The Importance of Healthy Eating For Seniors

Malnutrition is a common problem for the elderly. Most of the time, it’s due to undernutrition, which leads to nutrient deficiencies and imbalances. Unfortunately, many seniors do not realize their bodies are struggling nutritionally. The symptoms of malnutrition aren’t obvious. The health issue can present itself through:
  • Loss of Appetite
  • General Malaise (a feeling of listlessness)
  • Lack of Overall Interest
  • Decreased Wellness

The most common nutritional deficiencies due to malnutrition are:

  • Vitamin A
  • Vitamin B
  • Vitamin C
  • Vitamin D
  • Vitamin E
  • Folic Acid
  • Calcium
  • Niacin

Proper nutrition from a well-balanced diet can improve physical and mental health. It can help seniors age healthily with ease.

What Seniors Should Eat for Proper Nutrition

The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) recommends that people 50 or older should consume the following:

  • Fruits – 1.5 to 2.5 Cups
  • Vegetables – 2 to 3.5 Cups
  • Grains – 5 to 10 Ounces
  • Protein – 5 to 7 Ounces
  • Dairy Foods – 3 Cups
  • Oils – 5 to 8 Teaspoons

How to Eat a Well-Balanced Diet

As people age, appetite changes. Most people do not eat as much as they used to and with reduced mobility they don’t expend as much energy. While this seems like it’s a good thing, it can make eating a well-balanced diet difficult.

The following are ways to eat a well-balanced diet:

  • Start with breakfast. Soon after waking up, eat a breakfast that includes protein, fruit and grains. For instance, an egg, banana and oatmeal made with milk is a nutritious breakfast.
  • Set an alarm for 3 hours for snack time. Eat a piece of fruit or vegetable, such as strawberries, celery, carrots, etc.
  • Set the alarm 3 more hours for lunch. Eat a lunch focused on vegetables and protein. It can be a salad with cheese or chicken. It could be pork, chicken or shrimp sauteed with vegetable oil with a side of steamed vegetables. Drink a glass of milk with your lunch if there isn’t any other dairy in the meal.
  • Set an alarm for three more hours for snack time. Eat some whole wheat crackers with hummus or some cheese with almonds. It doesn’t have to be a lot for it to provide the nutrition the body needs.
  • Set an alarm for three more hours for dinner. This should be like lunch. Protein with vegetables cooked with oil and a glass of milk.

It can get boring to eat fruit, vegetables, protein, dairy and grains every day, so be sure to pick up a variety of items that fall under those categories while at the grocery store.

The reason we suggest setting an alarm is because it can be difficult to remember to eat if you are not hungry. Eating just a small apple, peach, or a handful of baby carrots is all that’s needed.

How Moments at Home Helps

Moments at Home helps seniors with home care services, including meal preparation. This service ensures seniors eat the nutrition they need to be healthy and happy in their home.

In addition, seniors receive assistance with grocery shopping, errands, personal care, housekeeping, exercise and mobility support, companionship and compassion. Our caregivers are dedicated to providing competent, trustworthy and compassionate care to seniors and their loved ones in and around the Chicago area.

Contact us now at 847-497-0654 for a free in-home safety assessment.