According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a large portion of the diseases that seniors suffer from are the result of a poor diet. Some of these issues have gone unnoticed since childhood and are worsened by the changes that naturally happen during aging.
Cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and certain types of cancer are all impacted by diet. Experts also urge seniors to mind their micronutrients because they play an important role in maintaining health and preventing noncommunicable diseases.
Fortunately, quality nutrition doesn’t have to be expensive. Add these affordable options to your loved one’s next grocery shopping list to help them eat healthily and happily.
Budget-friendly healthy eating tips for seniors
First, you need to understand what a healthy diet looks like. ChooseMyPlate.gov is an excellent resource you can use to learn more about the different food groups that should be included with each meal. MyPlate uses a familiar visual, a place setting for a meal, to illustrate the five major components of a healthy diet. Essentially, you want to focus on balancing fruits, veggies, grains, protein, and dairy.
Now that you understand the categories of foods seniors should focus on eating, it’s time to make a list of affordable foods and snacks that would be a welcome addition. Here are some delicious and filling options to consider:
- Sweet potatoes
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
- Whole wheat pasta
- Beans and legumes
- Fish such as salmon and tuna (canned salmon and tuna are both affordable options that won’t spoil)
- Deli meats
- Dairy products such as milk, Greek yogurt, and cheese
- Calcium-fortified foods (orange juice, milk, soy, and almond milk can all be purchased with an extra boost of calcium)
- Cheese and crackers
- Spinach and other leafy greens
- Green peppers
- Dips for veggies, like hummus
- Fruit cups
- Soft granola bars
- Protein powders and high-protein beverages
Financial assistance that helps older adults make healthier food choices
Nutrient-dense foods are often more expensive than foods with empty calories, but there are programs that can help.
Millions of older Americans use the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which is a great way to keep healthy food more affordable. Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org/getSNAP to learn more and see if the program can assist your loved one.
What to do when your elderly loved one struggles with healthy eating
Many seniors struggle with diet management and healthy eating. Mobility issues can make it hard to navigate the kitchen and reach into cupboards. Cooking can be equally tricky. Transportation is another concern since many seniors can no longer drive themselves to the store for healthy snacks and ingredients.
Senior living communities can help solve all of these issues. In a senior living community, residents enjoy nutritious, home-cooked meals three times per day. Meals are often served in a communal dining room, which reduces social isolation, eliminates the burden of prep and clean-up work and allows residents to focus on what they enjoy most.
As a local nonprofit, The Argyle has brought high quality and affordable care to Denver’s seniors since 1874. To this day, our caring team remains committed to encouraging independence and preserving the dignity of every resident who calls our community home.