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Senior Nutrition : 3 warning signs that your loved one is not eating well

By Susan Wholley

One of the most frequent complaints I hear from seniors is: "It is just me at home, why should I cook? I want something easy and quick without making a fuss". This is when I shake my head and think back to when I was a single gal. Back in my twenties I ate what I wanted, slept for hours and exercised when the mood struck. Food largely came from a box or a bag and nutritional content was not a concern. A senior however is a different story. Nutrition is vital. So when I hear a senior talk about just doing what is easy, that is my first warning sign.

"I am so tired". "I don't feel like getting dressed today". Lethargy is warning sign number two.

"My muscles hurt". "I am cramping at night". Sudden aches and pains is sign number three, warning of an imbalanced diet.

We wake up, look in the mirror and everyday it is something new. While our brains stay relatively the same, hopefully a bit wiser, they still think like a younger person. We often wonder why we can't eat the way we did ten years ago or behave or move even as a younger person. It is very difficult for a senior to rationalize what is going on with their bodies when their brains are still youthful. NO EXCUSE! All ages need nutrition and well balanced diets. Just because you let yourself get away with eating improperly for years does not mean you can continue. Especially when stores are making it so easy to stay healthy.

To the single senior who does not want to fuss I simply point out all the healthy choices that take a second to prepare. Prebagged, prewashed salads are a great choice. Cut up fruit salads, already hard boiled eggs, not to mention the many kinds of frozen fruits, vegetables which can be popped in a microwave. How about the refrigerator section that has yogurts and smoothies which you just need to shake?

To the lethargic one, if you are tired all the time, then your body is telling you that your diet is lacking in vitamins and nutrients. A good start to fixing this issue is having a product like Ensure, which gives you much of your daily requirements. Keeping fresh fruit on the counter, especially bananas which leads me to the achy senior.

The discomforted senior needs to be aware of what they are missing in their diet. Fruits and vegetables contain so much of what we need to keep our bodies strong. Bananas have potassium which keep away charlie horses and muscle cramps. There are so many options today that we didn't have years ago. If you notice your senior with any of the warning signs mentioned above, grab your senior and take them on a tour of the supermarket. Smaller markets like Trader Joes, Whole Foods and Mrs. Greens are an even better choices. There you can find many pre-made meals with fresh ingredients that just need reheating, or can even be eaten cold. Remind your senior that bags and boxes contain chemicals and unhealthy ingredients used to keep foods fresh.

Remember to remind your senior to READ THEIR LABELS.

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