Senior living should bring more time to focus on enjoying life, family and relaxation. While good nutrition is important for any age, it is essential for getting the most out of our twilight years. A well-balanced diet for the elderly contributes to better health, more energy and a fulfilling day-to-day life.
For healthy people over the age of 70, nutritionists recommend eating foods rich in nutrients, increasing the amount of fibre in their diets, and drinking plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
Here is a list of simple and healthy meal ideas tailored to the nutritional needs of senior citizens. While you should discuss the particulars of your diet or the diet of the elderly person in your life with a doctor or retirement facility professional, this list covers some fundamentals for healthy senior meals for every meal of the day.
1. Breakfast Meals for Seniors
Too many people make a habit of skipping “the most important meal of the day,” and this includes seniors. Because older people generally eat less in a single sitting, spreading a senior’s daily caloric intake out over the day is all the more important. Breakfast offers an opportunity to introduce necessary foods high in fibre and fruits that are great for overall digestive health.
Breakfast is especially important to people on medications that can only be taken on a full stomach. As with all meals, seniors should drink plenty of liquids, taking water, juice or tea throughout the day.
Hard-boiled eggs are frequently included in many meals for seniors. Pair this simple breakfast staple with some fresh fruit and a slice of whole grain toast for a balanced meal.
A breakfast classic, served here without the unhealthy cream sauce or heavy cheeses of an Eggs Benedict. . Eggs are rich in bone-building Vitamin D, brain-boosting choline, and the amino acid tryptophan, which helps to regulate mood. Egg yolk contains iron which improves energy. Its protein promotes tissue growth, helping the body’s natural ability to heal and repair itself. Poaching preserves many of the health benefits that eggs have to offer for seniors
Hot oatmeal with fruit
High in fibre and delicious, warm oatmeal should be augmented with fresh berries, apples, or even yogurt. For an added treat, enjoy with a hint of Canadian maple syrup.
Whole grain pancakes/waffles
It’s no secret that pancakes and waffles are made from the same basic batter. However, what goes into the base batter really matters for senior health. Whole grains like barley, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, high-protein quinoa, steel-cut whole oats, and whole wheat make excellent batter choices. Using whole grains instead of traditional flour makes this tasty breakfast food high in essential fatty acids and proteins. It can also lower inflammation. Add chia seeds to mix for additional nutrients.
This trendy and tasty brunch item is popular among the younger generation, and for good reason! Did you know that avocado contains more potassium than bananas? It’s true. Avocados are rich in nutrients, heart-healthy fats, and fiber. They have also been demonstrated to lower cholesterol and triglycerides, promoting better overall health. Served sliced over whole grain toast they taste incredible! For the full experience, combine with a small serving of tasty greens like spinach, arugula or kale.
With whole wheat or whole grain bread and a spread of traditional peanut butter spread peanut butter, almond butter, or whole nut butter, toast is provides healthy fat and a little extra protein. Avoid butter, margarine, and sugary hazelnut-based spreads. Add fresh fruit.
2. Lunch Meals for Seniors
According to the USDA, seniors should consume two and a half cups of fresh vegetables every day, and lunch is a great opportunity to build a vegetable-rich diet. A healthy lunch for seniors should combine plenty of vegetables, a source of protein from lean meat, eggs, legumes or fish, and hearty grains like whole grain pasta, brown rice or whole grain bread. For added nutrients, add spinach, kale and carrots to any lunch.
Beef and barley soup
Soups are among the healthiest meals for seniors. Packed with vegetables, healthy grains and the savoury protein from beef, this classic soup makes for a hearty and comforting lunch option.
Tuna salad sandwich
A lunchtime favourite made up of tuna, light or low-fat mayonnaise, chopped celery, spinach and heart-healthy whole grain bread. Add a side of chopped baby carrots and tomatoes for extra nutrients.
Grilled Chicken and Cashew Salad
Many healthy salads combine vegetables, protein, and great taste. The grilled chicken and cashews in this salad doubles its protein content. Using a mixture of spinach, kale and romaine lettuce provides additional vitamins and minerals.
3. Dinner Meals for Seniors
Many seniors prefer to eat a light meal earlier in the evening or late afternoon. It is important that this meal complete the rest of the daily recommended servings of vegetables, grains and protein that seniors need. Doctors recommend using extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil for cooking instead of canola oil, butter or lard. Any of these delicious dishes can be improved with the addition of a side of boiled or steamed seasonal vegetables and a nutritious side salad or soup.
Baked or grilled salmon
In addition to being a great source of protein, antioxidants and Vitamin B, salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which help reduce the risk for heart disease and stroke, and boosts both mood and the effectiveness of anti-inflammatory drugs.
Spaghetti and meatballs
The health benefits of this Italian-American original are enhanced by adding veggies like zucchini, carrots, kale, spinach, and celery. Use whole grain noodles instead of fatty white flour pasta.
Chicken and vegetable mini-pot pies
This is a nostalgic entrée that mixes whole grains, vegetables, and protein. It’s an unexpected choice when it comes to meals for seniors, so many will find this food a delightful surprise.
Beans and brown rice
These meals for seniors are made with black, pinto or white beans and served with brown rice, or whole grains like oats or barley.
4. Snacks and Desserts for Seniors
Some nutritious snacks for seniors include dried fruits, soft nuts, yogurt, high-fiber crackers with hummus dip, and chopped bell pepper with guacamole.
Seasonal fresh fruit
Whether served individually or in a fruit salad, seniors need to eat plenty of fruits as part of the healthy meals for seniors.
Greek yogurt is great for seniors because it is a great source that helps control blood pressure and keeps bowels working. When you mix in nuts and fruits, you create a healthy mix of fat, vitamins and minerals.