A Family Caregiver’s Guide to Meal Planning for Elderly Parents

Meal Planning Tips for Senior CaregiversWith the changes our bodies undergo as we get older, it becomes more and more important to ensure that meals provide the nutrition seniors require to maintain their health. At the same time, it is important to understand the role that food plays in our lives! Tasty food broadens our palettes, while meal time provides a social opportunity that promotes health and happiness. At Poet’s Walk, our dedicated caregivers and dining team make sure that every elderly meal plan provides optimal nutrition; we take dietary planning for our residents very seriously!

Guidelines for Senior Nutrition

There are a number of suggestions to consider when trying to balance food groups for seniors.

Daily Recommended Servings

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends:

  • 2-5 servings of fruit
  • 2 – 2.5 cups of vegetables
  • 1,200 mg of calcium – from dairy or alternatives like tofu, kale, oranges, etc.
  • 6 – 7 ounces of whole grains
  • 65 grams of protein

It is also suggested that seniors reduce their sodium intake to 1500 mg a day maximum, lower their cholesterol, and decrease calories that come from saturated fats and sugars. While these are general guidelines for seniors to follow, the needs of every individual vary and it is important to consult with a doctor about dietary requirements. In any case, our caregivers are able to craft meals based on the needs and preferences of every individual.

Tips and Tricks for Planning Meals for Seniors

Tastes and appetites may change as we get older.  Here are some ways to help keep your elderly loved nourished, satisfied, and happy.

  • Some seniors may have difficulty chewing or swallowing, so for them, soft foods without large chunks are a good idea. Produce can be pureed or finely chopped and whole grains can be cooked to obtain a softer consistency. Beverages, such as juice, can be thickened so that they don’t trickle down the throat as quickly.
  • Many seniors find their appetites waning, especially if they are noticing changes in their senses of smell and taste. By incorporating strong and vibrant flavors into their food, you can make it more interesting and fun for them to eat. Herb and spice mixes are an excellent substitute for salt, and there are many fruits and vegetables with bold flavors – zesty peppers to pep up an otherwise mild salad, for example, or a sweet and tart berry medley on oatmeal.
  • Not only is eating enjoyable, but it is also a social experience for many seniors! Consider hosting a family potluck, or having their friends over for dinner.

Senior-Friendly Meal Planning from Dedicated Caregivers

The highly trained caregivers of Poet’s Walk have the dietary expertise and familiarity with seniors’ health issues to properly plan and prepare healthy meals for our residents. In addition to planning nutritious meals, our team can craft tailored meal plans to suit specific dietary needs. Keep your elderly parent or loved one leading a nutritious life, full of flavor, with the dedication of Poet’s Walk!

 Contact us to find out more about nutrition for seniors or to ask any questions you have about our meal planning services.