Visiting Angels Chesterfield-Richmond, VA Blog

Four Tips to Help Seniors Increase Their Fruit and Vegetable Intake

Although it’s not true that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away,” there are still many benefits to consuming , and other fruits and vegetables. Fresh fruits and vegetables offer seniors the most nutritional benefits. They are often rich in fiber, potassium, and other essential vitamins and minerals. Consuming raw fruits and vegetables helps seniors reduce their blood pressure, lowers their risk for developing heart disease, delays the onset of some eye diseases, and aids in digestion.

The US Department of Agriculture recommends that seniors consume 1-2 cups of fruits and 1-3 cups of vegetables, depending on their activity level. Despite the many benefits to consuming fruits and vegetables, the fact of the matter is that most seniors are missing the mark on consumption. Contributing factors to a declined intake include widowhood, living alone, gender, accessibility, and health conditions. It’s especially important for seniors to look at their diet and to make an effort to consume fresh fruits and vegetables, which is one reason why June is National Fruit and Vegetable Month. Here are four tips to help seniors increase their fruit and vegetable intake.

Eat According to Season
Take advantage of the summer season by consuming fruits and vegetables that are currently in season. When you eat what’s in season, not only will you save money on your grocery bill, but you’ll consume fruits and vegetables when they are at their most natural, flavorful state. You’ll want to eat more peaches and strawberries because they look and taste appealing. You’ll find the best prices on exotic fruits and vegetables and might find you have a new favorite. Learn what’s in season, then consume more fruits and vegetables that are at their peak. You can still enjoy your other favorites, while giving your taste buds a treat.

Top Foods with Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
It can be daunting for some seniors to prepare a meal that includes sides. Instead of creating more work, incorporate fruits and vegetables right on top of your meal. Top your oatmeal or yogurt with a scoop of blueberries. Relive your childhood by eating a banana-peanut butter sandwich. Add a few fruits and vegetables to your salad, such as apples, pears, peppers, or tomatoes. Indulge in dessert guilt-free by eating fresh fruit with ice cream. It’s easy to consume more fruits and vegetables when you think of them as a topping, instead of a side-dish.

Eat Off a White Plate or Bowl
A simple way to consume more fruits and vegetables is to select a white plate or bowl instead of a colored, patterned, or tinted dish. When you choose to eat off a white plate or bowl, you’re allowing your food the opportunity to pop against a contrasting color. In doing so, those fresh fruits and vegetables that you piled on your plate will look more appetizing. They’ll taste more delicious and leave you feeling more satisfied, all because you chose a plate that made the food itself pop.

Mix It Up with a Refreshing Smoothie
Finally, if you find that raw fruits and vegetables are difficult to chew, blend them into a refreshing smoothie. Consider purchasing a blender that can handle thicker skins of fruits and vegetables so that you still consume the most nutritious parts. Smoothies are also a great solution to fruits and vegetables that are overripe. They still contain essential nutrients but are more pleasant to consume blended. For a quick smoothie, blend together a handful of strawberries, a half-banana, a handful of spinach leaves, and a scoop of ice cubes. Mix in half a cup of yogurt for a creamier texture.

Visiting Angels Chesterfield-Richmond understands the challenges seniors face regarding consuming nutritious meals. Many seniors are unable to visit their local grocery stores or farmers’ markets due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, leaving them in a rut of eating what’s familiar. However, with Visiting Angles, seniors can explore seasonal produce with the assistance provided by our caregivers. We are proud to offer meal planning and preparation, so that seniors can have well-balanced, nutritious meals to consume throughout the week. We can assist seniors with placing online grocery delivery orders and encourage them to branch out by trying something new. Let us be a part of the solution as you work towards consuming more fruits and vegetables. Getting started is easy. Contact us by calling 804-423-6500.
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