Some nutrients are essential to how your body functions. As you age, you need antioxidants to help with cell and tissue health. You need protein for muscles and calcium and vitamin D for bone strength. As senior citizens look more at quick and easy meals, vegetables often get ignored.
Vegetables are packed with antioxidants, fiber, and other essential vitamins and minerals. The folic acid in many vegetables helps with red blood cell production. Vitamin A helps keep the eyes and skin healthy. Vitamin C helps heal injuries and assists with how the body absorbs iron.
If your dad is sticking to canned vegetables, he’s not getting the right nutrients. He may choose them because they’re easy or incredibly soft. He may lean towards frozen vegetables that are already seasoned in a high-sodium sauce laden with saturated fat and sugar. Either way, he needs to boost his vegetable intake.
Here are some tips that can help make that happen.
Incorporate Them Into Beverages
If your dad likes shakes and smoothies, you can get fruits and vegetables into those drinks. Chopped kale is an easy vegetable to hide in smoothies. It doesn’t have a strong taste, and bananas and berries will keep him from noticing it. Make sure you have kale leaves and avoid the tougher stems.
Add Them to Desserts
Here’s a sneaky way to get your dad to eat more healthy options. Add them to desserts. You can’t do this with all types of vegetables. Broccoli ice cream would be disgusting, but you could do a frozen avocado and chocolate mousse. Make a carrot cake and add butternut squash puree instead of vegetable oil. Use a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup in place of sugar.
Focus on Meals and Snacks He Enjoys
To get your dad to eat more vegetables, add them in his favorite meals. If he goes nuts for meatloaf, put in a stuffing of spinach, garlic, and cheese. If he loves summer squash, grate that into his macaroni and cheese.
If he loves a hearty stew, boost the vegetable content. Soups are also handy. You can add extra vegetables to almost any soup. Make a cheddar soup with broccoli or a minestrone soup that’s packed with carrots, Swiss chard, white beans, onions, and tomatoes.
Rather than force your dad to cook healthy meals, hire homecare providers to help him. With a homecare aide cooking meals, he won’t have to worry about cooking meals. He also has a companion to eat those meals with. Call our homecare agency to talk about caregivers and meal preparation services.