Tips, Snacks and Senior Meal Preparation for Good Summer Nutrition

caregiver preparing meal for a senior

During the hot summer months, elders are especially prone to deyhdration.  Summertime can also be a difficult time to maintain a balanced diet, as heat can reduce appetite and the desire to cook and eat hot meals.  Check out our tips for maintaining good senior nutrition during the summer months, caregiver meal preparation ideas and how to get help with elderly meal preparation services.

To encourage good summertime senior nutrition:

  • Have a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy snacks on hand.  You can make balanced meals and snacks with the wide variety of cool foods and pre-made items available.  Consider having items such as low fat cheeses, nut butters and nuts, pre-cooked grilled chicken, and yogurt.  Pre-cut some fruit and vegetables to have an easy, hydrating snack on hand.
  • Consider making one of these light dip recipes for something tasty and healthy to go with those veggies.  Dips made with beans, spinach, Greek yogurt or other nutritious items like pumpkin offer some added nutritional benefits.
  • Help your elderly loved one or friend by preparing some meals that can be easily reheated, for convenience and to reduce the need to cook during the hot months.  If you don’t live nearby (or just aren’t much of a cook), hire senior meal preparation services to cook once or several times/week.
  • Encourage fluid intake and have plenty of drinks available.  If you (or your loved one) doesn’t like plain water, consider flavored waters, teas or juices.  Hydrating fruits and vegetables can be good as well (watermelon, celery, cucumbers, lettuces, grapes and carrots to name a few).  Check out this great article on a study that showed certain fruits and vegetables can hydrate you as well as a glass of water (with added benefits).
  • An all season tip: when an elder has reduced appetite, prepare nostalgic favorites and discuss what sounds good to him/her.  Dig out old family recipes and make the preparation and eating a memorable event.  If your loved one has hired caregivers, this can be a great activity to encourage them to do with your loved one.  It can encourage some great conversation and socialization can help increase the appetite.
  • Understand senior nutrition issues and overall good nutrition.  You can start with our article, Tips for Senior Nutrition.  Understand your loved one’s nutritional needs based on age and medical conditions; talk with his/her doctor about any special needs.  Ensure any hired caregivers have an understanding of proper nutrition and you inform them of these special needs as well (nutrition training is part of EasyLiving’s comprehensive caregiver training program).
Dehydration, in particular, is a key nutritional problem for seniors.  As we age, the body loses water (related to muscle mass loss) and kidney function decreases. The feeling of thirst is also weaker in elders, which may cause them to intake less fluid.  And, though the body also tends to need less calories as we age, we still need key nutrients, especially when healing or suffering from certain medical conditions.
When considering senior safety issues, nutrition may not be the first thing to come to mind…but it is a vital part of good health.  Poor nutrition can cause all sorts of problems, as well as derail good medical treatment/care plans.  A home health company with trained home caregivers can be your partner in helping your elder loved ones or patients stay healthy.

What are some of the advantages and offerings of home health meal preparation services?

  • Flexible and cost-effective options for preparing meals ahead of time (once/week or several times/week) or fresh meals daily
  • Mealtime companionship (lack of socialization and depression can lead to decreased appetite or eating all snacks/junk food)
  • Customized meals (preparing special family recipes, meals according to dietary needs, food based on allergies as well as preferences)
  • Options for tracking nutritional intake for reporting to medical professionals to ensure the nutritional aspect of a comprehensive care plan

Need help with senior nutrition and meal preparation services in Pinellas or Pasco county? EasyLiving is here to help!  Call us today at 727-448-0900 for options tailor-made for YOU!