Since maintaining a healthy diet during the summer can be tricky, here are just a few nutrition tips to help seniors withstand the heat. If you have any you’d like to add to the list, leave it in the comments section below! As usual, always consult with your doctor or health professional before making any changes to your lifestyle.
- Eat more fresh fruits and veggies: Have some cut-up fruit and vegetables readily available for a simple, hydrating snack. They are stocked with vital vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants that seniors need to stay healthy. The American Heart Association recommends at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables per day to help avoid risks for heart disease and stroke.
- Party dips aren’t just for parties: Accompany your veggies with a yummy light dip made with beans, avocados, spinach, sherbet or yogurt that offers additional nutritional benefits. Eating more healthy fats and avoiding the bad ones is often the way to go!
- Stay hydrated: As a result of the intense summer heat, seniors are particularly at risk for dehydration. It is important to increase the intake of water and decrease the intake of caffeine. And you’re not restricted to all fluids - watermelon, cucumber and celery can hydrate the body as well! As a general rule, drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of fluid a day.
- Prepare meals ahead of time: In the summer heat many seniors experience appetite loss and a reduced protein intake. Cut the need to cook in the afternoon/evening during the hot months and prepare your favorite protein-filled meals in advance. That way when it’s time to eat, all you have to do is heat it up.
- Refrigerate all perishable foods quickly: It is necessary for seniors to refrigerate all leftovers no more than two hours after eating. Warm temperatures allow bacteria that produce food poisoning to quickly reproduce if food is not put away when finished.
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, or employing in-home personal care aide services. Concordia offers free, personalized tours of its senior care facilities in western PA and eastern OH for individuals wishing to learn more. For information, call us at 724-352-1571 or e-mail here. Visit Elder Pages Pittsburgh for more family caregiver tips.