Proper nutrition is vital for good health no matter how old we are. However, many seniors have a difficult time planning and preparing meals. Even getting out to do the shopping can be be challenge!
If you are caring for a senior loved one, maybe you’ve shouldered some of this responsibility. And maybe you’ve become a little overwhelmed at the amount of time and planning it takes to meet your loved one’s nutritional needs. You may wonder what to prepare, or you may wonder where you’ll find the time.
Did you know that a meal planning service can help you to provide your loved one with healthy balanced meals? Whether you just need some help a few times a week, or someone to take over the meal planning completely, a meal planning service could be just what you’re looking for!
Before you go looking for the perfect plan for you, it may be helpful to review a few senior nutrition tips. Knowing what your loved one needs to stay healthy can help you to be sure you’re choosing a meal planning service that will meet those needs.
Seniors Nutritional Needs
As a rule, seniors need fewer calories than they may have needed when they were younger. This is partly because they tend to be less active. However, their need for certain vitamins and minerals doesn’t diminish. As a matter of fact, because our bodies tend to become less efficient at absorbing or producing some essential nutrients as we get older, seniors may actually need to consume more foods containing important vitamins and minerals like calcium, and vitamins D and B12.
What this means is that, to stay healthy, seniors need to make it a point to eat foods that are rich in nutrients. Consuming empty calories is more likely to lead to weight gain and improper nutrition.
Meal Planning Tips for Seniors
Many caregivers find that the best way to make sure they are meeting the nutritional needs of their senior loved one is to plan meals carefully. The National Council on Aging gives the following helpful tips for planning healthy meals for seniors:
- Your plate should look like a rainbow. Eating a variety of brightly colored foods is a great way for seniors to get the nutrients they need.
- Eat balanced meals. Ideally, a healthy meal should include lean protein, fruits and veggies, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
- Read labels. The healthiest foods are whole foods. If you buy packaged foods, look for those low in fats, sodium, and added sugar.
Choosing the Right Meal Planning Service
Some meal planning services cater exclusively to seniors. Other meal planning services provide options designed to meet the needs of their older customers. Before you choose a meal planning service for your loved one, there are a few questions to consider:
- How many meals will your loved one need? Some seniors are able to do some of their own cooking. Others may have family or other caregivers who can provide meals or stock their freezer. However, seniors who can’t cook for themselves and don’t have any other help with their meals, will need all of their meals covered.
- What kind of meals does your loved one need? Some services deliver meals that have already been prepared. All your loved one will need to do is heat and eat. Others will provide all of the ingredients and instructions necessary for them to prepare and cook the meal themselves. This is perfect for seniors who enjoy cooking but who may struggle with shopping or planning.
- What is your budget? A ready to eat meal service providing three meals and snacks will usually cost $30 or more each day. Depending on the service, ready to cook meals can cost less.
- Does your loved one have any special dietary requirements? Many meal planning services will cater to people who need gluten-free meals or those looking for diabetic or heart healthy options.
Once you’ve determined what your needs are, finding a meal planning service shouldn’t be hard. If you live in Landfall, Porter’s Neck, Wrightsville Beach, or Cambridge Village of Wilmington, The Davis Community offers Concierge Care – a service designed to help independent seniors remain at home for as long as possible. Among the many services available to support independence are meal planning and nutritional guidance.
In other locations, a simple Google search may turn up a list of possible services in your area. If you don’t find what you’re looking for, contact your local area agency on aging for recommendations.
Visit the Davis Community’s Assisted Living and SNF in Wilmington NC
If you or loved one are no longer capable of living a safe, independent lifestyle, then call the Davis Community today at 910-686-7195 or simply complete and submit our online information request form. We provide exceptional assisted living and skilled nursing services in Wilmington, NC. We offer a strong and supportive environment where your loved one will feel welcomed and part of an active community. Davis Community is pleased to offer customized concierge home care services, including meal preparation and nutritional guidance, to independent seniors living in Landfall, Cambridge Village, Wrightsville Beach and Porter’s Neck, NC. Get to know the difference today — schedule a visit to the Davis Community!