When it comes to helping your aging parents live a high quality of life, nutrition is essential. With lower appetites, problems with tasting, and even problems with chewing, however, many seniors have trouble getting all of the nutrients they need to keep them strong and healthy. With a little creativity you can make boosting the nutrition in everyday meals and snacks part of a senior care
plan that lets you and your elderly parents enjoy eating together while keeping their bodies as healthy as possible.
Getting creative with nutrition is all about finding ways to make some of your parents' favorite foods work overtime providing more nutrients you may expect them to in their original form. Working with your caregiver you can put twists on your usual recipes and try a few changes to your regular senior care routine that will help your aging parents get more of what they need without feeling like you are depriving them of delicious meals or forcing them to eat more than they want.
Try some of these tips to bump up the nutrition in some of your meals and snacks:
• Enjoy nutrient-packed breakfast breads.
Whether you make muffins or loaves, creating moist, flavorful breads out of zucchini, carrot, pumpkin, or sweet potato offers vitamins and fiber. Add a few walnuts for good fats and protein. Slather these breads with heart-healthy spread, jelly, or fruit butters for a day-starting meal that tastes like a treat but packs a powerful nutrient punch.
• Sneak vegetables in with their lookalikes.
Sometimes the tastiest foods are not the best for you, but by slipping some high-nutrition foods in with them, your parents can continue to indulge in their favorites while still taking care of their of their nutrition needs. Try adding cauliflower to mashed potatoes, using vegetable-based pasta instead of white flour, or using plain Greek yogurt mixed with lemon juice and garlic in place of mayonnaise.
• Opt for dark chocolate.
There are situations when nothing will do but chocolate, and when you encounter those situations, it is fine to let your aging parents, and yourself, indulge a little. Enhance the nutrition of your chocolate treats by choosing high-quality dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate contains higher concentrations of heart-protecting antioxidants than milk chocolate, and the more-intense flavor means you can eat less while still being satisfied.
• Use flavor drops for water.
This is more about taking away than adding, but it still helps you ensure your parents' bodies get what they need. Many seniors do not feel thirst the same way they did when they were younger, particularly if they are inactive, which leaves their bodies dehydrated. Use calorie-free flavor drops in bottled water to encourage your senior parents to drink more water. Place the bottles beside them to remind them to sip throughout the day.
• Return to the casserole.
You may remember your mother making casseroles for you when you were younger, and now it is your chance to try this dinner powerhouse. Casseroles are a blank canvas just waiting for you to fill them with vegetables and lean meats. Add extra protein and cut the fat in creamy casseroles by replacing up to half of the sauce with silken tofu. Blend the sauce and the tofu together before adding it to the casserole for a smooth finish.
If you have an aging loved one and are considering home care services, contact Interim HealthCare today.