So many diets focus on nutrients. While that is important, a diet that focuses on foods that you don’t enjoy won’t work. To get your parents to eat well, you must find a meal plan that focuses on the mind and body.
Older adults need fewer calories. As a result, the calories they eat need to count. The foods you serve may need to change as their sense of taste and smell changes. Foods that were once appealing may not be anymore. Foods that your parents used to hate may suddenly taste different and become enjoyable.
Nutrients Your Parents Need
There are nutrients that should be the focus of their diet. Protein, vitamin D and calcium, antioxidants, and B vitamins. Protein is found in meats, dairy, dried beans, and vegetarian-friendly meat substitutes like seitan and tempeh. Vitamin D and calcium are found in milk, enriched breakfast cereals, yogurts, and some fruit juices. Antioxidants and B vitamins are easily gained from fruits and vegetables.
With some nutrients, the digestive system is less effective at absorbing them. A diminishing appetite is also a problem. To ensure they get enough of these items, you’ll need to come up with meal plans that focus on these nutrients while appealing to eyes and taste buds.
Why Feed the Mind?
There are two ways to look at feeding the mind. The brain is one of the most important organs in your body. If it’s not getting the right nutrients, it’s not going to function as well as it could. Antioxidants help nourish the brain. Blueberries are one of the best. Fish and omega-3 fatty acids are also recommended.
Foods you eat can trigger serotonin production. Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps with your mood. If serotonin stores are running low, you may find your body craving starchy foods like bread, cake, cookies, and muffins. Fresh produce also helps with serotonin production. As serotonin stores increase, your mood may improve.
The other aspect of feeding the mind involves the way you respond to foods. If a specific food smells appealing, your brain is going to work with your sense of smell and taste to trigger hunger. Saliva starts the digestion process.
Talk to an elderly care agency about meal preparation services. If you’re struggling to get your parents to eat foods that aren’t frozen or prepackaged, a caregiver may be able to help. Elderly care aides work with your parents to come up with meal plans, shop for ingredients, and prepare the meals back at home. Call now.