Summer Ideas For Older Adults
Nutritional needs for seniors include staying hydrated to beat the heat and humidity. Don't wait until you feel thirsty. Hydrate regularly every hour or two throughout the day.
As people age, they need more water for body temperature regulation. Ask your doctor what is best for you. Many recommend 64 ounces (8 eight-ounce glasses) of water a day.
Cool snacks such as fruit popsicles or frozen grapes are vitamin-packed, fast and easy, and deliciously sweet! Tip: fill an ice-cube tray with chunks of fruit instead for easy access, and freeze.
Lighter, cooler meals are better this time of year than heavy, hot entrées. Spruce up easy summer meals for the elderly with fun and healthy dressings and sauces for salads and sandwiches. Use a blender to puree avocado, fresh basil, garlic, lemon juice, pepper, and oil for a quick and creamy salad spectacular. Use colorful and sweet veggies for salads, like bell peppers and tomatoes.
Try a cheese platter with pickles, cold cuts, crudites, and protein-packed dips like hummus.
Summer is the time to meal prep! Tip: for easy make-ahead meals for seniors, use the oven the evening before, to cook hamburgers or other summer meats, and chill the food in the refrigerator for the next day. This also works for breakfast muffins, baked potatoes, casseroles, lasagnas, etc.
Soups and stews are easy to make ahead and freeze -- and highly customizable for individual diets. Soups and stews are also easy for seniors to chew, swallow, and digest. Try chicken noodle soups made with root vegetables, or low-sodium chili with protein-filled tofu and beans.
Don't forget snacks! There are great lunch and dinner ideas for seniors in summer, but many also enjoy light, cool snacks. Hard-boiled eggs, oatmeal with berries and yogurt, and cheese and crackers are all great snacks or light breakfasts for seniors to make sure they are getting their daily recommended nutrients.
For seniors who need easy finger foods, it's a good idea to make some freezer meals that can be eaten casually by hand and don't require silverware. Coat chicken fingers with fiber-filled corn flakes and parmesan cheese or nutritional yeast.
Remember the food pyramid -- eat lots of fruits and veggies, plenty of grains, and some protein with every meal.
Are you making every bite count? Start Simple with MyPlate
5 nutritional tips for Adults 60+
- The ability to absorb vitamin b12 can decrease with age and the use of certain medications can dec*r*ease abso*r*ption. Eating enough protein and fortified foods, such as fortified cereals, can help yo*u* meet your vitamin b12 needs. Speak with your healthcare *pr*ovider to determine what, if an*y,* supplementation is right for you.
- Make eating a social event. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A community center *o*r place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.
- Add fruits and vegetables to meals and snacks. Look for frozen, canned, or ready-to-eat varieties if slicing and chopping is a challenge.
- Try adding seafood, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, along with beans, peas and lentils to your meals to help maintain muscle mass.
How MyPlate Can Help
Eating habits change throughout the life span. Simple changes can help you enjoy the foods and beverages you eat and drink to meet nutrient needs, help maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Learn how much to eat from all five food groups and find out how many calories you need each day to help you maintain energy using the myplate plan.