Prevention of Malnutrition in Seniors

Prevent malnutrition as you age. 
Malnutrition is a serious problem among the senior set. In fact, seniors are often the most malnourished group, and this leads to an increase in health issues. 

Malnutrition in seniors can be attributed to a number of factors, eating too little, eating poorly, eating nutrient poor foods, digestive problems, lack of appetite, mobility issues leading to poor nutrition, etc. But regardless of the cause, the results are the same, malnutrition causes illness, depression, fatigue, a weakened immune system, digestive problems, lung problems, heart problems, skin problems, and more.

When a senior is malnourished, minor incidents like a trip or fall can lead to extended hospital stays, high medical bills, slow recovery times, and more. Good nutrition is critical for senior health. Here are a few tips for preventing malnutrition as you age:

1. Choose nutrient rich foods. When cooking for one or two, it is easy to fall into the rut of processed, packaged, and fast food type meals, but in order to maintain health, focus on eating foods packed with nutrients, such as fresh and raw fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, etc.

2. Find flavor. Many seniors are lonely, on medications that reduce appetite, etc. Thus, they have little desire to eat. Choosing flavor rich foods, that appeal to you, helps ensure you actually consume them. Use spices, herbs, and garlic to season foods rather than salt to keep sodium at a good level. Keeping healthy, flavorful foods on hand for snacking and meals is key.

3. Snack. Seniors do not need as many calories as teens, but that doesn’t mean snacking is out. Reduce meal sizes, and instead snack between meals on fresh veggies, fruits, nuts, and whole grains. This will help to ensure you are getting enough to eat, and that the foods you are eating are nutrient dense.

4. Socialize. Making nutrition a social event. Eat with friends, invite company over for meals. This will not only ensure you actually eat, but make it a more enjoyable experience as well.

5. Know your nutritional needs. As we age, nutritional needs change. The metabolism slows, the stomach produces less stomach acid and saliva, medications impact the body’s needs, and more. Taking time to talk to a doctor about your nutritional needs can help you create a plan to meet those needs and avoid problems with malnutrition.

The best way to prevent malnutrition in seniors is to help with food prep. Too many seniors rely on frozen foods, delivery, candy, and other low-nutrient density foods to get by. If this is the case, consider home delivered meals like Mom’s Meals, which are freshly prepared, designed to meet senior nutritional needs, and offer a variety of menu options so the senior gets just what they like delivered straight to their door.

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