Winter Nutrition for Seniors
When the temperature drops, healthy eating can become less of a priority. Keeping a healthy diet in winter can be a challenge, especially if you are an older adult. With age, the body naturally starts to become less efficient in absorbing essential nutrients. Add in wintertime’s decreased activity, and many seniors opt for convenient, comfort foods laden with empty calories.
Recommendations for healthful chilly weather nutrition include the following:
- Dark, leafy green vegetables. Choose antioxidant-rich dark greens such as spinach, broccoli, kale, and chard, and select yellow and orange vegetables including yams, carrots, and squash.
- Citrus fruits. Oranges, lemons, grapefruit and limes are popular vitamin C-packed citrus fruits also rich in flavonoids that promote good HDL cholesterol.
- Protein. Eating protein sources at meals and snacks throughout the day helps with blood sugar and energy levels. Beyond red meat, seniors can vary protein sources with eggs, fish, dairy, and nuts.
- Soups and stews. Adding vegetables, beans and lentils to stews and soups is an easy, inexpensive way to increase fiber and nutrients. Cook a larger pot of a recipe and divide into smaller portions to freeze.
- Vitamin D. With less sunshine in winter, the body needs other sources of vitamin D to help absorb calcium and strengthen muscles. Foods naturally higher in vitamin D include egg yolks, seafood, grains and fortified milk.
WebMD lists a number of nutrients that may be missing from the diet of seniors including vitamin B12, calcium, and magnesium. Encourage your older loved ones to talk with their doctor or dietician for a tailored nutrition plan that accounts for specific health needs and dietary likes and dislikes.
Many families also rely on Right at Home senior companion care providers to assist with grocery shopping, cooking well-balanced meals, and monitoring an elder’s eating habits. Sometimes a few simple dietary adjustments are all that is needed to keep older adults enjoying healthier foods in any season.
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