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Healthy snack ideas for the elderly

Healthy snack ideas for the elderly

New Age Care News

Eating regularly is important at any age but it’s particularly important for the elderly. Snacking between meals can help to stabilise blood sugar levels and can also help when appetite is reduced, which often happens with age.

As we age our nutritional requirements also change. Elderly people have different nutritional needs to 20 year olds, and disease and illness also affect what is needed by an older person to stay healthy.

 

3 things to consider when choosing snacks

When deciding on snack options for an elderly person you should always consider their health needs, eating ability and taste.

Health Needs

An elderly person’s health needs should be a key factor in the snacks you provide them. If they are deficient in certain vitamins or minerals then look to boost this through the snacks they eat. For example, if they are low in vitamin B, citrus fruits are a good option, or if they are low in calcium then cheese might be good. Older people can also have low vitamin D so consider foods high in vitamin D such as salmon and tuna.

Eating Ability

Many older people may also have a physical or medical condition that affects their ability to eat certain foods. For example, raw fruit and vegetables can be a great snack but if a person is unable to chew hard food, then look at ways to soften the food or find an alternative.  

Taste

An older person’s appetite can often be reduced, so it’s important to provide meals and snacks that they actually enjoy or they won’t be inspired to eat it. Ask them what snacks they like eating and look at providing these where possible. If their favourite snack is unhealthy try to come up with a healthy alternative.

 

Healthy snack ideas

To inspire you to come up with healthy snack options, check out our suggestions below.

No preparation snacks

  • Unsalted nuts. For an occasional treat try dark chocolate coated almonds.
  • A mix of seeds such as pumpkin, sunflower, sesame or flax seeds.
  • Healthy dips such as houmous
  • Greek or natural yoghurt. Add some fresh fruit or a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
  • Cottage cheese sprinkled with seeds or cinnamon
  • Wholewheat crackers
  • Smoked salmon
  • Dried fruits (in moderation)

Minimal Preparation snacks

  • Carrot, celery, cucumber or pepper sticks
  • Fresh fruit slices (dip in almond butter or dark chocolate for a change)
  • Smoothies. There are lots of great recipes online.
  • wholewheat crackers topped with tinned tuna

Minimal Cooking

Hard boiled eggs – These are a great source of protein and not too difficult to prepare. Eggs will last approximately 7 days in the fridge and can be eaten plain or with a sprinkle of salt & pepper.

Sauteed apple or pear with cinnamon – This is a great snack if you’re on a soft food diet as it’s easily digested. Cut an apple or pear into 2cm pieces, cook in butter until soft and sprinkle with cinnamon.

Homemade baked crisps – These are great alternative to bought crisps. Slice vegetables such as sweet potato or parsnip and bake in the oven then sprinkle over a little bit of salt & pepper.

Fluids

As well as eating healthy snacks between meals, it is also very important for the elderly to regularly consume fluids to help them stay healthy and hydrated. While there is no prescribed daily fluid intake for the elderly, the 2 litres per day recommended for healthy adults, is a good starting point. For tips on staying hydrated, check out our previous blog: 

https://newagecare.co.uk/the-importance-of-regular-fluid-intake/

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