Healthy Eating and Lifestyle
While it is important for people of all ages to stay healthy, it is especially important for senior citizens to maintain healthy eating habits as well as to stay active which is important in the prevention of chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. By practicing healthier living practices, senior citizens can maintain a healthy weight, avoid depression, and stay mentally sharp. Those participating in caring for the elderly should be aware of these healthy living practices and work to both encourage and facilitate them.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a healthy diet includes many different types of food that are rich in nutrients. They have outlined specifically what this eating plan entails at the website.. Because this eating plan is designed specifically for senior citizens, it focuses on the types of foods that are important for preventing common ailments of older Americans like obesity and serious chronic illnesses.
Healthy Eating 101:
By following some of the tips listed, senior citizens can start a healthier lifestyle today:
- Don’t skip meals. It is important to eat regularly in order to maintain normal metabolism and not become tempted to eat higher fat foods when food is consumed.
- Eat a diet that is high in fiber. By eating foods like whole-grain breads, beans, vegetables, and fruits, you can lower your susceptibility to diabetes and heart disease.
- Senior citizens especially should begin to adjust their diet to one that includes less calories and fat because the body will need less as it ages.
- Calcium and Vitamin D are very important for nutrition and keeping bones strong. You can get this by either getting in at least three servings of dairy every day, or substituting these with soy-based beverages and proteins.
- Senior citizens will have a harder time absorbing adequate amounts of the B12 vitamin. For this reason, it is important to eat cereals fortified with this nutrient or taking vitamin B12 supplements with meals.
- Snack the smart way. Senior citizens will want to limit the amount of unhealthy snacking they do which involves foods high in calories and sugars. Instead, keep small portions of dried fruit, peanut butter, or crackers at hand to keep the appetite under control while remaining healthy.
- Drink plenty of water. Although senior citizens often feel less thirsty then they used to, it is important to stay hydrated by either drinking water or water-based beverages like tea, coffee, soup, and skim milk.
Planning and Preparing Meals
Sometimes people find it hard to eat healthily because eating is often a social event which involves many people with different eating preferences and goals. While it is important to be able to enjoy a meal with family and friends, it is also important to maintain your own eating integrity by making sure everyone is on board with your personal healthy eating goals. Friends and family, as well as those providing elder care should facilitate healthy eating, not detour from it. The following tips address ways that senior citizens can maintain the healthy eating habits without sacrificing the social aspect of sharing a meal with others or learning to adjust to a lifestyle that involves eating with less people on a day-to-day basis.