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Senior Meal Planning: What’s for Dinner?

New Jersey Senior Health & Lifestyles

Nutrition and proper eating becomes more important as we age. As a result, menu planning becomes an important consideration. Here are some things to consider:

Easy to chew and swallow: Digestive processes changes with age and seniors tend to produce 30% less saliva then they did while younger. Foods that are dry can be difficult to chew and swallow. Many senior citizens wear dentures, so tough meats and raw vegetables can be difficult to chew. When planning a meal, select softer foods that are easy to eat.

Lower in salt: Most seniors have salt restrictions to reduce the risk of water retention and high blood pressure. Cooking with low or no salt is best, while processed foods and salted meats should also be avoided.

Make it tasty: Prescription medications can affect the flavor of foods and as we age our sense of smell and taste also changes. Foods that once were tasty may suddenly taste bland. When preparing a meal for a senior adding savory (but not spicy) seasonings will make a meal taste more flavorful.

Use recipes with lots of nutrition: Most seniors tend to have smaller appetites which can contribute to weight loss. Instead of preparing light & lean meals, meals that are high in nutrition and calories can help a senior maintain a healthy weight.

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