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Healthy Food Shopping for Older Adults

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Paying close attention to serving size, calories, and total fat are all important details, but adopting good nutrition begins in the grocery store. The following guidelines can help caregivers to ensure that seniors are eating nutrient-rich foods.

Take note of the key components on food labels, such as calories, sodium, sugars, and fats. There are websites and apps to facilitate the process, offering nutritional information about the food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy) and offering healthy eating tips. A site that is a great tool for this is ChooseMyPlate.gov (insert hyperlink into blog).

Smart eating involves planning which ingredients you will need for recipes and knowing their nutritional value, the price and availability. It is suggested that seniors or those caring for them make a detailed list of foods and beverages to buy that will last for several days. The outer ring of the grocery store typically stocks the more healthy food options, such as fresh produce, unsalted nuts, and the dairy section for low-fat dairy products.

To make food shopping more convenient, there are a number of mobile phone apps available to create shopping lists, find coupons, scan barcodes, enter meal plans, save recipes and/or retrieve meal suggestions. If you are a caregiver, you can set this up for your loved one on their phone or set it up on your phone if you will be most of the planning and shopping.

Something to be considered when planning food shopping is accessibility. Older adults may prefer to use a motorized cart to get around the grocery store or ask an employee for assistance if they are visiting the store on their own. If fatigue sets in, there are typically chairs near the store’s pharmacy.

If grocery shopping is not a feasible option for an elderly loved one, than perhaps arrange for a friend, family member or neighbor to go, if you are unable to go on their behalf. Certain grocery stores also offer online ordering and home delivery services. Some will charge a small fee for seniors, while others will deliver to seniors for free. Many elderly adults rely on home health care services, as in the type we offer here at Moorings Park, which provide a helping hand with meal planning, grocery shopping, cooking and much more. Planning ahead is the best way to ensure the loved elderly members of our community are getting the nutrition they need and deserve.