A healthy diet and proper eating are essential for all of us. Occasionally, this might involve snacking between mealtimes. In fact, some individuals require frequent refreshments to keep themselves energized. Certain groups, like the elderly, must regularly consume snacks to keep their blood glucose levels within a healthy range. However, it’s crucial that elderly folks, especially, choose healthy snack options.
It might be tempting to choose deliciously addictive munchies like potato chips and chocolates when it comes to snacking. These treats, however, are very high in salt, sugar, and fat, and have hardly any nutritious merit. That is why relatives and caregivers must pay close attention to the snacks that your elderly loved ones eat. If your elderly loved ones require regular snacks to prevent malnutrition or age-related weight loss, here are five key things to consider before preparing snacks for aging parents.
Unique Dietary and Nutritional Requirements
You should choose snacks for your aging parents that are appropriate for their unique dietary requirements. For instance, your aging parent might have a vitamin C or calcium deficit, so snacks that meet such requirements would be suitable. Particularly, because aging bodies are less capable of manufacturing vitamin D, older folks usually require more of it.
Alternatively, they might be lacking in some essential nutrients if they are not eating enough, or are experiencing gastrointestinal problems that make them lose weight. Then, they would benefit from healthy, high-calorie foods to help older adults gain weight. To provide them with all the necessary minerals and vitamins they require, always pick a range of snacks from the five food categories.
Personal Tastes and Flavor Preferences
Sometimes, your aging parents may lack the enthusiasm for healthy eating due to their refusal to consume foods they find unpleasant or the fact that they were given little choice in the issue by their doctor. That is why it’s important to be mindful of your aging parents’ culinary preferences and help them find healthy substitutes for their favorite junk foods. For instance, if they simply can’t go without chocolates, give them dark chocolate instead that’s rich in antioxidative vitamins and nutrients. If they adore French fries, consider baking sweet potato fries instead to appease their cravings!
Chewing and Eating Difficulties
Apples are wonderful fruits that offer naturally-occurring sugars for energy, but many older adults find it difficult to bite down on such hard foods. Try cooking or buying soft and easy-to-chew snacks so that your elderly parents can comfortably enjoy them. Consider ground whole grains, mushy fruits, boiled veggies, and low-fat spreads if some foods are too tough for them.
Excessive sodium can elevate the threat of developing cardiovascular diseases or high blood pressure. It’s crucial to limit your aging parents’ consumption of salty foods like French fries and potato chips; processed meats like bacon, ham, and corned beef; as well as condiments like mustard and soy sauce. Season their snacks with spices or herbs rather than salt.
Trans Fats and Saturated Fats Intake
Sugary pies, buttery pastries, deep-fried foods, nachos, and chocolates are common snacks that tend to be full of highly damaging saturated and trans fats. These should be eaten extremely sparingly. A healthy dessert substitute can be homemade cakes prepared with low-fat dairy and wholewheat ingredients like oats.