With the ever-increasing processed nature of our modern foods, it is harder and harder to prepare and cook a well-balanced meal, let alone three of them a day. It can be especially tricky when your loved one has special dietary needs. For older adults, nutrition moves to the forefront as the most important aspect of a meal. A well-balance diet will dictate their health status, so they require foods that tend to be high in vitamins and low in sugar and fats. We have created this guide so that you can learn how to manage the nutrition of your loved one.
What to Include in a Good Diet?
A well-balanced diet consists of foods that are high in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. This can be typically found in meats and vegetables. Read on to know which nutrients you should look out for.
- Vitamin B6 and B12: The B vitamins directly affects your energy levels, brain function, and cell metabolism. They ensure that your body’s amino acid, blood and nerve cells are healthy so that you continue having a strong immune system. For vitamin B6, choose whole grain options and try out organ meats like liver. Vitamin B12 can be found in lean meats and fish. You can find both in specialized cereals with added vitamins.
- Calcium and Vitamin D: These two nutrients are known for their importance in keeping strong bones. For older adults, ensuring they get enough calcium and vitamin D is essential for preventing brittle bones and osteoporosis. Calcium is found in dairy products such as yogurt and cheese and in dark leafy greens like kale and broccoli. You can get vitamin D from being outdoors and in the sun. You can also opt for vitamin D supplements if your loved one is unable to be outside for long periods.
- Fiber: You will always hear the advice of adding more fiber to your diet if you are experiencing constipation. There is certainly truth to that, but fiber also does more. It prevents diabetes and is good for the heart. Beans, vegetables, and whole grains are great sources for fiber.
- Healthy Fats: You should definitely avoid fats, both saturated and trans, and cholesterol. However, there exist healthy fats, or unsaturated fats, that lowers the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. It can be found in vegetable oil, nuts, and fish.
- Potassium: The lack of potassium intake can raise blood pressure. Foods that are high in potassium includes bananas, yogurt, and potatoes.
Tips to Introduce a New Diet
It can be tough to switch to a new diet, but it must be done. Try out these tips to help incorporate a new diet into your loved one’s meals.
- Create a Balanced Plate: Fill at least half of the plate with fruits and vegetables. The remaining half should be split between whole grains and protein, preferably lean ones like chicken or fish.
- Change it Up: You know how boring it can be to eat the same foods over and over again. Try different foods with your loved one each day— their favorites can be a mainstay.
- Add a Burst of Color: A plate that looks presentable or is filled with bright colors is automatically more delicious looking and will encourage your loved one to dig in.