According to the government, elderly people should pay special attention to certain areas of their diet and ensure that they are getting good amounts of vitamins and minerals like calcium and B12. Food is often a huge part of our cultural background and our daily habits. Making major changes can be difficult, which is why it’s important to make incremental changes that we can actually stick with!
Looking out for what we snack on is a great way to adjust to a healthier diet. Our team at Commonwise Home Care put together a list of healthy snacks for elderly people that will boost your daily vitamin and mineral intake and get you on the right track to a healthy diet!
Read on to learn more about the healthy foods to reach for when you’re in a snacking mood!
Why Is a Healthy Diet Important for Seniors?
In an ideal world, we’d all eat a healthy diet every day! Nutritious foods boost our mood, our energy, and give our bodies all the tools they need to function throughout the day.
For seniors, in particular, a healthy diet is important because of the increased health risks seniors face. For example, eating fewer red meats and replacing high-fat foods with lean proteins and nutrient-rich vegetables can lower your chance of developing heart disease. Healthy snacks for seniors can make a big difference.
Some seniors find it difficult to change their eating habits because of their medication. It is not uncommon for certain medications to disrupt our appetite, cause nausea, or increase our lethargy, which may cause cravings for high-carb, high-sugar foods.
Some seniors may find it difficult to prepare nutritious recipes for their elderly-friendly diet due to mobility issues. If this is the case, you may benefit from working with an at-home caregiver who can assist you with the day-to-day activities that have become difficult with age!
Healthy Snacks for Elderly People
We tend to reach for empty carbs, sweets, or foods that are high in sodium content when we want to fulfill our snacking cravings. If you want to alter that habit, it’s important to find healthy alternatives that meet some of the criteria of your favorite snacks but without all of the bad stuff. Nutritious recipes for elderly parents can offer a tasty way to engage with good food. Read on for some of our suggestions for healthy snacks based on what you might enjoy now.
Crunchy Snacks for Seniors
If you’re a fan of crunchy snacks, you may turn to high-sodium snacks like potato chips or pretzels. The goal is to replace these unhealthy snacks with something nutritious that still provides that satisfying crunch!
Consider pairing raw, crunchy veggies like carrots, celery, or cauliflower with hummus. As long as you make sure you’re sticking primarily with the veggies as your hummus vessel, you can throw in a small handful of baked tortilla chips, salt-free pretzel flats, or reduced-fat pita chips. Even plain, unsalted popcorn is alright as long as you eat it in moderation!
Soft Foods for Elderly People
If you have sensitive teeth or gums, crunchy snacks may not be the best option for you. Fortunately, there are plenty of soft foods you can eat that are packed with vitamins and nutrients!
Mix up a bowl of greek yogurt and cut peaches to boost your calcium and Vitamin C intake. Hardboil a few eggs at the beginning of the week and snack on those for a soft, high-protein option–remember, you can season them with pepper, garlic, or even onion powder! If you have a blender, use some almond milk and a few of your favorite fruits to get some potassium, Vitamin E, and more.
High-Protein Snacks for Seniors
If you need an energy boost between meals, you may want to reach for a natural source of protein! As we mentioned earlier, the body has a tendency to crave sugar and carbs when we become accustomed to the rapid rise in blood sugar they provide. The problem is that both carbs and sugar lead to a quick energy crash, which can make us feel lethargic and even a bit sad or anxious.
Stock your fridge with low-sodium turkey slices to pair with your veggies and hummus. If you’re a vegetarian or simply want to lower your meat intake, consider eating a handful of raw almonds or cashews when your energy levels drop. If you need something with a little more substance, spread some tuna fish on five or six whole wheat crackers!
Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth
When it comes to adjusting our diet, giving up sugary treats like cookies and ice cream can be the hardest part. The best way to overcome that craving is to reach for a snack that provides a bit of natural sugar!
If you prefer fruit-flavored sugary snacks, it’s time to replace them with the real thing. Fruits like oranges, clementines, and berries are a great option. If you’re missing the gummy texture of your favorite candy, try natural fruit leathers or dried mango slices.
If you’re more of a chocolate lover, we have some good news for you. Dark chocolate, in small portions, is actually a heart-healthy option! You may also find that pairing apple slices with natural peanut butter or almond butter will also hit the spot!
Little Changes Can Make a Big Difference
Changing your eating habits all at once is difficult. Starting with little changes, like filling your fridge and pantry with healthy snacks for elderly individuals, can set you on the path to a healthy diet! Evening snack ideas can help prevent late night unhealthy eating.
Sometimes, we need a little help in making healthy choices and living an active life. If you live at home and need an extra hand around the house, take a look at the at-home care services we offer at Commonwise Home Care or call our Care Team today at 434.202.8565.
Disclaimer: Please check with your physician before making any changes to your diet, exercise, or medication routine.