Eating regularly is important for everyone, and this can include snacks in between meals. For some individuals, snacks are a necessity. Some people need to have regular snacks to reenergize themselves throughout the day. Other people, such as elderly individuals, need to have regular snacks to maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
For seniors in particular, it is important they consume healthy foods that provide them with the nutrients. In terms of snacks, it is easy to opt for store-bought snacks like potato chips. However, these snacks have minimal nutritional value, providing excessive amounts of sodium and sugar. Knowing this, family members and caretakers need to be mindful of what snacks seniors consume.
Be Considerate with Snack Choices
When picking snacks, seniors should consume ones that fit their needs. For example, some seniors may have a calcium or vitamin B deficiency, so it would be ideal for them to have snacks that fulfill these needs. Elderly individuals also commonly need more vitamin D because aging skin cannot produce the vitamin as well.
You must also consider seniors’ eating abilities when choosing snacks for them. For example, apples are a great 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.
Sometimes, seniors do not have an interest in eating — even if they are aware of its importance. This can be a result of an unwillingness to eat foods they dislike or because they do not have a say in the matter. In such cases, seniors may refuse to eat 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 many 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, crackers, or another product, you should choose the ones made with whole grains. Seniors can have avocado toast using whole grain bread or enjoy some 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 tissue repairs and immune system strength. However, elderly individuals often do not consume enough proteins, so it’s important their snacks 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 paired with celery or apple slices
Non-Medical Home Health Care
Snacking seems like a simple enough task, but this is not always the case for elderly individuals. Some seniors may have trouble preparing food or feel unsafe performing such a task. Other seniors may not have the ability to go to the grocery store and purchase nutritious foods for snacks. In either case, this may result in malnutrition. Seniors may opt to eat unhealthy foods regularly or not at all.
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 Hinsdale, Downers Grove, La Grange IL, and the neighboring areas of Cook and DuPage counties. Within these elderly care services, our professional caregivers will provide your elderly loved one with whatever non-medical home care they need. This includes meal preparation, help with activities of daily living (ADLs), providing transportation, and more.
With help from the home care services at Assisting Hands, your elderly relatives will have healthy snacks to eat and a trained professional to provide them with everyday care and assistance. Call Assisting Hands Home Care at (630) 413-9899 to set up a free in-home consultation today.