As your senior loved one ages, his or her diet becomes more important. While you may know eating fresh, unprocessed foods is a key lifestyle factor in promoting a long and healthy life, you may not realize certain health foods can negatively affect your loved one. To ensure you know which foods aren’t as healthy as they seem, check out this list of common “health” foods.
1. “Diet” Foods
Despite the seemingly health-conscious label, diet foods often have a large amount of harmful ingredients. Though diet foods have fewer calories, they usually contain artificial sweeteners. Recent studies show these ingredients may cause brain conditions and have been linked to sugar cravings and weight gain. Instead of going for the diet and low-fat versions of your loved one’s favorite foods, purchase the original versions and encourage him or her to eat those foods less frequently.
Some seniors need help preparing healthy meals at home. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Harrisburg Home Care, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Harrisburg seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
2. Lean Deli Meats
Turkey is often singled out as a healthy type of meat, but beware of deli cuts laden with salt, corn syrup, and other harmful additives. In addition, cold cuts are a source of listeria, a bacterium that can be especially harmful to older adults. Rather than serving your loved one deli turkey or other cold cuts, consider buying a full-size turkey or chicken a family member or caregiver can slice for your loved one. This way, your loved one can still get a healthy fix of protein without ingesting the harmful extra ingredients in the cold cut versions.
3. Smoothies & Juices
As 20 percent of a healthy diet comes from fruit, it can be tempting to give your loved one fruit juices or smoothies to meet this dietary requirement. However, premade juices and smoothies contain large amounts of sugar and often lack the fiber and other nutrients found in whole fruit. If your loved one wants to enjoy a smoothie, try making one at home with his or her favorite fruits and vegetables. Likewise, if your loved one would like a cup of orange juice with breakfast, choose one that contains 100 percent juice and encourage alternating juice with water or add ice cubes to the drink.
Removing unhealthy foods from their diets is one of the many ways seniors can maintain their health and enjoy a high quality of life. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional homecare services. Harrisburg Home Care is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
4. Starchy Vegetables
Vegetables like corn and potatoes are healthy in moderation, but they contain more calories than non-starchy veggies and may also raise blood sugar levels. In addition, many of these foods are often drenched in butter and salt, which can negate the healthy benefits of these veggies. Particularly if your loved one has diabetes or is at risk of developing type 2 diabetes, make sure he or she eats a 3-to-1 ratio of non-starchy and starchy vegetables.
Hiring a professional caregiver is one of the best ways to help your loved one switch to healthy meals and boost his or her overall wellbeing. Maintaining a high quality of life can be challenging for some seniors, but professional caregivers can help them attain this goal. Families can trust Harrisburg senior care experts to help their elderly loved ones focus on lifestyle choices that increase the chances of living longer and healthier lives. Harrisburg Home Care will work with you to customize a care plan that’s just right for your loved one’s needs. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (717) 200-7406 to learn more about our customized care plans.