Serving area of Chatham, Durham, Granville, Franklin, Johnston, Nash and Wake Counties.

How to Help Seniors Maintain a Balanced Diet

With food costs on the rise nationwide, it is important for everyone to maintain a balanced, nutritious diet.  Maintaining a balanced, nutritious diet has been hard for many senior citizens in the past, now it has become even harder and the number of senior citizens that are unable to cover the cost of eating right is rising daily.

So, where can they find help?

  1. They can apply for food assistance at their local Food and Nutrition Services office, typically in a Human Services location. This can be done in person and now it can also be done online in many places.  They do not only provide food stamps, they are also the gateway to many other food and nutrition services that will help keep the right foods within reach of those who need a little extra help.
  2. The Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program helps provide seniors in many areas of the nation with access to locally grown fruits, vegetables, honey and herbs.
  3. Meals on Wheels will provide seniors with food that is delivered to their homes.  This food comes ready made, can be frozen, and all they have to do is heat it up.  The food comes packaged as a healthy balanced meal that is much better than frozen “TV dinners”.
  4. Family, friends, and caretakers can (and should) stop by and make sure that the refrigerator is always stocked with essentials (and maybe some treats now and then).  Offer to go grocery shopping for them or drop off a meal or two for them to heat up during the week.  It is important to note that when shopping or cooking for senior citizens it is imperative to keep their dietary needs in mind. Here are some tips for making your help as helpful as possible:
    1.   Make sure you know if they have any dietary restrictions.
    2. Keep in mind that seniors still need to have food from every food group.
    3. Look for options that have little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
    4. Protein is super important.
    5. Add fruits and veggies to the meal or cart to make sure they are getting a balanced mix of food.
    6. Keep it simple, do not give them something with multiple steps for preparation. The easier the better.
    7. Water is important.
    8. So is Vitamin B12. Some good sources are beef, fortified cereal, tuna, trout, salmon, milk and dairy products, fortified non-dairy products, and eggs.
    9. You can reduce sodium intake by seasoning with different herbs and spices or with citrus like lemon juice.

Here are the links to some of the programs listed above, check them out to see if any of them are available in your area and share them with any senior who may need a little extra help getting food.

https://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/find-meals

https://www.fns.usda.gov/sfmnp/senior-farmers-market-nutrition-program

https://www.fns.usda.gov/snap/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program

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