In your role as a family caregiver, you know how important it is for your loved one to eat a balanced, healthy diet. What your loved one eats makes a tremendous difference in their health and well-being, helping them to keep their body functioning properly and to ward off a variety of health complications, as well as help them to manage their existing health problems in the best way possible.
September is Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Month. This is the ideal time for you to evaluate your parent’s diet, as well as your own, and find ways that you can improve them, boost nutrition, and better your health moving forward by integrating more fruits and veggies into every meal and snack, and even beverage, that you enjoy each day.
Use these tips to help you improve your diet and the diet of your aging parent during Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Month and throughout the rest of your caregiver journey with them:
• Try smoothies. It can seem intimidating to try to eat so many servings of fruits and vegetables every day, especially if your parent is not accustomed to eating these foods. Simplify this and get a delicious start to the day, or even healthy dessert, with a smoothie. Use your parent’s favorite frozen fruits, add tofu or Greek yogurt for protein, and add in a handful or two of greens, cucumbers, or carrots for extra nutrients and fiber. Get creative with your flavors, such as using frozen berries or strawberries and peanut butter powder for a protein and nutrient-packed peanut butter and jelly to the smoothie.
• Eat “meat on the side”. The average dinner plate puts a heavy emphasis on the meat portion in the center of the plate. This is not how this has always been. Past generations ate far smaller portions of protein or entrée dishes and larger vegetable sides. Turn your focus back to this approach and design your plates around small protein servings and larger portions of vegetables. These are not only very filling, but will provide nutrients without high calorie counts.
• Forego food “rules”. Just because it is traditional to eat foods such as eggs, bacon, waffles, or cereal for breakfast and pasta or meatloaf for dinner does not mean that you are bound to these “rules”. Instead, eat what sounds good to you. If a big salad with chicken or tofu is what sounds good to your parent first thing in the morning, or an omelet with veggies and a fruit salad sounds good for supper, then that is what you should serve.
If you have been looking for ways to enhance your parent’s life and encourage them to live the highest quality of life possible as they age in place, now may be the ideal time for you to consider starting home care for them. A home senior care services provider can be in the home with your parent on a fully customized schedule that ensures that they get the care, support, assistance, and encouragement that they need, when they need it.
This also keeps you at the front of their routine, supporting your ongoing relationship while ensuring that your parent gets everything they need to live the quality of life that they deserve. The highly personalized services of a home care provider mean that your parent can stay happy, healthy, comfortable, and safe, and seek out a lifestyle that is as active, engaged, and fulfilling as possible, and maintain as much independence as they can as they age in place.