March 2020 has been designated National Nutrition Month by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. It is celebrated by nutritionists who encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle that starts with a balanced diet, making informed food and drink choices and establishing physical activities to maintain a healthy senior lifestyle, live longer, stay mentally sharp, and feel better. Here’s how to celebrate National Nutrition Month.
Generally speaking, as we age, we need to carefully watch that we don’t overdo it with salt or sodium-packed foods which lead to high blood pressure and water retention. Remember that you don’t have to eliminate every treat, but moderation is very important. Always follow specific health needs, such as low sodium, heart healthy, or diabetic diets that have been implemented by a doctor.
What does good nutrition look like for the elderly? Daily nutrition needs to help maintain health to keep common aging issues at bay such as heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or diabetes. If lifestyle changes have created less activity in every day, it may mean taking in less calories. Watching sodium or fat intake is also a common concern for seniors. Nutritious meals and snacks should include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats or proteins from another source, and dairy.
Fresh fruits include berries, apples, bananas, and melons. Calcium is also necessary to reduce osteoporosis risk, though keeping calcium in balance with magnesium is also an often overlooked important factor. Good sources of calcium come from cheese, milk, and yogurt as well as kale, almonds, or tofu. Avoid, so called bad carbs, that include white flour, refined sugar, white rice, or any foods that are stripped of fiber or bran. Good carbs include grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.
While we may think of eating to be three square meals a day, as we age we often benefit more from several smaller meals throughout the day supplemented with healthy snacks. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggest these helpful nutrition tips for seniors:
Make a plan
It’s important that seniors follow an eating plan to ensure nutrition needs are met. Plan snacks to fit into each day. Always have a variety of healthy snacks on hand ready to eat. Some healthy snacks include fresh fruits, nuts, yogurt, or popcorn.
Fill in the gaps with healthy snacks
Snack time is a great time to fill in gaps in nutrition. Instead of thinking of snack time as a sugary dessert treat or a fatty, sodium packed chip time, make all snack calories count. It’s a great time to incorporate veggies or fresh fruits as well as low-fat dairy or grains.
Healthy fluids are important
Often nutrition is thought to be the things we eat, but it’s also important to stay hydrated, prevent Urinary Tract Infections UTIs and even to keep electrolytes in balance to stave off confusion. Water is the best way to meet liquid dietary needs. Additional nutritious fluids include juice or milk.
At Regency Home Care, we make nutrition for seniors a priority. We offer in home senior care Atlanta that you can depend on and trust. We help the elderly stay as independent as possible for as long as they can, and this includes assistance with nutrition, healthy eating, and exercise.
Contact us for more information on private duty care in Atlanta. We are your partner in care. In home care Atlanta GA also helps with safe, reliable transportation to health-related appointments and procedures or running errands.