Healthy snacking is important for seniors to help address aging health issues. The wrong snacks can worsen conditions like diabetes and arthritis, while the right snacks can improve them.
It can be difficult to know how to provide healthy snacks for seniors because they face unique diet challenges that can result in malnutrition. They may have trouble chewing and/or swallowing. They may loose certain senses such as taste, smell, thirst or hunger. They may experience gastrointestinal issues. Malnutrition can lead to or worsen conditions like frailty syndrome, muscle weakness and osteoporosis.
Just as there are plenty of healthy snack ideas for seniors, there are also plenty of unhealthy snack choices. These choices will only cause your loved one to feel more pain and to experience more health issues. Here’s what you should stay away from:
Here are some healthy snack ideas for seniors that will help you provide food they’ll love and the nutrition they need:
Precut Veggies – Vegetables provide much needed nutrients. They are colorful and stimulating to the senses, which is important for seniors. Try cutting up carrots, broccoli and cucumbers, or purchase baby carrots or grape tomatoes.
Fresh Fruit – Seniors often experience constipation as a result of reduced activity, and they can easily become dehydrated because they often loose their sense of thirst. Fruit is a great solution for both of these issues because it provides a healthy dose of fiber and contains natural hydrating juices. Plus, it provides antioxidants, and is a natural way to satisfy a sweet tooth.
Nuts and Seeds – Nuts and seeds are a great alternative to unhealthy crunchy options like chips. They satisfy that urge to eat something crunchy, while providing protein and healthy fats as well.
Cheese – Cheese is a filling and easy snack that provides protein, which helps lessen frailty syndrome by serving to repair cells and tissues, produce red blood cells that carry oxygen and antibodies that fight disease.
Hard-Boiled Eggs & Deviled Eggs – Hard-boiled eggs make a convenient, satisfying snack and are another great source of protein.
Yogurt – Yogurt is a convenient, easy to eat snack that provides much needed calcium for bone health.
Homemade Granola – Granola can be a healthy treat but typically only when you make it yourself. That’s because you have control over what you put in it. Mix up oats, nuts and seeds with real maple syrup and bake. It’s delicious and healthy! Eat alone or add some milk or almond milk to create a cereal.
Raisins & Prunes – Raisins and prunes provide fiber that assists with digestion and constipation. They are also a chewy treat that helps fight bacteria that leads to gum disease and cavities.
Dark Chocolate – In moderation, dark chocolate is actually considered to be healthy. It is packed with antioxidants, which help ward of disease, and it provides serotonin, which makes people feel happy and excited.
Green Tea – Green tea has been studied excessively and seems to have the potential to fight cancer and heart disease, lower cholesterol, burn fat, prevent diabetes and stroke, and stave off dementia.
Smoothies – Smoothies are an ideal snack for seniors since they don’t involve any chewing and they are an easy way to pack in important nutrients. Try blending spinach or kale, Greek yogurt, flaxseed meal, chia seeds, frozen fruit and water for a nutrient-dense yet delicious treat.
Providing healthy snacks for the elderly doesn’t have to be as hard as it seems. Use this list of healthy snack ideas for seniors to make a difference in how they feel and how healthy they can be. Create your own healthy snack idea list that you can add to over time when you determine what works and what doesn’t.
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