Cooking Healthy for the Elderly
As People get older, they tend to eat less, but good nutrition is more necessary than ever. The following is a list of tips to keep in mind while cooking for the elderly.
• Control portion sizes. The elderly often become overwhelmed with large portions, and this may even cause them to lose their appetite altogether.
• Read the information that comes with all medications or ask a family member if there are any dietary restrictions that accompany the medication.
• Try to lower the sodium intake, especially if he or she is at risk for high blood pressure.
• Try to encourage an increase of fiber in the diet.
• Serve foods that are easy on dentures, if necessary. Some foods are too chewy or too sticky for denture wearers to eat comfortably.
• It may be easier for the person to eat with his or her fingers instead of utensils. Offer foods that are easy to pick up.
• Elderly are more at risk for becoming dehydrated. Offer beverages throughout the day to avoid this problem.
• Use solid colored plates, tablecloths and placemats. They are much easier to see food on for those with sight difficulties.
· Labeling foods with the day, month, and years will help all caregivers keep better track of the freshness and safety of the foods they are serving.
• Always ask the people you are feeding for suggestions, comments and special requests. They will almost certainly have specific tastes, likes and dislikes that you need to know about. Keep in mind however, that many clients will say they are not hungry and often need to smell food cooking to stimulate their appetites.
Here is one of my favorite recipes to get you started:
High Fiber Turkey Loaf
1.5 lbs Lean ground turkey
¼ cup diced onion
¼ cup wheat bread crumbs
¼ cup FiberOne dry cereal
2 Tbs Fresh parsley
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp basil
1 tsp ketchup
1 tsp mustard
½ tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Divide mixture into greased muffin tins. Cook for 20 minutes at 450 degrees.
By Barbara Good (Arbor Senior Care). She can be reached at 801 288-4100.