Even the most active of older adults may find it difficult to keep up with creating and eating nutritious meals. There are many reasons, such as trouble chewing, decreased sense of taste or smell, dietary restrictions, medication side effects, mobility issues or feeling lonely. However, as we age, a well-balanced and nutritious diet is vitally important to help maintain not only physical health but cognitive health as well. If you’re still not convinced, here’s how good nutrition can keep seniors independent for longer.
Incorporating the Right Foods into Senior Diets
Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is the key to getting all the important vitamins and minerals. Vitamin D, calcium, and potassium are especially important for older adults who have a tendency to be deficient in all three. A great way to ensure these vitamins and minerals are incorporated is through fresh produce as opposed to canned or frozen fruits and vegetables (although those will do in a pinch). Seniors should also include a variety of high-fiber foods like beans, peas and lentils every day (whole grains are in that category) to help improve digestion, maintain a healthy weight, and reduce the risk of heart problems by moderating blood pressure and lowering high cholesterol.
Senior Nutrition Recommendations from the USDA
At our assisted living facility in Morris County, we follow the lead of the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) when it comes to the nutrition of our senior residents. Here are their top recommendations for people who are 50 years or older:
- Eat 1.5-2.5 cups of fruit and 2 to 3.5 cups of vegetables every day.
- USDA Food Guide: MyPlate Plan offers tips for building a balanced diet, which include monitoring portion size and making healthier food substitutions.
- Avoid high-calorie/low-nutrient foods such as chips, cookies, soda, and alcohol.
- Pick foods that are low in cholesterol and fat (especially saturated and trans fats).
- Eat with loved ones. Research suggests that people eat better when they are in the company of others. Whether at Shabbat, dinner or a casual lunch with friends and family, social meals are happier for everyone around the table.
- Working with a nutritionist can help provide easy-to-follow guidelines to ensure seniors are getting what they need to stay healthy.
- Physical exercise is also important to incorporate into the daily routine. Whether it’s a daily walk through the community, chair yoga, or working out in the gym, exercise is just as important in maintaining physical health, cognitive health and independence as we age.
Living Healthy and Independently at Lester Senior Living NJ
In cold weather, soups are a great way to fill up with essential vitamins and minerals by adding legumes rich in fiber and fresh vegetables. At Lester Senior Living, our homemade soups are so popular, we stock them in our General Store, so residents can enjoy them any time in their apartments.
If you’d like to sample the dining options at Lester Senior Living before moving in, we invite you to contact David Rozen to meet for a free lunch at our assisted living residence. You and your loved one can try out the delicious, kosher meals with fellow residents in our elegant dining rooms.
For more information about senior meal plans and community life at Lester Senior Living, please visit our website at: https://jchcorp.org