As we age, health becomes a greater concern as we become more conscious of maintaining fitness for a long and healthy life. Following a nutritious diet, rich in vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants (don’t worry if you’re not sure what those are yet!) is essential to protecting our bodies from illness, feeling well, and ensuring an ability to exercise and be fit. A good diet has an almost endless list of benefits for a senior, but some of the better include:
- Better sleep
- Strong immune systems
- Better cognitive function
- Protection of bones and joints
- Improved moods
- Ability to maintain independence
One of the biggest difficulties for seniors is finding all the vitamins and minerals needed. Using nutritional supplements, such as one-a-day multis, or a combination of supplements recommended by a doctor or nutritionist, are a great place to start.
A healthy, balanced diet means fresh food prepared in a healthy way. This equates to regular grocery shopping and cooking at home, which for many seniors is not possible. Going to the grocery store, or standing for long periods of time to cook, can be uncomfortable or impossible. Planning ahead is essential:
- Buy fruits and vegetables that can be kept in the freezer
- Use bag salads that are ready to use
- Cook large amounts, and freeze the leftovers in single serving sizes
- Keep some healthy frozen meals, just in case.
Designing a healthy diet can be made easy by doing all the prep work in one day of the week. If you or your senior loved one has someone who can help one day each week – friend, relative, or hired caregiver – they can get everything done with aid and time effectively. Start by planning meals. Making a chart will make it easy to ensure the overall diet has a good balance. With your shopping list, do all the groceries for the week, and then cook large quantities. Making several dishes in large quantities, and then dividing single portions to be frozen, will allow you or your senior loved one to have nutritious meals and maintain independence.
If it is not possible to shop and cook by themselves, there are options available for an independent senior. Home delivery services are offered by some grocery stores, or even ready-made meals delivery services can be found online. A hired caregiver, even for just one day each week, can provide shopping, cooking, and meal planning so you or your sent loved one are able to stay home, and focus on good health.