Healthy winter eating: 6 tips for Seniors
The winter months often pose challenges for older people when it comes to healthy eating. Cold weather and dangerous frosty pavements can mean; fewer trips to the local shop for fresh fruits and vegetables, the opportunities to eat socially decrease, and many older people feel less physically fit and able. Combined with the worry of flu season, it can be a very tricky time. Last winter, the NHS found that more than 1 million people aged 60 and over were either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition, and that most of these people were living at home.
This winter, the seasonal challenges are exacerbated by the pandemic. Seniors are increasingly house-bound, as self-isolation continues to be critically important to reduce the risk of exposure to Covid-19, and access to food, local shops, and opportunities for social eating are impaired. Even those who typically have friends or family to visit and support, will struggle this year, as loved ones face localised lockdowns and travel limitations.
The combined factors make it an extremely challenging time for older people to get the adequate nutrition they need to live a healthy lifestyle. If you, or someone you care for, is having trouble getting proper nutrition, here are some practical tips:
- Make hot meals nutrient-dense: add vegetables and include protein every time.
- Add additional calories without extra volume: add sauces, gravies, grated cheese to meals and honey to cereal.
- Use herbs and spices when preparing foods: many elders have diminished sense of taste and smell, so making food as flavourful as possible is important. Try cooking with salt-free seasoning blends and use fresh and dried herbs such as thyme or rosemary.
- Make meals colourful and appealing: try mashed sweet potatoes for a colourful and nutritious boost instead of regular mash.
- Prepare several small meals and snacks: older people can easily become overwhelmed by large meals, so eating small and more frequent is often the best approach.
- Make meal times fun: if social distancing allows, eat together, and try to interact. If this is not possible, during the pandemic, give them a quick call after dinner each day and ask them to score their meal out of 10, find a way to inject some fun!
If you have serious concerns for your own or others nutritional intake, then call your GP at your earliest convenience.
If you know of anyone who might need a little help with meal preparation, or shopping during the winter months, then home help services could be the ideal solution. Our home help services are readily organised and can help older people remain as independent as possible, in the comfort of their own home, whilst at the same time providing their family and friends with reassurance that they are eating well and looking after themselves during the colder months. To enquire about our home help services, just give us a call on 01789 204040 and we’d be happy to advise.