Malnutrition is much more than not eating enough food. It also occurs when a person’s dietary choices lead to deficiencies of the necessary vitamins and minerals, fiber, or protein. Here are the healthy eating habits your parents need to follow to avoid these deficiencies.
Consider Food Portioning
When your parents get their dinner, what is on the plate Portion size is important, but the foods on the plate are even more vital. Ideally, fruits and vegetables should take up half of a plate. Protein is essential, but it’s not the star.
Protein should take up a quarter of the plate. Whole grains take up the other quarter. Vegetables have to be the main component on the dinner plate to ensure your parents get enough fruits and vegetables every day. They should have had four or five servings of produce by the end of the day.
Choose Healthy Snacks
Snacking is often where people fall into problems with weight gain. If your parents want a snack, they need to avoid sugary treats like granola bars, cookies, fruit-flavored yogurt, etc. High-sugar, high-fat snacks are poor options.
Keep fresh vegetables and dips like hummus on hand for snacks. Fresh fruit is also a good snack. Some apple slices with natural almond butter are an option. Also, keep nuts and low-fat cheese cubes on hand for quick snacks.
Instead of three main meals each day, have smaller meals every couple of hours. For example, your mom gets up and has a cup of tea with a slice of whole-grain toast. Two hours later, she could have apple slices with some nut butter.
Two hours after that, she has half a tuna sandwich. Continue that pattern to keep hunger pangs away. This also helps stabilize blood sugar levels.
Cook From Scratch
Make meals from scratch instead of using frozen dinners or takeout. When meals are prepared from scratch, you control the ingredients like salt, sugar, and fat. Your dad loves frozen lasagnas, but the sodium and saturated fat levels concern you.
You can make a healthier lasagna using whole-grain lasagna noodles, skim ricotta or cottage cheese, skim mozzarella, ground turkey in place of beef, and lots of extra vegetables in a quick sauce you make from scratch.
Is it beneficial for your parents to have help with meal planning and preparation? In-home care aides help with this. They’ll work out a weekly meal plan with your mom and dad, help them shop for the required groceries, and prepare meals that match your parents’ dietary needs. Call an in-home care agency to schedule services.