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How You Can Ensure Your Aging Loved One Is Getting the Nutrition They Need

Senior woman eating outside while a black dog smells foodBy Anita Ginsburg

Millions of senior citizens are at risk of hunger and malnutrition. While several factors play a role in this, the bottom line is that many seniors do not get the nutrition they need. They may lose interest in cooking or lack the physical energy to shop and prepare meals for themselves, opting instead for convenient prepackaged foods with low nutritional value. Here are some practical ways to ensure they are getting the nutrients they need.

Understand the Problem

Investigate the reasons why a family member is not making safe food decisions. If the issue is a medication-induced lack of appetite, the remedy would be different than if it is just too difficult for them to get out to the grocery store or if they have an eating disorder. Once you have determined what is causing poor nutrition, work with your loved one’s doctor, other family members, and caregivers to develop a nutrition plan.

Make Fruits and Veggies Easy to Eat

Vitamins, minerals, and fiber aid in disease prevention and are abundant in vegetables and fruits. However, they’re not always easy to eat. By figuring out why your loved one struggles to eat them, you can find solutions. For example, if your loved one is suffering from tooth pain, make fruit smoothies for them. Experts suggest combining them with soy or protein powder to make them a completely balanced meal.

According to experts, to make vegetables easier to chew, use microwave steam bags. When microwaved, sweet potatoes become a fluffy but filling superfood. They are rich in beta-carotene, which is good for their immune system. Many other nutrition-packed vegetables similarly become soft and easy to eat.

Include Protein in Their Diet

High-protein foods should also be kept in the refrigerator and pantry. Protein aids in preventing muscle loss and fatigue. Adults typically require up to 56 grams of protein per day. However, consult with your loved one’s doctor to determine their specific requirements. Eggs are a good form of protein that is easy to eat, so they are strongly recommended by medical professionals.

Prepare enough food and keep it in the refrigerator for quick meals during the week. One egg contains slightly more than 6 grams of protein. You can also have them try tuna or peanut butter, which are both ready-to-eat protein choices that do not need much preparation.

Customized Menu

You can also use customized menu software to plan meals for your loved ones. This kind of software provides a variety of customized menu solutions to meet the specific nutritional needs of your loved ones. Users can control menu options and meal offerings with a few simple steps from their databases. The menus are designed to ensure nutritional adequacy and compliance with minimum regulatory standards. This means that you can ensure that the meals deliver the right nutrition while also being something your loved one wants to eat.

Proper diet can help treat a variety of physical problems and diseases. Many older people are afflicted with a variety of chronic medical conditions. Poor nutrition can both contribute to and aggravate these conditions. To overcome these, talk to your loved one’s doctor and find solutions to help your loved one get the proper nutrition.

Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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