Following a vegetarian diet can lower the risk of diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and other health issues in aging adults. While vegetarianism isn’t very common among elderly people, there are a number of seniors who do prefer to follow a meat-free diet. If your aging loved one is vegetarian, ensuring he or she continues to get the daily recommended amounts of protein and vitamin B12 is important. To help your loved one get enough of these essential nutrients, incorporate the following foods into his or her diet.
Dairy Products & Eggs
Both eggs and dairy products, including milk, cheese, and yogurt, are good sources of protein and vitamin B12. While these foods generally are high in fat, selecting the low-fat versions of dairy products and boiling or poaching eggs can reduce the calories and fat in each serving. Aging adults should try to get at least three servings of dairy a day (as recommended by the USDA) as well as two to three servings of eggs a week.
Older adults may find it challenging to prepare nutritious meals on their own. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Philadelphia seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Foods Fortified with B12
Reading labels is important if you’re looking to incorporate more B12 into your loved one’s diet. Some foods, such as cereals, soy milk, and almond milk, are fortified with vitamin B12. One serving of fortified soy milk contains about 50 percent of the daily requirement for vitamin B12, and it typically has about eight grams of protein. Combine soy milk with a cereal that contains 25 percent of the daily requirement for B12, and you can serve nearly a full day’s supply of this vital nutrient at breakfast alone.
Hiring a caregiver is a good option if your loved one needs help preparing nutritious meals. Aging adults who require assistance with the tasks of daily living can benefit from reliable home care. Philadelphia, families trust Home Care Assistance to provide the high-quality care their elderly loved ones need and deserve. Our caregivers are trained to help seniors prevent and manage serious illnesses and encourage them to make healthier decisions as they age.
Legumes & Nuts
Nuts and legumes are good sources of protein, particularly for seniors with diminished appetites. As these foods are high in protein and calories but their serving sizes are small, eating nuts and legumes can ensure your loved one gets the nutrients he or she needs without eating a lot. Because legumes are also cheaper than many other foods and don’t spoil as quickly, they’re an affordable option for seniors living on tight budgets. You can prepare a lentil and brown rice dish and sprinkle some cheese on top for an extra punch of protein.
Some types of tofu contain both protein and vitamin B12. However, since not all brands contain this vitamin, make sure to read the label before you choose. Since tofu is an incredibly versatile food, you can include it in most recipes for an extra boost of protein and B12. Stir fry, bake, or cook tofu with a sauce before adding it to salads, soups, or rice dishes for a filling, nutritious, and delicious meal.
Following a vegetarian diet is just one of the many ways older adults can boost their health and wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. To learn about our in-home care plans and how they can benefit your loved one, call us at (215) 645-4663 today.