Did you eat breakfast today? How about your family? If not, you are one of the 40% of Canadians who do NOT eat breakfast everyday. That also means that you are more likely to develop heart disease and diabetes, less likely to be using all of your cognitive abilities, and you probably snack a lot more during the day. It may sound cliché, but it is true: breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even more so for seniors. So much focus is put on making sure that children eat breakfast that we often forget about the importance of breakfast for seniors during elder care.
Like the rest of us, many seniors will skip breakfast purely out of habit. They are actually skipping an opportunity to maintain, and even improve, their health. The time between dinner and breakfast is the longest stretch between meals; which means that by the time we wake up, our body desperately needs that calorie intake for energy. In the mornings, our bodies are running on fumes. Breakfast provides the shot of energy we need to get started. Older adults have a harder time getting their necessary calorie intake as it is. We eat less as we get older. Skipping a meal will make it even more difficult to make up for those necessary calories throughout the day. The best way to make sure your loved one is getting their calorie intake is by ensuring they are having a good breakfast.
Malnourishment is another factor to consider. Studies have shown that up to 65% of adults over the age of 65 suffer from some form of malnourishment. Besides the constant state of discomfort, malnourishment can also lead to heart disease, diabetes, and a weakened mental state. Eating the right breakfast in the morning will lay the bricks for good nutrition for the rest of the day. Breakfast also helps to protect our heart, prevent diabetes, and keep weight down by discouraging snacking during the day.
Here are a few senior-friendly foods that are ideal for breakfast:
Grains – This can come in the form of cereal or bread. It should be rich in fibre as it is an important staple of a senior’s diet. Fibre can help to prevent heart disease and cancer.
Fruit – Soft fruit is easy to chew and is a good source of vitamins. It can make a nice side dish as opposed to a full meal. Encourage fruit during snacking periods as it is better than packaged food. It is also a source of fibre.
Oatmeal – Loaded with nutrients and fibre, oatmeal is an excellent choice for breakfast. It is cheap and easy to make and contains the calories needed for the day. Oatmeal is adaptable and can have other nutrients (fruit, fibre, milk) easily added to it in order to ramp up the nutritional value.
Eggs, bacon, and potatoes are also breakfast favourites. But the high levels of animal fat and cholesterol can be damaging for those at risk of heart disease and diabetes. They don’t need to be cut out completely, but keep the intake minimal.
The best way to ensure your loved one is getting all of their nutritional needs is through a proper care plan by a good home healthcare agency. iCare Home Health Services provides premier senior care in Burlington, Mississauga, Oakville, Milton and the surrounding areas. Our Nurse at Home, Personal Support at Home, and Care Package at Home services will help provide the proper nutritional care to your loved one. Call us today and find out more about out elder care services.