Breakfast is considered to be the most important meal of the day. This is especially true for seniors because of the special dietary needs that they need to have at the start of the day.
But then what is considered to be the best breakfast for seniors?
The best breakfast for seniors is one that meets most of their dietary needs as well as suited to their pallet and easy to digest. Breakfast for seniors should contain folic acid, EFAs and 3 main vitamins (B-12, C and D) among other nutrients. A breakfast meal containing these key nutrients will go a long way in meeting the nutritional needs of seniors keeping them energized the rest of the day.
In this article, we are going to look at what breakfast foods are considered to be the best for seniors.
Why Seniors Nutritional Needs Are an Issue
Seniors’ nutritional needs little extra attention. Here’s why:
- Because as they age, their bodies become more susceptible to malnutrition.
- Because bones and muscle tissues weaken thus creating a greater demand from our bodies nutrients to help maintain and regenerate them.
- Their immune system becomes low requiring a higher level of boost.
- Their taste buds change. Foods taste a whole lot different to them than it did in their younger years. In most cases they find that food tastes bland. This is a major reason why you constantly need to prepare for them a variety of foods and in different ways. Food presentation is equally important in encouraging the elderly to eat.
- Due to the loss of teeth or weak jaws, they may lose their ability to chew properly.
Let’s look at some of the best breakfast foods for seniors.
Eggs are great for the elderly for a number of reasons. Firstly, they provide the needed vitamin B12 as well as protein. They are easy to prepare, eat and digest. You can serve them fried, poached, scrambled or boiled.
Egg sandwiches and French toasts are other good ways of preparing them. When making French toast, make sure to use butter, olive oil, seed oil or a nut oil. Stay away from vegetable oil.
Plain Greek yoghurt is another power breakfast food for seniors. It is packed with nutrients including protein. It also contains probiotic bacteria which aid in digestion. Greek yoghurt can be served plain, with fruit, nuts or in oatmeal.
If it’s too plain tasting, you can also sweeten it with some honey. It’s a great alternative to regular yoghurt which often contains processed sugar.
Oatmeal is an easy to prepare meal that Is packed with fibre. It is soft and easy to digest which is perfect for elders. Oatmeal can also be mixed with a number of toppings including yoghurt, chia seeds, fresh fruit and nuts.
Muesli is a great breakfast meal as it contains a number of essential nutrients. Because it is a mixture of different cereals, it is packed with fibre and the right amounts of carbohydrates, fats and protein.
The dried fruit also gives an added layer of nutritional benefits by providing the necessary vitamin and natural sugar. You can buy it pre-made or prepare your own at home. When you do it home, you are assured that no processed sugars are in it by picking the ingredients yourself.
Muesli can be prepared using raw whole grains or toasted. For the elderly, it is best to have them roasted. Not only is it better tasting as roasting brings out the flavour, it is also good for the elderly. They need to stay away from raw foods. We will talk more on this later on in the article.
The traditional breakfast is not the only way to enjoy this important meal. A great way to make a nutrient-packed meal for the elderly which is easy to prepare, consume and digest is to make a breakfast smoothie.
Smoothies have become a really popular way to take in nutritious meals. They are quick and easy to prepare and even easier to consume. You can get the benefit of different foods all in one drink. Check out some amazing smoothies recipes here that you can start with.
This is especially good for elders because they develop conditions that prevent them from eating and digesting food in a normal way. Many senior citizens suffer from digestive issues and taking their food as a smoothie means that their intestines work less digesting and assimilating their food.
What Foods Should Seniors Avoid for Breakfast?
At all costs seniors should avoid undercooked food. Yes, this is not a particular food but it’s worth mentioning.
Older people are more prone to food poisoning. Their bodies also don’t handle it as well as younger ones. As you age, your immune system weakens and is no longer able to deal with food poisoning in an efficient manner.
This means that the symptoms can be more severe and in some cases life threatening. Make sure that the food is well done. They also need to stay away from caffeine, grapefruit, sugary drinks and commercial juices.
The elderly should also stay away from some soft cheeses like mould ripened cheeses, blue cheeses and unpasteurised soft cheeses.
Raw foods such as unpasteurised milk, raw shellfish, sushi and bean sprouts should be avoided as well.
Breakfast is a key meal for the elderly and special attention needs to be paid to how it is prepared and what goes into it. It needs to cater to the unique needs of the elderly while also recognising that their bodies are not what they used to be.
Besides providing the necessary nutrients to fuel their bodies and maintain their health, breakfast also needs to be easily eaten and digested. You will have less hassle convincing a senior to eat when you serve them a meal that is enjoyable and easy to eat.
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