To stay healthy and strong, seniors need to follow a diet rich in protein. However, the way they get their protein is important. For example, the fat content in fried chicken may cancel out the benefits of the protein content. Studies suggest senior men should get at least 60 grams and senior women should get 45 grams of protein a day. Here are a few healthy, protein-rich foods that are great for seniors.
Low-Fat Milk and Other Dairy Products
Many dairy products have high protein content. For example, an 8-ounce glass of low-fat milk contains about 8 grams of protein. Consuming low-fat yogurt is another great way for seniors to increase their protein intake. A single serving of yogurt can contain up to 12 grams of protein. Seniors can also use low-fat dry milk to add protein to dishes like soups or casseroles. Dairy products have the added benefit of calcium, which enhances bone density. For seniors who don’t have lactose intolerance, low-fat dairy products are a simple, healthy way to add protein to the diet.
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In addition to being an excellent source of protein, many fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to boost cardiovascular function, minimize inflammation, enhance joint health, and promote cognitive function. Omega-3 fatty acids are plentiful in tuna, salmon, and herring.
Chicken is high in protein and low in calories, making it a great choice for seniors. In 100 grams of chicken, there are approximately 31 grams of protein. Chicken also has an ideal protein to fat ratio. Approximately 80 percent of the calories in chicken come from protein, and only 20 percent are comprised of fat. Seniors should stick to lean cuts of chicken, as they have the lowest fat content.
Many seniors find it difficult to prepare nutritious, protein-rich meals. If your aging loved one needs occasional help with bathing, grooming, cooking, or other basic household tasks, or if you need time to attend to important personal matters, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of live-in and respite care. Tucson seniors can maintain their independence while living at home with the help of our reliable respite caregivers.
Quinoa, Chia, and Soy
Animal proteins contain essential amino acids, which are necessary for muscles. While protein sources like cheese and yogurt provide some essential amino acids, they don’t contain all of them. Quinoa, chia, and soy contain all essential amino acids the muscles need to stay strong and healthy, and these versatile foods can be added to nearly any meal. For instance, you can add soy to a stir-fry or serve quinoa for breakfast.
Beans are a great protein source for seniors with limited chewing abilities. Kidney beans, red beans, and black beans are loaded with protein, and they can be added to soups or served as a side dish.
For seniors who have a difficult time getting enough protein through diet alone, protein shakes are an excellent supplement. Simply combine protein powder and some low-fat milk to prepare a delicious protein intake for your loved one. Protein shakes are a great breakfast option for seniors who don’t like eating solid foods in the morning.
Older adults may need help eating nutritious foods and making other healthy lifestyle choices. If your loved one needs help maintaining healthy habits and accomplishing daily tasks, a Tucson caregiver from Home Care Assistance can help. Our caregivers are expertly trained to provide mental and social stimulation, assist with exercise, prepare nutritious meals, and much more. To hire a professionally trained caregiver for your aging loved one, call us at (520) 276-6555 today.