Healthy Meals For Seniors at Ridgeline's Communities
Meals at a senior living community are the one thing that almost every single resident participates in every day (and often three times a day!) Meals are important for diet, for socialization, and for general health. As a person ages, it becomes more and more important to focus on eating a well-balanced diet. This can help you prevent gaining weight, feeling listless or lethargic, and missing the nutrients that you need to enjoy a healthy life. A balanced and healthy diet can also prevent heart disease and diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. Another benefit of a healthy diet can be reduced blood pressure and reduced cholesterol.
Nutritious Meals & Foods
We recently wrote about the best vitamins for seniors with Dementia & Alzheimer's, but a vitamin rich diet is also helpful for all seniors. A well-balanced diet for seniors should include: Potassium, Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and fiber. These are important for a number of reasons.
Potassium is an important mineral and electrolyte in a senior’s body, and if not monitored can become too high OR too low, resulting in damage to the body. Potassium levels that are too high can result in tingling, weakness, or numbness. If your levels are too low, fatigue, muscle weakness, cramps, nausea, and vomiting could be among the many symptoms. Potassium can be found in nuts, bananas, and tuna primarily. Check with your physician to make sure your Potassium levels are appropriate before changing your diet.
Calcium is the most important nutrient for strong bones and teeth, but it also ensures that cells, muscles, and your nerves work properly. Calcium levels deplete as we age, so it is important to supplement your diet, if your levels are lower than necessary. Beyond the obvious consumption of milk and dairy products, there are many green leafy vegetables that can help as well. Collard greens, Kale, Broccoli, and Bok Choy are delicious and healthy additions to a high calcium diet. Seniors can also consume figs or oranges for a sweeter alternative.
It is understood that Vitamin D is a vital component of healthy aging, but many adults don’t get enough of the vitamin. Symptoms of a Vitamin D deficiency include bone softening, nausea, frailty, and cognitive issues. Vitamin D also improves senior mental health, helping combat prevalent issues like elderly depression, which can lead to loneliness, poor sleep, and lack of enjoyment of day to day life. Vitamin D is also important in bone health, can prevent cancers and infections, and help protect oral health. The easiest (and some would say most fun) natural source of Vitamin D is sunshine. This can be combined with exercise to really address good health. Other sources can include cod liver oil supplements, white mushrooms, cooked salmon, or the obvious, a big glass of milk!
Another necessary vitamin is Vitamin B12, and as you age it becomes harder for the body to process or create its own. B12 is stored in the liver and helps with cognitive functioning among other things. Symptoms of a B12 deficiency can include tingling or numbness, difficulty walking, anemia, yellowed skin, and if left unchecked can influence Alzheimer’s Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Cardiovascular Disease, and Cancer. The easiest way to increase your B12 intake is through a supplement, but there are foods that can help boost that deficiency as well. Eggs, Ham, Chicken Breasts and Rainbow Trout are excellent sources of Vitamin B12, as are Yogurt, Cheese, and Milk
Fiber is important because it helps fight heart disease by lowering cholesterol levels. Eating high fiber foods like oats, almonds, beans, walnuts, and barley can help you lower your cholesterol, as well helping lower the chance of getting certain types of cancers, including colorectal cancer.
Socializing While Dining with Ridgeline
A recent study revealed that one in five seniors report that they feel loneliest when eating by themselves. Every meal has the potential to be an event with Ridgeline. Whether it’s a tableside omelette station, a cooking demonstration, a family dinner, or something special in the private dining room, each meal should be an experience. The choices of the chef, in consultation with a nutritionist, are available for you to choose from each and every day. Dining with your friends allows us to each try new flavors, experience new dishes and stimulate the conversation. Seniors eating together eat more, and healthier.
In addition to eating healthy, well-balanced foods at mealtime, it is often recommended that seniors make up their vitamin and mineral deficiencies by taking supplements. Please consult your physician for specific dietary recommendations.
Custom Menus For Individual Needs
Meals at Lakeview Terrace are planned and directed by a chef with the input of a nutritionist. These meals are made using dietitian approved recipes that ensures that the meal is as healthy as possible, avoiding too much salt, sugar, and other ingredients that are often best used in moderation. The chef will also make as much of the food using scratch cooking techniques to limit the amount of preservatives and artificial ingredients.
Nutrition at Ridgeline
Ridgeline sees each meal as an opportunity to help our residents be the happiest and healthiest person that they can be. It is the one thing that every resident experiences at the community every day, and because of that, we take it very seriously. Scratch cooking, table top “Always Available” menus, and a restaurant like dining experience contribute to what is already an incredible experience for your loved one. Contact us today to learn more about the measures we take to provide the healthiest food for our seniors, or take a look at our dining & nutrition page to see the full menu at Ridgeline.