You probably don’t put much thought into where your next meal is coming from or how you will get it, but for older persons living alone, it’s a bit more complicated. Many seniors find themselves dependent on ready-to-eat meals because they are convenient and easy; however, they contain tons of sodium, fat, and other unhealthy ingredients. When visiting an elderly parent, it is important to know how much food is in the cupboards and refrigerator, and if any of the food is outdated. Food preparation is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside for an older adult.
5 tips to ensure your parent’s are eating well
1) Do your part. If your parent does not like to cook, or has difficulty doing so, maybe arranging meal delivery, stocking up their freezer with home-cooked dishes, or popping in to cook for them could help to keep them eating both well and regularly.
2) Make it enjoyable. Eating should be enjoyable, as well as nutritious. Offer to cook your parent’s favorite meal, while adding in nutritious ingredients as well. You can keep track of calorie intake, as well as keeping your parent happy.
3) The indulgence. Sometimes, parents prefer cake, cookies and ice cream over fruit and vegetables, especially since the cost of nutritious food can be quite expensive. This can lead to a dietary imbalance. Encourage your parent to drink some fruit juice, make a smoothie, or just include more nutritious ingredients in their cooking.
4) Snack time. Some parents have no appetite, while others may forget to eat. Offering your parent smaller meals throughout the day or buying them healthy snacks like fruit salad or raw vegetable trays can encourage your parent to nibble throughout the day on smaller portions.
5) Plan before shopping. Before shopping for food, you and your parent could plan out a tentative menu for the week. Since most seniors live on fixed incomes, this is a good way to save money by sticking to a budget, while at the same time making sure your parent has the right ingredients to make healthy and nutritious meals.
Good food is necessary for emotional and physical health. “Your food choices each day affect your health–how you feel today, tomorrow, and in the future.” (http://www.fitness.gov/eat-healthy/why-is-it-important/)