Malnutrition is a risk at any age. Even if your parents are eating regular meals, they’re still at risk of malnutrition. If they’re not eating the proper nutrients, they’re risking issues like iron-deficient anemia, low bone density, and vitamin B12 deficiencies that lead to dizziness, memory issues, and problems with balance.
It often seems complicated to follow a healthy eating plan. But, it doesn’t have to be. Use these tips to get your parents to make better choices when it comes to their meals and snacks.
Follow a Rule of Fourths
When your parents have a meal, they need to aim for fourths. A fourth of the plate is protein. Another fourth is a whole grain. The remaining half of the plate should be fresh fruits and vegetables.
Take Favorite Meals and Snacks and Improve Them
Sometimes, it’s helpful to take a close look at family recipes and see if there are ways to improve them. Your dad loves meatloaf. Switch to ground turkey or chicken to lower the fat content. Lean ground beef also helps. Lower the sodium content and add more vegetables to reduce the amount of meat in the mixture.
Your mom has a sweet tooth and loves brownies. Make them without sugar using banana puree instead. If she likes oatmeal cookies, skip the sugar. Instead, use banana puree and add lots of nuts and chopped apples for a nutritional kick.
Stop buying store-bought bread. Make homemade bread and add more fiber by avoiding all-purpose flour. Instead, use whole wheat flour and add other grains, seeds, and nuts. You’ll control the sodium and sugar when you make it from scratch.
Eat Plenty of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Ensure your parents have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. They should form the majority of the foods your mom and dad eat all day. Of course, they want to mix up their colors, too. Leafy greens are essential, but so are cruciferous vegetables like cabbage and antioxidant-rich tomatoes.
Get plenty of fruit each day in a hurry. A smoothie made from frozen berries, hemp or flax seeds, yogurt, and banana is a nutritious, easy-to-make breakfast.
Help your parents make better choices when it comes to their meals and snacks. With the help of senior care aides, your parents have someone to help them choose foods at the grocery store. They don’t have to get frozen meals or takeout as their caregivers can cook for them. Call a senior care agency to find out more about prices and schedules.