Go Further with Food is this years’ theme for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics National Nutrition Month. With nutrition being critical to the care and lifestyle of the seniors we serve, MatrixCare wants to offer some tips for you to provide your residents and clients.
Support breakfast: Start mornings with a healthy meal that includes lean protein, whole grain, low-fat dairy and fruits. Yogurt parfait anyone?
Make half of each plate fruit and vegetables: Fresh, frozen and canned all count! Add color variety as well: dark green leafy, red and orange menu items should be included daily. Choose low sodium and no added salt canned vegetables! Fruit can be included as both a meal and a snack. Dried, frozen, canned and 100% fruit are all considered a serving.
Look for 100% whole grain: Switch starch selections to 100% whole grain breads, cereals, pasta, crackers, and brown rice. Look to increase fiber to help keep residents regular.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat dairy: Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones healthy. Encourage three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese each day. If a resident is lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
Power up with protein: Offer a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts, and beans and peas, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs to your residents.
Reduce sodium and avoid empty calories from solid fats and added sugars: Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers. Encourage spices or herbs to season food without adding salt. Make major sources of saturated fats such as desserts, pizza, cheese, sausages and hot dogs occasional choices, not every day foods. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food. Offer water instead of sugary drinks. Select fruit for dessert and sugary desserts less often.
Make food enjoyable but control portions: Most older adults need fewer calories than in younger years. Avoid over-sized portions. Try offering tapas or smaller plates, bowl and glass. When residents are eating out, encourage them to choose menu options with lower calories. Promote dishes that include vegetables, fruits and whole grains. And, ask residents to share a meal or take half home for later when served large portions.
MatrixCare offers nutrition software for your facilities that can help support your residents’ path to living their best lives! Check out MealTracker and RetailTracker to see how we can serve you.