Snacks often get a bad rap. Particularly for vulnerable groups like the elderly – residents of memory care facilities and early retirees alike- snacks are discouraged for being an unhealthy food choice. While there are certainly plenty of unhealthy snacks, not all snacks are the same, and some can actually be part of a healthy diet. Snacks can provide important nutrients and energy throughout the day. The key is to choose snacks that are nutrient-dense and satisfying, rather than high in empty calories.
So here are 5 healthy snack ideas for the elderly.
Fresh Fruit Salad
Simply cut up a variety of colorful fruits like melons, berries, and citrus fruits, and mix them in a bowl.
Top health benefits of a fruit salad for the elderly include:
- Vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and folate, for a healthier immune system,
- Dietary fiber that aids digestion, prevents constipation, and lower cholesterol levels
- Antioxidants such as flavonoids and carotenoids that protect against cellular damage and inflammation
- Hydration that prevents dehydration, a common problem among older adults
Hummus and Veggie Sticks
Simply pair crunchy vegetables like carrot sticks, celery, and cucumber with hummus, a nutritious dip typically made from chickpeas and olive oil.
Top health benefits of hummus and veggies for the elderly include:
- Fiber that helps to lower cholesterol levels and control blood sugar levels
- Vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and magnesium for maintaining healthy bones, muscles
- Protein for building and maintaining muscle mass for strength and mobility
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that reduce inflammation and lower the risk of heart disease
Greek Yogurt with Berries
Simply add some fresh or frozen berries to Greek yogurt and a drizzle of honey for sweetness.
Top health benefits of greek yogurt and berries for the elderly include:
- Calcium for maintaining bone health and preventing osteoporosis, a condition that weakens bones and makes them more susceptible to fractures
- Probiotics, beneficial bacteria that improve digestive health
- Antioxidants for protecting the body from damage caused by free radicals, unstable molecules that can contribute to the development of chronic diseases
Simply mix some almonds, walnuts, and pecans with a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Top health benefits of nuts for the elderly include:
- Monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease
- Vitamin E, linked to improved cognitive function and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia
- Magnesium and phosphorus that prevents osteoporosis and improves bone density
- A low glycemic index that reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
Whole Grain Crackers with Cheese
Simply pair some whole-grain crackers with a favorite cheese. Consider adding toppings to the crackers before adding the cheese, such as sliced tomatoes, avocado, or herbs.
Top health benefits of
whole grain crackers with cheese for the elderly include:
- Complex carbohydrates that provide a sustained release of energy
- Plant sterols for lower cholesterol levels
- Healthy fats that lower the risk of heart disease
Snacking can be a healthy way for the elderly to maintain energy while getting valuable nutrients throughout the day. Why not try out these snacks to start?