Regular eating is crucial for everyone, and this can include having snacks between meals. For certain individuals, snacks are a necessity to maintain energy levels throughout the day. This is especially true for seniors who need regular snacks to not only keep their energy levels up, but also keep their blood sugar level stable.
When it comes to snacks, it’s important for seniors to choose healthy options that provide essential nutrients. While it may be tempting to opt for store-bought snacks like potato chips, these snacks offer little nutritional value and often contain excessive amounts of sodium and sugar. Therefore, it’s essential for family members and caregivers to be mindful of the snacks seniors consume.
Be Considerate with Snack Choices
When selecting snacks, it is important for seniors to choose ones that cater to their specific nutritional requirements. For instance, some seniors might have a deficiency in calcium or vitamin B, therefore, it would be beneficial for them to opt for snacks that can fulfill these needs. Additionally, elderly individuals often require higher amounts of vitamin D, as the aging skin becomes less efficient at producing this essential nutrient.
You must also consider seniors’ eating abilities when choosing snacks for them. For example, apples are a healthy fruit that provide natural sugar for energy, but some elderly individuals cannot handle eating foods that are as hard as an apple. In such a case, consider purchasing and/or making snacks with a softer texture so that seniors can eat them easily and safely.
At times, older adults may lack the desire to eat, despite understanding its significance. This could stem from an aversion to certain foods or feeling like they have no control over their choices. Consequently, some seniors may choose to abstain from eating altogether.
That said, be considerate of elderly individuals’ tastes and food interests. If there is a certain unhealthy snack they enjoy, then try to create or find a healthy alternative. For example, if seniors want potato chips, try making baked sweet potato chips to fulfill their craving. If an elderly individual is craving chocolate, let them have some dark chocolate, which is filled with antioxidants and minerals.
Good Snacks for Seniors
Carbohydrates have a negative connotation, but it is important to remember that carbs can be good if you consume the correct ones in moderation.
Whether it is bread, pasta, or crackers, you should choose the snacks made with whole grains. Seniors can have avocado toast using whole grain bread or enjoy whole grain crackers with some cheese.
Other good choices for carbohydrate-heavy snacks include:
- Pita bread with hummus
- Baked sweet potato chips
- Granola bars made with whole grains and other natural ingredients
- Oatmeal cookies
- Whole grain and wheat muffins
- Whole grain popcorn sans butter and salt
Fruits and Vegetables
Everyone knows fruits and vegetables are important, necessary components of a healthy diet. However, they are not always the most appealing foods, and this can even be the case with elderly individuals. But there are ways to make these foods more enjoyable. You can slice a banana and bake them to create banana chips, and you can even bake kale to turn them into chips.
Other good choices for fruit and vegetable snacks include:
- Baked apple chips
- Kale chips
- Orange slices
- Berries in oatmeal
- Berries or peach slices in Greek yogurt
- Frozen grapes
- Carrots with hummus
- Yogurt-covered dried fruits
- Fruit and/or vegetable smoothie
Proteins are important for many reasons, including promoting tissue repairs and immune system strength. However, elderly individuals often do not consume enough protein, so it’s important for their snacks to help fill this void. Tuna or turkey with whole grain crackers are an easy snack, but seniors may not want to consume meat or fish products, particularly for a snack. In such a case, pairing hard-boiled eggs with whole grain toast can make for a hearty, filling snack.
Other good choices for protein-rich snacks include:
- Tuna or chicken salad with whole grain crackers
- Dark chocolate-covered almonds
- Nut butters like peanut butter or almond butter paired with celery or apple slices
Seniors may have difficulty chewing due to oral health issues such as gum disease and tooth decay or conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. It is best for seniors who have difficulty chewing their food to snack on softer food choices.
The following are excellent soft snack options for seniors:
- Bean salad
- Soft cookies and cakes
- Fruit smoothies
- Egg salad
- Soft fruits like bananas
Non-Medical Home Health Care
Snacking may appear to be a simple activity, but for elderly individuals, it can pose challenges. Some seniors struggle to prepare food or feel unsafe doing so. Others lack the ability to buy nutritious snacks from the grocery store. These circumstances can lead to malnutrition as seniors may choose unhealthy options or skip eating altogether.
Whether it is preparing snacks or purchasing food, if your elderly loved one needs help, then consider seeking assistance from professional elderly care services.
At Assisting Hands Home Care, we provide non-medical home health care services to elderly individuals in need in Burr Ridge, IL | Lyons, IL | Indian Head Park, IL | McCook, IL | Hodgkins, IL | Countryside, IL | Willow Springs, IL | Palisades, IL | La Grange Highlands, IL | Clarendon Hills, IL | Brookfield, IL | Western Springs, IL | Hinsdale, IL | Darien, IL | La Grange, IL | Downers Grove, IL | Oak Brook, IL | Willowbrook, IL and the neighboring areas of Cook and DuPage counties. Our home care services are tailored to meet the unique needs of your elderly loved ones. From preparing nutritious meals to assisting with daily activities and providing transportation, ensuring their well-being and comfort are our top priorities.
Our home care services ensure that your elderly relatives receive not only nourishing snacks, but also dedicated support and assistance from trained professionals. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (630) 407-1932 to set up a free in-home consultation today.