While a healthy diet is essential for people in all stages of life, a nutritious meal plan is especially important for senior citizens who are experiencing body-related changes as they age. These changes can influence your loved ones' dietary needs and appetites, so it's important to note a few tips that can help you ensure they're getting everything they need.
A healthy diet can also help to decrease your loved ones' risk of age-related issues like constipation, heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Weight management is also important, and nutritious meals can provide your relatives with extra energy. Here are six ways you can help your loved ones stay healthy and fit.
1. Watch out for sodium. When you're choosing foods at the grocery store, compare the labels of all foods and pick those that have the lowest sodium levels, as this mineral can increase the risk of high blood pressure, which could lead to other issues like heart and kidney disease as well as stroke.
2. Follow the recommended serving amounts for different types of foods. Generally, your relatives should have seven to eight ounces of grains (half of which are whole grains), six ounces or less of chicken, meat or fish, two or three cups of milk, two or three cups of vegetables and two or three cups of fruit each day. Two tablespoons of healthy oil should also be included.
3. Choose healthy fats. Unsaturated fats found in avocados, nuts, seeds, fish and vegetable oils are much better than saturated fats and especially trans fats. Look out for those on food labels.
4. Drink plenty of water. Your loved ones might not feel thirsty much, but it's important for them to drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated. Non-caffeinated beverages and foods with a high water content (like soups and fruits) are also acceptable.
5. Load up on calcium. Everyone needs calcium to increase bone strength, but this is especially true for seniors. Ensure that your loved ones are eating plenty of calcium-rich foods like low-fat dairy products and milk.
6. Invest in a medical alarm device from Bay Alarm. If your loved ones ever experience a food-related issue, like choking, stove burns or another type of problem, a medical alert can put them into contact with emergency professionals who can get help immediately.