Cooking for the Elderly

Cooking for the ElderlyPhoto Credit: B K

If you have elderly family members living in your home or you are a professional caregiver, it always helps to have some insight into cooking for the elderly. In this article, we’ll go over a few ways you can start making delicious, healthy meals without being a professional chef.

Flavor

When it comes to cooking for seniors, it’s sometimes difficult to get him or her to eat well or at all. However, by adding a little flavor in the right ways, the senior will start eating again on a more regular basis.

One trick is to easily “spice things up” with fresh herbs and spices instead of with salt, which can be unhealthy if eaten in large quantities.

The other trick is to make foods the senior likes. It’s a simple rule, but it’s often forgotten. As the caregiver or family member, find out what he or she likes and include those meals into the rotation. In order to ensure that enough fruits and vegetables are eaten, it’s often a good idea to make smoothies. These tend to have a great taste and are very healthy.

Texture

Many seniors experience difficulty with chewing and swallowing as they age. In order to help in this regard, it’s a good idea to keep the food as soft as possible. One way to do this is through making smoothies in a basic blender or food processor, as was mentioned above.

Another way to support seniors is by incorporating stews and soups into the meal plan. Obviously, not every meal can be soup or stew, but these are very easy meals to make and can be made in large portions so leftovers can be kept for later.

Replacements

To keep the diet healthy, it’s important to have replacements in your toolbox. The first that should be mentioned is the replacement of sugar with food that has a sweet taste (like fruit – which contains natural sugar – yams, and sweet potatoes). Many seniors can distinguish sweet tastes for a longer time than other kinds of tastes and are therefore prone to overload on sugar. That’s why sweet foods can be a great alternative.

The other major important replacement is healthy fats for unhealthy fats. Try to avoid foods that are high in trans fat or saturated fat. Instead, include nuts, fish, olive oil, canola oil, and avocados in the senior’s diet.