Last Updated on December 3, 2019
Just as a young child needs the proper vitamins and minerals to grow, senior nutrition is also important. This is, unfortunately, the time of life where patients can develop health problems related to lack of proper nutrition, such as type 2 diabetes or osteoporosis. Senior meal planning, and determining diet plans for the elderly is exceedingly important to provide adequate nutrition as well as variety and enjoyable food. Read on to learn more about how to make an elderly daily diet plan, more about senior nutrition, and how to help your patient or family member get the nutrition they need.
Senior Meal Planning: How Many Calories?
If you’re creating meal planning guidelines for the elderly, the daily recommended guidelines are not that much different from that of a middle-aged adult, but there are some differences to note. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends normal, healthy adults (even those who are elderly) plan for a 2,000-calorie diet per day.
As you work on senior meal planning for your loved one or patient, take care not to exceed this number unless a doctor recommends you do so. Those who are actively trying to lose weight can theoretically decrease this number to 1,200 or 1,600 calories per day, but remember not to start any diet program without consulting a physician first. The senior weekly menu should also keep a close eye on sodium intake, which can be related to heart disease. Also look at how many saturated fats are in the diet. It may be a good idea to consult a physician or nutritionist before beginning a formal meal plan. However, the FDA does have elderly meal plan samples on its website.
Senior Meal Planning: Why a Meal Plan for an Elderly Person Is Important
There are a few reasons it’s important to make a plan instead of just “winging it.” First of all, your elderly patient or loved one will want a variety of food, not just the same breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day. Meal planning for the elderly ensures they not only get adequate nutrition, but it also offers variety.
Food for the elderly doesn’t need to be boring or bland. Also, senior meal planning saves money. You’ll find that you buy takeout food a lot less. Eating at restaurants or having food delivered is not only expensive, but it is also not nutritious.
Senior Meal Planning: What Do Nutritious Foods Look Like?
When thinking about make-ahead meals for seniors or questions like, “what is a good lunch for seniors,” it may be helpful to look at some menu samples or review FFA requirements. Breakfast can look something like half a whole wheat bagel with coffee, or a half-cup of whole-grain cereal with 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1/4 cup of whole milk. For lunch, consider a tuna salad sandwich with celery, mayonnaise, and lettuce on whole-wheat bread, along with a cup of low-fat milk, baby carrots, or a handful of raisins.
As for dinner, a good example is spaghetti and meatballs along with a garden salad and a full cup of water. In the salad, you can include lettuce, tomato, and cucumber, as well as garbanzo beans and avocado, if desired.
Looking at a few prepared senior meal planning examples can help you plan nutritious and cost-effective foods, but also offer variety as well. It’s also important when planning to take food safety into consideration, and make sure your loved one does not use out-of-date or expired foods if they plan some of their own meals or snacks.
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