If you are preparing meals for a senior loved one who prefers carbs to carrots (and honestly – who doesn’t?), you might find it difficult to guarantee that their nutritional needs are being satisfied. And you are not alone. The CDC shares that only one in ten seniors are meeting the recommendation for at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit every day. Numerous research reports have revealed that those who do follow these guidelines decrease their risk for heart disease, diabetes, as well as other chronic health conditions, and subsequently live longer.
It may be the perfect time to think outside the box to promote healthier eating habits and to find new ways to add fruits and vegetables into a senior’s diet. For example:
Make it smooth. Smoothies and sauces are great ways to integrate a number of superfoods. You can easily create a refreshing, tasty drink by blending a little spinach, yogurt, and fresh fruit. Or experiment with pureeing an assortment of vegetables to blend in with marinara sauce: zucchini, carrots, kale, bell peppers, etc.
Make it crunchy. There are so many nutritious alternatives to greasy potato chips for a crispy snack or as a side to enjoy with a sandwich. Pick up a few for the senior to try and see which ones are most satisfying: kale, sweet potato, beet, radish, green bean, eggplant, and more. Or try freeze-dried fruit, another crunchy and nutritious choice.
Freeze it up. Create your own easy, healthy frozen snacks by blending fruit with a little juice or water, pouring into popsicle molds, and freezing until solid. These also make a great multi-generational activity! Invite the family over, let everyone select their favorite flavor to make, and then spend some quality time together as you wait for them to chill before enjoying your individual creations.
Go for convenience. Peeling, slicing, chopping, cooking – the many steps needed to prepare some vegetables and fruit make it easier to simply grab a prepackaged snack. Try to find healthy alternatives that are just as easy to grab and enjoy, such as ready-to-eat salads, baby carrots, or other cleaned and sliced veggies, individual cups of fruit, bananas, etc.
Join a CSA. If you have never thought about a CSA, now could be an ideal time to investigate this option. A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a subscription service for fresh produce from local farmers. Find out more and discover a CSA near you here.
JFS Care’s caregivers are skilled in preparing delicious, healthy meals according to each person’s individual preferences. We can pick up all of the ingredients too! Just reach out to us at 213-383-2273 to learn how our senior caregivers in Los Angeles and the nearby area can provide assistance to improve the health of an older adult you love. Visit our Service Area page to see all of the communities we serve.