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If your aging loved one has a sweet tooth -- and let’s face it, who doesn’t -- you may be concerned about the excess consumption of sugar.
Whether your parent suffers from a lack of appetite or you just want to help him/her make smarter choices, consider these palate-pleasing, healthy snacks.
Many seniors enjoy cooking, but working in the kitchen can be taxing, particularly when it involves operating heavy appliances and fixing full meals. These simple yet satisfying snacks help keep older adults engaged in the act of cooking.
Fruits contain natural sugars, and make a sweet snack any season of the year. Plus, chopping, slicing and dicing engages the motor skills and eye-hand coordination. Be sure to stock up on beautiful berries: strawberries, raspberries, blackberries and blueberries are particularly nutritious because of their high antioxidant power. (A hint: if you’re including apples or bananas, add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to maintain their color.)
This sweet and salty mix delivers a satisfying crunch….along with a solid dose of nutrition. While you can buy a variety of trail mixes at the store, why not encourage your loved one to make his/her own? Nuts, which are at the heart of most trail mixes, are full of fiber and healthy fats. Packed with protein, they also deliver a beneficial boost of energy. Look for nuts without added oils, sugars or preservatives, and seek out dry roasted, unsalted versions. Dried fruits, including cranberries, raisins, dates, and bananas, add a hint of sweet. And don’t forget about antioxidant-rich dark chocolate, which also promotes healthy blood sugar levels.
Encourage your loved one to prep a supply of veggies for around-the-clock access to easy, colorful snacking. Snap pea pods, carrots, and red peppers are high in vitamins and slightly sweet. For added incentive, buy or whip up a delicious dip to go along with it.
Popsicles are a refreshing treat, and can be made at home simply by pouring natural juice and/or yogurt into popsicle forms, adding a stick, and freezing. Choose natural juice without added sugars for a snack as healthy as it is delicious.
If your loved one eats poorly when outside the home, stocking up on portable, nutritious snacks can promote healthy eating. These “grab and go” options come in handy in a pinch.
Dried apples, cranberries and other fruits are a healthy choice, as long as you seek out preservative-free, no-sugar and low-sugar varieties. If you can’t find them at the supermarket, stop by your local health food store. Simply toss in a plastic bag or container and enjoy during outings.
While some granola bars are nothing more than candy bars parading as a healthy snack, other options are packed with healthy carbs, natural sugars and protein. Because they contain unprocessed ingredients, natural granola bars are the safest choice.
While kids’ lunches may come to mind when you think about these portable tubes, they are a fun, nutritious choice for people of all ages. Choose carefully, though: some brands are full of sugar and high in fat. Greek yogurt, meanwhile, contains two times as much protein as regular yogurt. For a cool treat, these can be popped into the freezer.
The more enjoyable the food options, the more likely your loved one is to make good choices. These nutritious snacks satisfy cravings while promoting optimal health.
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.