Meal Planning for Good Health

Eating well generally means living well. But planning meals, shopping and cooking can become difficult as we get older, leading to a risk of malnutrition and poorer health.

Some factors that can increase the risk of malnutrition as we get older:

  • Physical impairment such as difficulty chewing or swallowing, difficulty in feeding or changes in sense of smell or taste.
  • Cognitive or psychological changes such as dementia or bereavement.
  • Physical or cognitive difficulties relating to buying and preparing food.
Home Care, Caregivers, Food, Meal Planning, Mealtime Support, Assistance with Eating, Healthy Eating

While older adults tend to require fewer calories, physical changes and loss of ability to absorb vitamins and minerals mean that food needs to be nutrient-dense in order to promote good health. Foods high in sugar and fat can add to malnutrition by providing empty calories that do not nourish the body.

When meal planning, it is important to focus on lean protein (meats, seafood, eggs and beans), a variety of fruits and vegetables (aim for a rainbow of colours), whole grains and dairy. Involvement in meal planning has been shown to reduce the risk of malnutrition in older age – we are much more likely to enjoy the food we choose. 

A carer can work with you or your loved one to plan healthy meals with them that are tailored to specific tastes and needs. They can also assist with all tasks associated with meals including shopping, cooking and feeding assistance. 

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