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  • Jamie Berns

Make Aging Delicious and Nutritious


Applesauce and canned string beans are synonymous with foods for aging adults. However, soft food and healthy greens don’t have to be so drab and mundane. Although preparing a meal for one or two sometimes feels overwhelming or tedious, there are plenty of sources for inspiration and assistance. Knowing when to get some help is the first step.


Sometimes changes such as: living alone, injuries, altered sense of smell or taste due to illness or aging, or new medications can affect your relationship with food. When these changes occur it often becomes more difficult to cook for yourself or to even want to eat. Yet, food plays an essential role in wellness. Chronic illnesses like diabetes, Alzheimer's, and high blood pressure can become more difficult to manage especially if our diets are out of kilter. While it can be difficult, to combat inadequate nutrition and avoid triggering or worsening these illnesses and to hasten your recovery, choosing and consuming the right foods is essential. There are many different ways to improve your diet. Whether it is getting additional help to shop or to make meals, or simply changing up your diet with a few new recipes, you can improve your daily routine. Here are some helpful tips to have both a healthy, uncomplicated diet:


1. Make Meals and Snacks Packed With Nutrients

Nutrients such as Calcium and vitamin D can come from eggs, fatty fish, and some leafy greens. These nutrients are important for bone health. Oatmeal, orange juice and other breakfast cereals are also fortified with Calcium and vitamin D. Another nutrient that is important to have in your daily diet is B12. B12 is responsible for health nerves and blood cells. Many people suffer from a B12 deficiency because it comes from iron-rich food such as lean meats and seafood. If you are vegan or vegetarian you may want to ask your doctor about taking a supplement. B12 improves mood, as well as fights megaloblastic anemia — a disease that leads to extreme weakness and fatigue. Dietary fiber helps with digestion and staying regular. Finally, Potassium lowers the risk of high blood pressure.


Try making a hearty chicken vegetable soup or your favorite stew!


2. Add Extra Calories Without Adding Extra Volume


If your appetite just isn’t there and you aren’t feeling hungry, try adding sauces, or gravies to your dish. Add honey or maple syrup to your breakfast cereal. Or try sprinkling wheat germ in your baked goods. Using herbs and spices will also make your meals more interesting and peak your appetite (sans salt).


3. Make Meals Colorful and Appealing


Try to make your plate more colorful. Instead of Yukon mashed potatoes I like to make mashed sweet potatoes with a little maple syrup or honey, nutmeg, and cinnamon.


4. Prepare Several Small Meals and Snacks


Eating smaller meals or snacks throughout the day can make it easier when you don’t have much of an appetite.


5. Ask Your Doctor or A Registered Dietitian About Supplements


If getting in regular meals with all the necessary nutrition is difficult or you have specialized nutritional needs, talk to a health care professional and see what recommendation they may have for you.




References:


https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=8749


http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/wellness/healthy-aging/special-nutrient-needs-of-older-adults


https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/sample-menus-healthy-eating-older-adults


https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/healthy-eating-physical-activity-for-life/health-tips-for-older-adults?dkrd=/health-information/weight-management/health-tips-older-adults


https://www.precisionnutrition.com/nutrition-for-seniors


https://www.ncoa.org/article/healthy-eating-tips-for-seniors



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