Tips and Tricks for Tasty Snacks for the Elderly

Eating a healthy, nutritious diet is important at every stage of life. An important aspect of healthy eating is to maintain a positive relationship with food. Enjoying fresh, delicious food in the company of friends and family can be an excellent experience for your body and emotions. As you age, your nutritional needs and relationship with food may change. In your golden years, a healthy diet can help you remain mentally sharp, stay stronger, live longer and feel better each day. Avoiding malnutrition is a key element to gaining these benefits. To prevent malnutrition, it is imperative to:

  • Eat foods high in nutrients
  • Make sure your foods are flavorful and enjoyable
  • Have meals and snacks with company to create a social experience
  • Accept help with food preparation
  • Snack between meals

Snacking is an essential part of a nutritious diet for seniors. If you are supporting an elderly loved one, it is important to understand what their snack needs are and how to help them enjoy it. So, what would help you help your loved one? Easy snack recipes for seniors? Low sodium meals for seniors? Diabetic snacks for the elderly? Read on for some ideas!

What Are Good Snacks for the Elderly?

In general, older people have different nutritional needs than teenagers or younger adults. Diseases common in seniors, such as heart disease or diabetes, can also impact a person’s daily dietary requirements. Additionally, pain from conditions, like arthritis, can make meal preparation difficult and unpleasant. For all of these reasons, healthy snacking is a great way for seniors to increase their daily nutrition between meals. Here are some healthy ideas for snacks for the elderly:

  • Fresh sliced fruits or dried fruits
  • Nuts
  • Cheese
  • Pre-cut vegetables
  • Boiled eggs
  • Popcorn
  • Natural granola

What Snacks Have No Sodium?

If you are a caregiver for an elderly loved one, it is important to discuss with your loved one’s primary care physician or care team what type of diet your loved one should follow. Diets are not necessarily about restricting food intake – often diet plans are designed to ensure your loved one avoids foods that could be dangerous to his or her health while consuming plenty of foods that provide health benefits. Many seniors struggle to keep sodium out of their diet. Salt can cause rises in blood pressure, which can have frightening consequences for older adults with cardiovascular disease. Here are three tips to maintain a healthy level of sodium:

  • Use the Nutrition Facts label to check the level of sodium before making a purchase. Compare items and select the one with the lowest level.
  • Select foods that are labeled as “no salt added” or “low sodium”.
  • Choose fresh items (rather than processed) whenever possible.

If you are putting together a shopping list for low sodium meals for seniors and need more specific ideas, here are a few for what to eat that is low in sodium:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables (if you buy canned, select the low-sodium options)
  • Low-sodium vegetable juice
  • Whole grains, like wild rice, barley, brown rice or quinoa
  • Unsalted popcorn or chips
  • Fresh or frozen shellfish or fish
  • Lean cuts of pork or beef
  • Unsalted seeds and nuts
  • Garbanzo beans, lentils and split peas
  • Eggs
  • Fat-free or low-fat milk and plain yogurt
  • Low-sodium salad dressing (or use oil and vinegar)
  • Low-sodium salsa

If limiting sodium causes concerns about bland food, try to spice it up without salt! Salt-free seasoning blends, lemon or lime juice, ginger and chopping veggies (peppers, onions or garlic) can add flavor.

Planning Ahead for Health and Happiness

If you live in a senior care or rehabilitation community, socializing should be a priority. At Coulterville Rehabilitation and Health Care Center, our focus on recovery, rehabilitation and skilled nursing includes a menu full of healthy, delicious choices that are carefully designed to restore your body and your mind. Wellness snacks are provided daily! Contact us today to schedule a tour and learn more about how we can help you!