The concept of living a healthy and nutritious lifestyle is looking less and less like a trend and more like a concept that is here to stay. With research showing that quality of life is related to food choices, older adults are re-defining their idea of a satisfying meal.
(Mostly) gone are the days of meatloaf and mashed potatoes as the standard plate. Bring on the salmon and riced cauliflower!
Aging adults are becoming increasingly tech-savvy and gaining knowledge related to food and nutrition. Senior living communities will be tasked to stay on top of healthy choices offered to residents.
What will the plate of the future look like in senior living communities?
Here are a few healthy food options that will be in high demand!
- Move Over Meat! For the traditional resident, fish is always a great option while going meatless! The Omega-3 benefits of salmon, for instance, include fighting depression, increasing eye health and decreasing the risk of heart disease. Another option is substituting a traditional meat option such as ground beef for a legume like black beans, which increases fiber and improves digestive health.
- “Out of the Box” Grain Choices: There are less starchy whole grains making their debut into senior living communities. For example, sprinkle chia seeds onto the traditional oatmeal or yogurt to increase heart health, protein and fiber. Or use quinoa, for example, as an alternative base in wraps and bowls and to compliment a protein.
- Getting Friendly with Fats: Heart-healthy fats can improve cholesterol and decrease the risk of heart disease. Foods high in heart-healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil and nuts are healthy and help create a satisfying meal, too.
- Adding Antioxidants: Fruits are an often-forgotten key player in improving nutrition! Some may believe that fruits don’t pair well with diabetic considerations; however, it is important not to avoid fruits all together. Fruits such as berries, cherries and apples, for example, have antioxidant proprieties to prevent against cancer and Alzheimer’s disease while improving skin and heart health.
- Value on Vitamins: According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, most adults over 50 do not get enough B12, Vitamin D or calcium. Fortified cereals, fish and beef are all fantastic sources of vitamin B12. Dairy products, spinach, broccoli and almonds are all great sources of vitamin D and calcium. Most of these foods are great compliments to an already balanced meal.
Senior living communities are hopping on the healthy train one ingredient at a time. Residents may not be too familiar with some of the trendy health foods; however, dietary managers can combat the uncertainty with samplings and food tastings. Adding some of these nutrient-boosting ingredients on the menu gradually will create a dynamic menu as well as improve residents’ nutrition and quality of life!
Check out these recipes for inspiration!