10 Tips to Help an Older Adult Eat More Fruit and Vegetables

10 Tips to Help an Older Adult Eat More Fruit and Vegetables

Eating a well balanced diet includes making sure to include a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. These include: dark green leafy vegetables, red fruits and vegetables, yellow / orange fruits and vegetables, beans and peas, and citrus fruits. These foods have shown to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. They even lower blood pressure, prevent digestive issues and can even protect against certain cancers.

When it comes to seniors, eating enough of these fruits and vegetables are key to staying healthy. But, according to the Produce for Better Health Foundation, older adults 50 and older are eating less produce now than they were a few years ago.

How do you get an older adult to eat more fruits and vegetables?

1. Add them to foods they already eat
Here are a few ideas:
– add fresh fruit to oatmeal
– add fresh fruit to cereal
– swap out the meat on pizza for tomatoes or peppers, or add on top
– add sliced vegetables to their sandwiches

2. Suggest a smoothie for breakfast or a snack
If an older adult does not seem to like the taste of vegetables, adding fruit to a vegetable smoothie is a great way to disguise them.

3. Buy produce that’s in season
Farmer’s markets usually carry the freshest fruits and vegetables and a great way to get your older adult out of the house, for them to pick out produce and possibly try something they’ve never had before.

4. Keep fruit in a visible place
Out of sight, out of mind goes for fruits as well. Placing fruits in a bowl on the counter where they can be seen will make it easier and convenient for them to grab.

5. Spiralize vegetables
Spiralizing vegetables is a good way to include a new way of adding in vegetables. Zucchini and spaghetti squash can be spiralized into “noodles” and can be a good substitute for pasta in a meal.

6. Experiment with different cooking and seasoning methods
If they are not a fan of raw peppers or onions, grilling them and adding seasoning can alter the taste and make them more pleasant to eat. Don’t be afraid to add different seasonings to find what they may like

7. Sneak in vegetables into meals
There are many recipes that contain “hidden” vegetables. Tailored usually for children to get them to eat their vegetables, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t be used for older adults.

8. Keep produce-based snacks handy
Dried fruit, raw vegetables like carrots, broccoli and celery or fresh fruit are good to have on hand for a quick snack.

9. Make soup
Soups are a perfect way to slide in vegetables. Chicken noodle and minestrone soup are good options to have on hand.

10. See if they qualify for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
Groceries, especially fresh produce, are expensive. It may be worth looking to see if they qualify for SNAP. You can use SNAP for anything from fruit, vegetables, meats to bottled water. More information on SNAP eligibility can be found at BenefitsCheckUp.org.

Bottom line is that if older adults do not get the right nutrients from fruits and vegetables that they need, they’re more susceptible to malnutrition, different deficiencies, and diseases.

Source: https://ncoa.org/article/10-tips-to-help-an-older-adult-eat-more-vegetables