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Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on March 6th, 2024

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Sweet and Healthy Snacks for Seniors

assisted living  |  health tips for seniors  |  Aging & Caregiving

Does the senior in your life have a bit of a sweet tooth? If your loved one is fond of sugary snacks, you may have concerns about the potential health impact of excess sugar in their diet. 


Everyone enjoys a sweet snack, but experts have found that people underestimate how much sugar they consume. Some sugars, such as fructose, glucose, and lactose, occur naturally in foods like fruit and milk. The issue arises from added sugars, i.e. the sugars and syrups added to food during processing, preparation, or at the table.


The American Heart Association recommends six teaspoons (25g) or less of these added sugars per day for women and no more than nine teaspoons (36g) of added sugars per day for men. 


Research has found that the average American adult consumes around 18 teaspoons (77g) of added sugars per day—more than three times the recommended limit for women and more than two times the recommended limit for men. Over time, this can lead to various health problems, including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart issues.


Fortunately, several delicious and nutritious alternatives will satisfy your loved one’s sweet tooth while still benefiting their overall health. Here are some sweet and healthy snack options for seniors to help get you started. 


Cold Snacks


Before you grab that ice cream cone, why not consider one of these cold snack alternatives? The best thing about these sweet and cold healthy snacks is their customizability. Does your loved one hate strawberries? No problem, try throwing in some blueberries instead. Is the senior in your life lactose intolerant? Dairy alternatives, nut-based milks, and others can be used instead if lactose intolerance is an issue.


Healthy smoothies


Smoothies are an excellent option for a cold snack for seniors that is both sweet and healthy. For an added health boost, blend in some fiber-rich vegetables or extra protein supplements. A few flavor ideas to try are strawberry banana, coconut raspberry, pineapple cucumber, and peach mango.


Frozen fruit


Looking for a quick and easy snack for your loved one to enjoy in the hot summer months? Look no further than frozen fruit. Pop some grapes, raspberries, pineapple, cherries, or avocado into the freezer for a delightful vitamin-filled treat.


The 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends 1½ cups of fruit per day for women and 2 cups per day for men. This snack is a great way to help seniors reach that daily amount.


Healthy popsicles


While many store-bought popsicles may be filled with added sugars and fats, don’t rule out this frozen snack entirely. Grab your favorite fruits and veggies, puree them with milk, yogurt, or juice, and pour them into a popsicle mold for a deliciously healthy version of this well-loved snack.


Sweet and Salty Snacks 


Sweet and salty flavors are a classic snack combination. Eating healthy doesn’t have to limit you in terms of flavor. Read on for some of our top sweet and salty healthy snacks.


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Dark chocolate-covered pretzels


Surprised to see chocolate on this list? Within moderation, chocolate can provide some health benefits. Just be sure you’re choosing dark chocolate, which has a higher cocoa content (70-80% or more is best) than milk chocolate and white chocolate.


The antioxidants found in dark chocolate can help relax your blood vessels and improve blood flow, having a positive effect on blood pressure. As an added benefit, dark chocolate tends to have less sugar than milk and white chocolate. 


Pair this delicious treat with a small helping of whole grain pretzels, either drizzled over the top or used as a dipping sauce, for an even more nutritious snack.


Homemade trail mix


Making homemade trail mix can be a great way to spend time in the kitchen with your loved one. Throw in nuts without added oils or sugars and seek a dry roasted and unsalted variety. Add some dried fruits, like berries, bananas, or raisins, for a touch of sweetness. With its blend of sweet and salty flavors and a hearty helping of healthy fats, fiber, and protein, trail mix truly has it all. 


Baked fruit and vegetable chips


While traditional potato chips may not be the healthiest of snacks, alternatives like sweet potato chips or apple chips give your senior that crunch they crave without the added unhealthy fats and sugars. Grab some off the shelf or make your own in the air fryer or oven. 


Soft Snacks


Soft, sweet, and healthy snacks are perfect for your loved one if they have any physical or dietary restrictions that may make consuming solid foods difficult. 


Cottage cheese


A favorite of many seniors, cottage cheese is an excellent source of calcium, which is important to maintaining bone health. It is also low in calories and a great source of vitamin B12, which plays a major role in preventing anemia. Add some pineapple or berries for an extra boost of sweetness and antioxidants.


Greek yogurt


Greek yogurt is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates than other yogurt. It contains essential vitamins and minerals, including potassium, vitamin A, and magnesium. Greek yogurt has also been connected to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels which can reduce the risk of heart disease. Similar to cottage cheese, Greek yogurt is high in calcium, which can reduce the risk of osteoporosis and bone fractures in seniors.


Key Takeaways:

  • Excessive sugar can lead to health problems, making it important to reduce or limit your added sugar intake.
  • Cold snacks like smoothies, frozen fruit, and healthy popsicles are great options for a sweet and healthy snack on a hot day.
  • Sweet and salty snacks like dark chocolate-covered pretzels, homemade trail mix, and baked fruit and vegetable chips are delicious and nutritious alternatives.
  • Soft foods, such as cottage cheese and Greek yogurt, are healthy and accessible options for seniors who struggle with more solid foods.

About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.