There are a number of benefits to eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, including a lower risk of heart disease, certain cancers, and stroke. As important as these fresh foods are to the health of older adults, many of them do not eat as many healthy foods as they should.
Since September is National Fruit and Veggies Month, it is the perfect time to start incorporating more of these healthful foods to your loved one’s meals. Seniors who are managing chronic illnesses can especially benefit from more fruits and vegetables. Elder care providers can also help older adults make better choices for their bodies by assisting with the grocery shopping and preparing the meals. If you are looking for some simple ways to encourage your loved one to eat more fruits and veggies, here are 8 easy ways to do so.
1. Start Small
Older adults who are used to eating high calorie, high fat meals cannot be expected to suddenly eat salads. Instead, try these small steps to a healthier diet:
- Add a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables
- Top salads with dried fruit, such as raisins or cranberries
- Incorporate more veggies into soups or pasta sauces
- Pile on the veggies to sandwiches
- Make fruit smoothies
- Add fresh or frozen fruit to oatmeal or yogurt
- Pineapple, raisins, grapes, or chunks of apple can be added to chicken salad or tuna
2. Add Flavor
Vegetables and fruit do not have to be boring to be healthy. By trying these flavorful ideas, you and your loved one will be more willing to eat more of these foods.
- Low-fat Italian dressing and parmesan cheese can be used to coat raw or cooked broccoli or cauliflower
- Use dips when eating raw veggies, such as ranch dressing, hummus, or peanut butter
- Add flavor to the elder’s favorite fruits and veggies by roasting them
- Bake pears or apples, topping them with honey and cinnamon for dessert
- Season cooked veggies with olive oil, lemon juice, or fresh herbs
3. Have a Goal
Does your aging parent want to eat healthier to manage their chronic medical condition or do they just want to live a healthier life? Help your loved one make goals as a way to motivate them to eat more fruits and veggies. They can start small by just eating one extra serving of fruit or vegetables a day, but can eventually increase the number of servings they have.
These ideas should give the elder the motivation they need to eat more fruits or veggies.