Every older adult needs to stick to a diet that’s high in fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and vitamin D. If your dad isn’t getting a balanced diet, he increases his risk of developing chronic health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Despite the risk, many seniors make similar mistakes when planning their diets. These are three things your dad should eat more of and what he is likely eating too much of.
What Should He Eat More Of?
What foods are missing from your dad’s diet? He may be doing better than other older adults, but protein, calcium, and antioxidants are often missing from the diets of older adults.
A 2018 study found that 4 out of 10 older adults were not eating enough protein. Protein is vital for the muscles, yet seniors don’t eat enough. Your dad needs to eat high-quality, lean protein like fish, chicken/turkey breast, dried beans, and tofu.
Canned vegetables aren’t as beneficial as fresh ones. Older adults often find canned vegetables easier to purchase and store, so they stick to them. They’re high in sodium and some nutrients are lost in the canning process. Fresh berries, leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, and citrus fruits should be daily additions to his menu.
Whole grains are another important dietary addition. They’re packed with fiber, which helps the heart and reduces certain forms of cancer. White rice is not a good choice. Farro, whole barley, quinoa, and bulgur are better options.
What Should He Limit?
Those are the foods he needs to eat daily. What should he limit? Start with sodas. He may like the taste of soda, but they’re full of sugar and/or corn syrup. If he’s drinking diet varieties, he’s adding unnecessary artificial sweeteners to his diet. None of that is beneficial.
Takeout is quick and easy, but most options are high in sodium, fat, and sugar. Pizzas, Chinese, and fast food are all laden in saturated fat, sugar, and sodium. You might not be able to get your dad to stop eating them, but he needs to limit it to a treat every now and then.
Deli meats are also handy, but they’re packed with sugar. They’re also often loaded with sodium and nitrates, which increase the risk of certain cancers. If your dad insists on having deli meats, look for uncured, nitrate-free options, and limit them.
If your dad’s dietary habits concern you, talk to him about having caregivers around to cook his meals. Caregivers work with him to come up with a weekly menu. They will take him shopping, carry in and put away groceries, and cook for him. Learn more about caregivers and their rates by talking to a specialist.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Homecare in Nipomo, CA, please contact the friendly staff at San Luis Obispo Caregivers.
Call today: (805) 748-2614