Making sure your senior mom eats healthy doesn’t have to dominate all of your time. Here are a few quick and easy ways you can make sure Mom is getting all of the nutrition she needs even when you’re not around.
Stock Up on Vitamin-Rich Foods
The first and best way you can help your senior mom focus on eating healthy is to keep her pantry and fridge stocked with good, healthy foods and snacks. If the unhealthy foods aren’t there, she won’t be tempted to add them to a meal. Seniors should focus on eating foods that are high in calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12. Dark leafy greens like spinach, collard greens, broccoli, and kale are high in calcium. Eggs, and milk and juices that have been fortified are good sources of vitamin D. Red meats and yogurt are both high in vitamin B12. Keep quick and easy nutritious snacks readily available for Mom, too. A handful of unsalted nuts or a few slices of avocado can help to keep her full and her system functioning properly.
Whenever you can, check in with your senior mom to make sure that she is not skipping meals, even when she doesn’t feel particularly hungry. Skipping a meal could lead to unhealthy drops or spikes in Mom’s blood sugar levels. While many medications and certain diseases or ailments may make it so that Mom doesn’t feel as hungry as she used to, encourage her to have just a few bites to eat when it’s mealtime. Eating just a little bit of a healthy snack that is high in good oils and fats will keep your senior mom’s nourished, and it will prevent her from having late-night or early-morning binges on high-calorie, low-nutrient foods when hunger might strike the hardest.
Weight Does Not Always Signify Healthy or Unhealthy
Try not to focus on the physical too much, and instead, look at what Mom is eating, when, and how much. Those who are overweight do have a higher risk of Type-2 diabetes and heart disease, among other diseases, but don’t be fooled; those who are thin are not always healthy either. Not eating a proper diet can lead to malnutrition, which can cause a your senior mom to become too thin. Malnutrition increases Mom’s risk of bone fractures, causes her to lose muscle mass, can cause her to have breathing difficulties and chest infections, and can make it more difficult for her to health when she does get sick or injured.
For more advice on healthy eating, watch some of these informative videos from the National Council on Aging.