Each age has its specifics. That refers to abilities, physical and mental conditions, and requirements to the lifestyle as well. When we are in our prime, we can eat almost everything with no considerable harm to our bodies. Our metabolism is great, we spend lots of energy daily, and we gladly try new products and tastes. Things change when we are aging. And this is natural. Thus, seniors have specific needs in their nutrition. Let’s learn about them and the principles of healthy eating for people at an advanced age.
Age Requirements: Which Peculiarities Seniors’ Health Has
As a person ages, he experiences both physiological and psychological changes. This process is not characterized by any clear age boundaries. Some at 70 look more or less young, while others at 55 are not looking fresh and full of energy. It depends on how healthy a person leads a lifestyle and whether he eats right. A well-chosen diet for an elderly person reduces the chance of dangerous illnesses, improves overall well-being, and generally makes a senior more active and young at heart.
At once, there are some changes which should be considered when planning a menu for a senior.
- With time, metabolism becomes slower, and thus, seniors need fewer calories daily compared to adults and young persons. When metabolism slows down, the body needs more time to consume the energy from meals, and often that leads to weight growth which is undesirable for seniors as higher weight brings higher risks of heart stroke, hypertension, and higher loads on joints and bones.
- The aging body has worn heart muscle and thus, when planning seniors’ meals should consider it.
- Besides, to maintain energy and health, seniors need more vitamins and microelements.
At the same time, for seniors, a daily menu should contain fewer calories than an adult’s menu. The daily norm of energy value in old age should be 2100 kcal for women and 2300 for men. In old age, it decreases to 1900 in women and 2000 in men. So, that principle is a cornerstone for planning seniors’ menus.
Which Products Are a Must for Senior Nutrition?
Taking into account these peculiarities, let’s consider the most important products which should be the basis for a senior's nutrition.
- Apples. They are the source of fiber to normalize digestion and intestinal motility. Besides, apples help to normalize levels of sugar in the blood and decrease cholesterol levels which is good for the cardiovascular system.
- Seafood is a source of numerous microelements which have a positive impact on cognitive functions. Besides, seafood is almost total protein which is easily digested.
- Green vegetables and greenery are also important as they provide the body with fiber and vitamins. Besides, most green vegetables are low in calories and they create the feeling of satiety.
- Cold-water fish is also a must. Salmon, halibut, tuna, mackerel, sardines and other cold-water fish have high levels of omega-3 fatty acids, making them good for the heart and brain.
- Eggs can be a basis of seniors’ ration as they can be cooked in various ways, they are rich in protein, and they can be easily added to all types of meals.
- Berries contain many antioxidants that help fight harmful free radicals in the body. Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes and cherries are all very beneficial as you age.
- Dark chocolate is also a good idea to add to seniors’ meals. Dark chocolate is full of antioxidants and may help prevent heart attacks, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. The main thing is to keep it in moderation.
- Dairy products, especially Greek yogurt. It is low in calories and positively impacts digestion. While whole milk is not good for seniors, dairy products are the best choice.
Which Products Should Be Banned from Senior Nutrition
At the same time, it is worth considering which products are not good at an advanced age and should be avoided.
- Alcohol. Of course, we do not claim all seniors should avoid alcohol drinks totally. Yet, alcohol impacts the cardiovascular system and can lead to heart strokes and hypertension. The best drink for seniors among alcoholic drinks is red wine but not more than a portion.
- Too solid food which can harm teeth and which can be hardly digested.
- Too fatty products including red meat and fatty fish.
- Salt. With age, it is better to use less salt in dishes because increasing the amount of salt can lead to increased blood pressure and swelling due to increased stress on the kidneys. Instead of salt, you can use spices and aromatic oils.
- Products with trans fats and synthetic fats. They are not healthy at any age.
- Too many spices and chillies. Of course, some seniors are used to hot and spicy food, yet it is better to decrease the levels of spices in the meals.
Ideas for Senior Meal Prep: Some Tips by 95 Nutrition
So, how to develop a delicious yet healthy menu for seniors? In 95 Nutrition, we follow the next rules when providing our senior clients with healthy meal prep & delivery services.
- Moderate consumption. It is better to eat smaller portions of various meals than a big portion of one kind.
- Diversity of tastes and products. Food for older people should not only be healthy but also varied. The weekly menu should include cereals, pasta, meat, fish, eggs, dairy products, vegetables, and fruits. At the same time, diversity is determined by individual health characteristics.
- Enough water. We provide seniors with plenty of green vegetables, sauces, and dressings to get water balance.
- Balance. The menu for the elderly should be rich in products that have an anti-sclerotic effect, help to maintain cognitive functions, and protect the cardiovascular system.
- Preference for light products. Senior nutrition should be easily digestible. What is the best way to feed an elderly person? The menu should be dominated by fish and dairy products, and it is better to avoid smoked meat, lard, mushrooms, and legumes since they take a long time to digest and can negatively affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
So, if you still crack your brains about how to provide your seniors with balanced yet tasty meals, you can rely on us. Just try our menu propositions to please your family member or a friend.