Here is a topic that we begin to think about in our 50’s or 60’s. Our parents are getting older, they often aren’t eating right, and we’re justifiably concerned. Perhaps we’ve lost a parent, and the other is adjusting to living alone and doesn’t cook. Whatever the circumstances, it’s important for elderly people to eat well. Proper nutrition helps them stay alert, keeps their bones healthy, gives them energy and helps keep their immune system strong.
Here are ten great ideas for helping to keep your elderly parents eating right.
- Go through cooking magazines or cookbooks with them. What pictures or descriptions make them pay attention? Make a list of the kinds of meals they’re interested in, and either bring in the ingredients with some recipes, or make the meals and freeze them for your parent.
- Get them on a senior meal program at MagicKitchen.com.
- Sometimes a dimming of vision makes the meals they have look “blah”. Try adding pops of color with red bell peppers, carrots or snow peas.
- If they have a restricted diet, that may confuse them and make them feel they don’t know what to eat. MagicKitchen.com’s MK Special Menu contains meals for restricted diets and the meals are well-liked and easy to serve.
- Try to eat with your lone parent as often as possible. Eating alone is no fun, and preparing and cleaning up for one seems to have no point. You know the feeling, if your spouse and children go away for a few days, how often do you cook a whole meal for yourself?
- Changing taste buds caused by medication or age can make foods taste bland. Try spicing the meals up- not with hot chiles, as likely your parent won’t like that, but with some fresh herbs or spices. Mint goes well with many foods, and can give a burst of freshness to a meal.
- If they love milkshakes, make them a delicious smoothie, and put in some healthy additions like a little protein powder, banana, yogurt, raw honey, flax seeds, chia seeds (grind them up in the coffee grinder first), or berries.
- Small portions with high nutrition. Older people don’t need high calories anymore, and don’t have large appetites. Give them small portions made with healthy ingredients.
- Small, frequent snacks. Keep such things as cheese, fruit, dried fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers, olives and lean lunch meats.
- Wine can be an appetite stimulant, a glass of wine before a meal may help get those taste buds fired up.
I hope these tips and the video have helped give you a few ideas on how to help out with meals for the elderly!