Welcome back to the second installment on healthy aging. Today’s topic is healthy eating for seniors.

Today we focus on good eating habits. This is harder to do when challenges such as cooking for one, loss of appetite, or medications interfere. It’s also a challenge to decipher what is healthy and what is not. My Dad had bypass surgery in the 70’s. Back then, butter was a no-go and margarine was king and never, ever eggs. You get the idea.

Canada’s Food Guide is a good resource to help maintain a healthy diet without outrageous claims. It is what we will use when looking at what to eat. If you would like a copy of the guide, simply to send me an email.

With small adjustments, meals can be a pleasant experience once again instead of a big chore. Using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate helps when cooking for one or when one has loss of appetite. Too much food on a senior’s plate can turn them off eating. Smaller portions are fine, if enough calories are consumed during the day. Loss of weight can lead to loss of muscle mass.

Having a favourite drink in an attractive glass, nice napkins and flatware help to elevate the experience, even when it’s in front of the TV.

Mindfully eating means eating slowly and being aware of what you are eating. This not only helps with good digestion but is calming to the brain.

A physical from the doctor will tell if there are any special dietary considerations (diabetes, digestive issues). The doctor might also recommend supplements for important nutrients (Vitamin C and D are two big ones) that might be lacking in a typical diet. Also, a discussion on lower fat, salt and sugar might be in order.

Homemade, frozen meals can help for one who doesn’t like to cook the whole dinner. If you are the caregiver and can make extra of whatever you’re preparing for your family, that would do well for the senior. You can freeze the food with the date and item on the top and take to your parent on your next visit. If this idea doesn’t work for you, Enriched Home Care can batch cook favourite meals at your parent’s place, and freeze them with the item and date listed on the top of the container. This will help your parent from having to make the whole dinner by themselves.

In the next blog we will look at Canada’s Food Guide suggestions for meal preparations and tips on where you might also find other healthy prepared dishes to help with the meal making.

Until next week, have a happy and healthy week!