The National Institute of Health indicates that a well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some forms of cancer, and anemia, which will help senior citizens live independently and stay healthy longer.  Cooking can be a fun and engaging activity for seniors and the benefits of a good diet are immeasurable;

Live longer and stronger – Good nutrition keeps muscles, bones, organs, and other body parts strong for the long haul. Eating vitamin-rich food boosts immunity and fights illness-causing toxins. A proper diet reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, type-2 diabetes, bone loss, cancer, and anemia. Also, eating sensibly means consuming fewer calories and more nutrient-dense foods, keeping weight in check.

Sharpen the mind – Key nutrients are essential for the brain to do its job. People who eat a selection of brightly colored fruit, leafy veggies, and fish and nuts packed with omega-3 fatty acids can improve focus and decrease their risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

Feel better – Wholesome meals give you more energy and help you look better, resulting in a self-esteem boost. It’s all connected—when your body feels good you feel happier inside and out.

When it comes to cooking, are some considerations seniors should take into account.

TEXTURE - Some foods such as corn on the cob and popcorn and may be difficult for seniors with dentures.

SIMPLE IS NICE - Meals that are easy to prepare can cut down on cooking, cleaning and shopping, leaving more time to enjoy the dinner and time spent with family and friends.

REHEAT & EAT - Ideal menu options should be easy to reheat and enjoy again. This will ensure that you have quick options when you need them. Perhaps look at buying a vacuum sealer so you can prepare frozen meals to stock up the freezer for later dates.

QUICK SIDES -  Packaged noodles, soups and rice area good things to keep handy for a fast preparation and they freeze well.

By planning ahead, you can have a healthy meal anytime of day without a lot of mess and preparation.

Breakfast - Eggs are a great source of protein, and they can be cooked in countless ways. They can also be frozen and reheated in the microwave, making it quick and easy for your elderly relatives to heat up a tasty, nutritious breakfast.

Pancakes and waffles are also freezable. Just make a big batch, package up the leftovers, and freeze them. Then, to reheat them, your senior only needs to pop them in the toaster. Pancakes and waffles can be made healthier by swapping out various ingredients. Substitute rolled oats for flour and bananas or applesauce for butter and eggs.

Lunch- you can make hundreds of soups using healthy ingredients like kale, beans, lentils, and any number of vegetables. Opt for vegetable stock over chicken or beef stock as a base, and choose low-sodium options to create healthier soups.

Dinner- Use a slow cooker and you'll have a no fuss meal in no time!  Throw all of your recipe ingredients into the pot and turn it on. In a few hours you’ll have a ready-made meal. You can prepare bags of ingredients to refrigerate or freeze until your ready to eat. All they have to do is defrost a bag and put the ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning and you'll have dinner that evening.

With a little planning and consideration, cooking and keeping to a healthy diet can be easy, enjoyable and tasty too.

National Institute Of Health - http://nihseniorhealth.gov/eatingwellasyougetolder/benefitsofeatingwell/01.html




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