt, granola, nuts and fruit into a glass dish or cup and store in the fridge for a few days. Parfait is a healthy combo of fats, vitamins and carbs – plus it is easy to eat and can be changed up to feature different fruit flavors. Perhaps a bit of honey too.
- Avocado toast – in areas with avocados, an increasing trend of using avocado slices or paste on top of whole wheat bread or bagel is becoming a popular breakfast trend.
Lunch Ideas for Seniors in Elder Care
- Wraps – sandwiches may begin to prove difficult to handle and fall apart, not to mention the amount of bread can be overwhelming. Using a soft tortilla to create a wrap is often a helpful addition to older seniors’ meals.
- Lunchtime omelet – a breakfast staple might be too heavy for the first meal of the day and it doesn’t mean it has to be off the menu completely. Omelets have an excellent texture and can be enhanced with chili, meats, veggies, cheese and virtually any ingredient that will fit in a skillet.
- Salmon salad – an increasingly popular meat choice, salmon can be purchased froze, fresh or canned. Regardless of how you buy it, salmon is an excellent source of healthy fats and nutrition. With slices or chunks on top of a bed of dark green lettuce, add avocado, tomatoes, olives and a mild balsamic vinaigrette to complete this meal idea. Salads can also be prepped ahead of time and kept in refrigeration.
Dinner Ideas for Seniors in Elder Care
- Baked fish – an easy dish to make in almost every kitchen. Simply place fish in a glass or non-stick pan, top with fresh veggies and a little extra-virgin olive oil. Bake as directed on the packaging and serve with rice. A good idea for rice is the microwaveable rice pilaf packets that are ready in under 2 minutes and cook perfectly every time.
- Meatballs – keep an eye on the fat content, but meatballs can be found frozen with many meats including beef, turkey, lamb and mixtures. The softer texture is easy to chew, and the balls are easy to count healthy portions. Consider adding a fresh pasta sauce or salsa if hoping to spice things up.
- Shredded chicken, beans and rice. In a single, large, crockpot, add a can of beans, rice then pre-cooked chicken on top. Allow to cook fully and add cheese or salsa. This mixture is easy to eat and will provide lots of energy.
- Southwest chicken salad – an increasingly popular menu item in all states, this salad often contains a mix of diced or shredded chicken, corn, black beans, cheese, avocado, sour cream, olives all on a bed of lettuce and served with a cilantro ranch dressing. We recommend omitting the common tortilla strips as they are hard and can painfully impact themselves into gums.