Senior Nutrition

Senior Nutrition: Navigating the Challenges of Keeping Our Elders Nourished

Is your elderly mom getting a little too thin? Cooking for a single person can be absolute drudgery, with just as many dirty dishes as cooking for two or five! Who wants that? Hence why some seniors buy a kid’s meal from the local fast food place, have cheese and crackers, or just skip a meal.

This is not good.

Why Senior Nutrition Matters

As we age, gracefully or not, our nutritional needs change. Senior nutrition is not just about filling the stomach; it’s about crafting meals that nourish, energize, and are tasty and appealing.

One of the key challenges in senior nutrition is adapting to changing dietary requirements. Dealing with changes in metabolism and various health issues can make navigating nutrition tricky. When reflux is a problem, for example, one might skip the citrus, a major source of Vitamin C. Similarly, someone with lactose intolerance won’t drink milk (which is full of calcium). How do we help our seniors to eat well and meet their nutritional needs while addressing food intolerances?

Getting Your Vitamins

Taking a multivitamin can help, as can taking a more focused supplement (Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium). It is possible, however, to continue getting calcium and vitamin C through food.

The following foods are great sources of calcium:

  • Greens (turnip, collard, mustard)
  • Canned mackerel, salmon, shrimp or tuna
  • Tofu

For Vitamin C, it’s even easier – here are some tasty ways to get Vitamin C:

  • Strawberries
  • Fortified OJ (calcium AND Vitamin C)
  • Kiwi
  • Broccoli
  • Cantaloupe

Ready to mix it up? Here are some delicious recipes that hit all of the nutritional markers.

Recipe #1: Sunshine Smoothie Bowl

Packed with antioxidants, fiber, and a burst of natural sweetness, this bowl is a nutritional powerhouse.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mixed berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries)
  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup granola
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • A handful of chopped nuts (almonds or walnuts)

Instructions:

  • Blend the mixed berries, banana, and Greek yogurt until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into a bowl.
  • Top with granola, a drizzle of honey, and chopped nuts.
  • Enjoy a spoonful of sunshine!

This breakfast bowl not only satisfies taste buds but also provides a nutrient-packed start to the day, promoting digestion and offering a burst of energy.

Recipe #2: Herb-Roasted Salmon with Quinoa Pilaf

Lunchtime calls for a dish that marries simplicity with sophistication. Our Herb-Roasted Salmon with Quinoa Pilaf does just that, offering a dose of omega-3 fatty acids and essential proteins.

Ingredients:

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (rosemary, thyme, or dill)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
  • 1 cup mixed vegetables (carrots, peas, and bell peppers)

Instructions:

  • Preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
  • Rub the salmon filets with olive oil, dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is cooked through.
  • In a separate pot, cook quinoa in vegetable broth according to package instructions.
  • Sauté mixed vegetables and fold them into the cooked quinoa.
  • Serve the herb-roasted salmon over a bed of quinoa pilaf.

This dish is not only delicious but also supports heart health and provides a satisfying, balanced meal.

Recipe #3: Berry Blast Yogurt Parfait

Dessert doesn’t have to be a guilty pleasure; it can be a celebration of wholesome goodness. Our Berry Blast Yogurt Parfait is a delightful way to cap off the day with great flavor and nutrition.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup mixed berries
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup granola
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • A drizzle of honey

Instructions:

  • In a glass, layer Greek yogurt, mixed berries, and granola.
  • Repeat the layers until the glass is filled.
  • Top with chia seeds and a drizzle of honey.
  • Dive into a berrylicious paradise!

This dessert not only satisfies a sweet tooth but also provides a dose of probiotics, fiber, and antioxidants.

Elderly-Friendly Recipes Don’t Have to be Difficult

Navigating the challenges of senior nutrition doesn’t have to be rocket science. These easy and healthy recipes are solid choices for the elders in your life. Not a hit? Ask questions and keep digging! Here’s to good health and delicious meals for our wise and wonderful seniors.