If you’ve noticed a decrease in appetite as you’ve gotten older-you’re not alone! There’s a reason portions on the seniors menu tend to be small. With a decrease in appetite, what you feed your body in the golden years becomes a big consideration. Here are the top 3 nutrition mistakes seniors should avoid so you can continue to feel your best!

Top 3 Nutrition Mistakes Seniors Should Avoid at a Glance

We are going to dive deep into the top 3 nutrition mistakes seniors should avoid, but before we do, here is an outline of what we will be talking about:

  1. Relying on highly processed, pre-made meals
  2. Sticking to a boring routine
  3. Not eating enough food

Keep reading to learn more about how you can avoid these top 3 nutritional mistakes and what you can do instead to keep yourself feeling energized and healthy.

What is a Healthy Diet?

Although healthy eating recommendations tend to remain the same throughout the lifespan from toddlerhood into older age, there are special considerations seniors should make to ensure they are getting the most benefit from their caloric buck.

Before we get into that, it’s important to understand what a healthy diet is.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends to enjoy a variety of fruits and vegetables including dark leafy greens, high quality protein sources such as lean meats, beans, and eggs, and to focus on whole grains such as oats and brown rice.

When you stick to eating real food in it’s natural form you will feel your best. Aim for eating whole natural foods and avoid versions of food that are highly processed.

Why Can Nutrition be Challenging for Seniors?

As we age many changes take place that can make it difficult to enjoy eating. These changes can also coincide with physical changes that make it difficult to prepare the foods you do enjoy.

Taste and smell can decrease as you age and this affects the pleasure you receive from eating your favorite foods.

Additionally, as the body slows down, it’s need for energy also slows down.

If you find you have become less active, this could be part of the reason you do not feel as hungry as you once did.

If you are caring for a loved one, it’s possible the added stress and time spent could be contributing to not having the resources to prepare meals like you used to.

And, if you’ve noticed a decline in your ability to manipulate items as you once were able to such as opening jars or cutting hard foods, this can also contribute to not being able to eat as you once did.

So let’s take a look at the top 3 mistakes you can avoid to make sure you are getting the most nutrition from the foods you do eat.

Mistake #1: Purchasing Pre-Made Frozen Meals

While heating up a “Hungry Man” or “Healthy Choice” frozen meal might be easy to do, often these pre-made meals are loaded with things like added salt and preservatives.

There’s nothing wrong with having a frozen meal once in a while, but if you’ve found that these freezer meals have begun to become a main item in your weekly menu, it might be time to reconsider your choices.

Instead of buying pre-frozen meals it would be better to purchase frozen vegetables which are equally convenient to fully prepared meals.

Frozen vegetables are often higher in nutrition than their fresh counterparts because they are flash frozen at the height of ripeness.

Add to your frozen veggies a small portion of fast fry meat, egg, or a package of beans and you have your bases covered.

I also like to recommend to clients to pre-make a large batch of brown rice, then freeze it into individual portions.

The frozen rice can be run under hot water in a colander to quickly defrost, or if you have the time, set it out of the freezer into the fridge the night before.

Mistake #2: Sticking With the Same Old Routine

As we age, our senses diminish. We often need glasses and hearing aides to help us navigate our surroundings.

The same is true for your sense of smell and taste.

Foods you used to enjoy the flavor of can become bland and boring.

Instead of piling on the salt, try adding new and interesting flavors with fresh herbs, vinegars, and sauces.

You can also explore different methods of preparing your favorite foods.

Instead of a plain baked chicken breast, why not try an air fried chicken breast with a crispy seasoned coating? This recipe from Little Sunny Kitchen looks delicious.

Mistake #3: Not Eating Enough

If you are not feeling hungry at meal time, it’s important to give your body the nutrition it needs to stay strong and healthy without feeling stuffed.

Keeping a regular schedule for eating will help you stay on track.

Luckily, some of the most nutrient dense foods on the planet have the lowest amount of calories.

This means when you consume things like dark green leafy vegetables, and fresh fruits, you are flooding your body with rich antioxidants and phytochemicals which will help you feel young and energized.

Add to these foods quality protein sources like raw nuts and seeds, lean meats, and beans and you will give your body the building blocks for healing and cellular repair.

Lastly, add in the whole grains to bulk up your meal, add calories and fiber.

When it’s Hard to Make Meals

If you’re finding that the reason you have not been eating well is because you have difficulty preparing healthy foods due to decline or you are spending time caring for a loved one who needs your support, reach out to Care at Home.

Our team of caregivers can come into your home and support you with meal prep and setting up meals. They will clean up the kitchen and they can even help you order and organize groceries.

You may even be able to access funding for home care support.

Contact our Care Manager today to book your free in-home assessment.


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