Nutritional needs change as a person ages; appetite may wane and the ability to chew and digest certain foods may also be effected. Snacks high in vitamins, minerals and fiber are a great way to help your senior loved one get all the calories and nutrients they need in a day. Snacks can also have social value, as they can be a time to share food with friends or family.
The following list of 15 healthy snacks can provide you with some fresh ideas to get your senior interested in supplementing their diet.
In This Guide
- Fresh fruit
- Precut veggies
- Cheese slices served with wholegrain crackers
- A hard-boiled egg
- Chocolate-covered raisins
- Healthy nuts
- A simple salad
- Seaweed strips or sushi
1. Fresh fruit
This could be in the form of berries or cut-up oranges or apples. Fruit is a great hydrating snack, giving much-need fluids as well as packing a punch of antioxidants and vitamins. Fruit can be put into small Ziploc baggies in the fridge for ease of use for the senior who lives alone. A variety of fresh fruit and berries in season also serves as a great substitute for dessert for those who are not able to eat sweets due to dietary restrictions.
2. Precut veggies
These can be prepared ahead and eaten alone or with a tasty dip. A mixed bag of carrots, broccoli, cauliflower pieces and snap peas make a great combination. Add cherry tomatoes and cucumber slices at serving time. Use fresh herbs such as dill or scallions to flavor the dip.
3. Cheese slices served with wholegrain crackers
The cheese adds an important dairy component to the senior adult’s diet, with much-need calcium as the bonus ingredient. Most senior adult women need more calcium in their daily menu in order to ward off osteoporosis. Wholegrain crackers provide valuable nutrients as well as fiber.
Made in an air popper or on the stove with a healthy oil such as coconut oil or olive oil. Popped corn is high in fiber and is an inexpensive snack. An easy finger food to eat, and easy to chew, popcorn is a favorite snack of bygone days and enjoyed by most elderly adults. It can be seasoned with cinnamon, salt substitute or any kind of dried herbs.
5. A hard-boiled egg
Can be a filling snack and adds essential protein to the diet. It can be eaten as-is or sliced and served on a slice of wholegrain toast. With only 75 calories, an egg provides 7 grams of high quality protein. They are also one of the lowest-cost nutritionally dense proteins you can buy. Hard-boil a few eggs and keep in fridge for easy senior snacking.
On pita bread or lettuce leaves. This creamy Middle Eastern spread can also be used as a dip for carrot sticks or other veggies. Hummus is made primarily from chickpeas and sesame paste, with herbs, spices and other tasty add-ins.
7. Chocolate-covered raisins
Can take the place of candy for the senior with a sweet tooth. This kind of snack shouldn’t be served too often, but adds some variety and excitement once in a while. To lower the sugar content of the snack, mix the chocolate-covered raisins in a bowl with some dry cheerios, unsalted sunflower seeds and dry cranberries. Toss the mixture together and serve a pre-measured portion, such as 1/3 cup.
8. Healthy nuts
Nuts contain fats, protein, minerals and other nutrients that are a great addition to the diet of the senior adult. Some of the harder nuts may be difficult for the denture-wearing senior to chew. Try out a few different varieties such as almonds, pistachios, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and cashews.
9. Yogurt mixed with granola
Give the granola some time to soak up the yogurt and soften up. These can even be mixed up ahead of time in small containers and stored in the fridge for your loved one to pull out at snack time. There is no preparation necessary for them when made ahead.
Provide the necessary potassium most senior adults are lacking in sufficient quantity. Look for snacks that incorporate bananas. They could eat a fresh banana right out of the peel or a banana oatmeal cookie that’s been made ahead. Keep a small sealed bag or container of banana muffins in the fridge or wrap individually and freeze.
Are chock-full of heart healthy monounsaturated fat. They are also a good source of probiotics and protein. Cut one on half, remove the pit and use a spoon to scoop all the goodness out of each half. If your senior parent can’t eat both halves in one sitting, sprinkle lemon juice on the other half and wrap tightly for the next snack.
12.A cup of herb tea
For the aging adult who doesn’t eat much in the evenings but needs something more, a cup of herb tea may just hit the spot. It doesn’t have the caffeine of black tea, which can interfere with sleep. Herb tea contains healthy antioxidants.
13. A simple salad
This may consist of lettuce, cucumbers and radishes, or any combination of a number of different salad greens and vegetables. For a nice change, Cole slaw is a tasty and nutritious snack food. These salads can also be made ahead in individual size servings and kept in the fridge. Don’t add dressing until ready to eat.
14. Seaweed strips or sushi
A lot of nutrition is packed into a little bite. The seaweed contains iodine, magnesium, zinc and other important minerals that are a great supplement to a senior’s regular dietary plan.
15. Oatmeal with fruit topping
Surprisingly, oatmeal is a very satisfying snack. Senior adults grew up on warm breakfasts, cooked cereals and find a small bowl of oatmeal to be a great and filling snack. While it does require a little bit of preparation, a good substitute are the packets of instant oatmeal which only require the use of a kettle to boil water.