Senior meal plans offer a way for older people to receive nutritious and appropriately portioned meals on a daily basis. The meals are tailored to meet the special dietary and nutritional requirements of older people. Senior meals are typically low in sodium, saturated fat and oil. They tend to emphasize smaller portions of meat and non-vegetarian food and larger portions of fresh fruit and vegetables.
Good nutrition is vital at all ages, but senior nutrition is particularly important to maintain a high quality of life as people get older. The food we consume on a daily basis has a direct impact on our health, our quality of life and our overall sense of wellness. A carefully planned elderly meal plan can go a long way in ensuring that a senior gets the proteins, the minerals and the vitamins for seniors needed to maintain good health. Well-planned meals for seniors can reduce the risk of age-related illnesses, such as diabetes, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
Research has shown that, as people age, their bodies’ physiology changes, and its ability to absorb and digest vital nutrients gradually diminishes. Foods that people once consumed without any problems when they were younger can, sometimes, become unsuitable and unhealthy in our senior years. Individuals who consume the same amount of food they used to when younger, or stick to the same diet, tend to put on weight easily or run into other serious health issues.
Nutrition-Rich, Low-Calorie Foods
Consequently, an elderly meal plan should focus on a well-balanced and carefully chosen mix of foods. Most gerontologists and dieticians agree that the emphasis of senior meals should be on nutrition-rich, low calorie foods. The goal of such plans should be to ensure sufficient nutrition intake, while minimizing the number of calories consumed daily.
The actual food that is consumed as part of a senior meal plan can vary depending on an individual’s specific needs, tastes and health condition. A senior with a history of diabetes, for instance, will have a somewhat different dietary requirement compared to a person suffering from osteoporosis or cholesterol. Even so, there are some general rules that apply when it comes to meals for seniors.
- In general, do consume more whole-grain breads and cereal, more nuts, fresh fruit and vegetables daily. Research has shown that people who consume a largely vegetarian diet tend to live longer than non-vegetarians. They also tend to suffer less from diseases such as high blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Don’t consume, or at least try to limit your intake of, greasy and fatty foods, red meat, sweets, alcohol and salt. Such foods should be avoided, especially if you have diabetes, high blood pressure, cholesterol or other health issues.
- Do consume plenty of water. Avoid soft drinks and caffeinated drinks such as coffee.
- Do pay attention to your calorie intake. With senior meal plans, the amount of food you consume daily is almost as important as the type of food you consume.