Summertime provides some unique nutrition opportunities and challenges for seniors. As temperatures rise seniors need to pay close attention to their health through a balanced diet, replenishing lost fluid and practicing food safety. By following a few simple nutrition tips, seniors can enjoy a healthy and safe summer.
Choose lean protein: Many seniors tend to reduce their protein intake during the summer months. Although your body does not crave protein during the warm months it is still an important part of your diet. Go for the lean proteins if possible.
Eat your vegetables and berries: Vegetables are a rich source of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants. Take advantage of the many varieties that are in season for the summer months. Berries are some of the best foods you can add to your diet. Not only do they assist your body in using water, but they also taste great and are refreshing.
Easy on the ice cream: Ice cream is a refreshing treat in the summer time, but it's typically not the healthiest. Try making fruit smoothies with natural ingredients instead or choose sherbet or frozen yogurt. Easy on the sugar though!
Stay hydrated: Many seniors are at risk for dehydration, which can lead to excessive thirst, cramping, heat exhaustion or stoke. Aim for six to eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid daily and replace lost electrolytes with natural sports drinks that are low in sugar. Eat fruits and vegetables with high water content, such as melon and cucumbers.
Reduce caffeine intake: Caffeine can cause dehydration, which can heighten all of the effects of not drinking water. Replace the coffee, tea and soda with ice water with fresh lemon.
Beware of unhealthy salads: Salads are easy to prepare and do not require cooking, but be careful when adding salad dressings as they tend be high in salt and fat. Try making a light dressing with fresh lemon juice and herb-infused olive oil if not, just go easy on the creamy dressings.
Eat healthy fats: Eat less butter, full-fat dairy and fried foods. Try adding olive oil, raw nuts, natural peanut butter and avocados into your diet.
Practice food safety: Bacteria that can cause food poisoning grows quickly in the summer heat. Keep perishable items refrigerated or stored on ice and refrigerate any leftovers within two hours of eating outdoors.
For some seniors, establishing and maintaining a regular, nutritious diet is one reason for considering a move to a retirement community or personal care facility. Concordia offers free, personalized tours of its facilities for individuals wishing to learn more. To schedule a tour or receive more information, call us at 724.352.1571 or e-mail here.