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Food is a necessary part of life at any age, but for some reason, we begin to believe nutritional myths as we get older. Perhaps you assume that as you get older your nutritional needs stay the same or that it’s normal to have less of an appetite. You may have even adopted the mindset that you’ve earned the right to eat whatever you want. Nutrition is important, and with all the changes that aging brings, it’s a smart move to fuel your body with the right nutrients to keep you thriving in your golden years. Here’s how.
Understand the Importance
The most common vitamins and nutrients that seniors tend to lack or need more of include calcium and vitamin D for bone health, vitamin B12, fiber to stay regular, and potassium and healthy fats to prevent heart disease and diabetes. The food you eat makes a huge difference in your gut health too. In fact, if your digestive tract or microbiome is out of whack, you may experience bloating, discomfort, lowered immune system, and even changes in mood. For this reason, it is important to not only consume your daily recommended vitamins and nutrients, but make sure you’re eating prebiotic and probiotic foods such as yogurt, legumes, and beans. If you’re having trouble hitting your nutritional numbers, talk with your doctor about supplements such as a multivitamin, calcium chew, probiotic, etc.
Use Medicare to Your Advantage
Speaking of talking with your doctor, when was the last time you had a wellness exam? Medicare covers many of the tests you’ll have done at your annual wellness checkup, such as blood pressure screening, blood work, EKG, mammogram, prostate exam, bone mass measurement, and various other health issues/concerns. If you have a Medicare Advantage plan, you may be surprised that you actually qualify for a wellness program. Many Medicare Advantage plans provide you with instant membership to health and wellness programs like SilverSneakers all across the US.
Utilize Meal Delivery
If you aren’t comfortable in the kitchen or perhaps getting to the grocery store is an issue due to time, transportation, or mobility concerns, you might think about using a meal delivery service like Silver Cuisine or Magic Kitchen. Nutritious and healthy meals are delivered straight to your door and come in several options to meet your needs whether you are looking for low-sodium, diabetic-friendly, or vegetarian. If you’d prefer to cook your own meals, perhaps you’d enjoy grocery delivery via Instacart or AmazonFresh, or a meal kit like Hello Fresh or Blue Apron.
Get Comfortable in the Kitchen
Have you ever wanted to take a cooking class? Do you ever feel uncomfortable or uncertain in the kitchen? Cooking classes are a fun option for seniors to relearn some of the basics and learn new tricks. You’ll be able to enhance the variety of foods you are able to make, as well as give your inspiration a little kick. This is a great way to socialize whether you’re forming new friendships or spending time with a family member or friend. Cooking classes are often offered at your local community college or senior center, but you can easily find one nearby by doing a quick Internet search for “cooking classes near me.”
Cook Less Often
If you’re only going to be cooking for yourself or one other person, it’s easy to just say “Forget it” and order in instead or simply throw together a sandwich. This is where freezer meals come into play. There are plenty of freezer-friendly meals you can make such as casseroles, lasagna, and slow-cooker recipes that stay fresh for weeks, even months at a time, so that you never have an excuse to not eat something hearty and nutritious.
It’s true that your nutritional needs and habits change as you age. However, it’s not as big or as scary of a change as you might think. With the right tools and knowledge, you can be sure you’re fueling your body the right way with delicious and nutritious foods.