These elderly nutrition snacks can help tip the balance – in favor of you or your loved one’s dietary needs, in an enjoyable way – using highly healthy foods and snacks.
Many seniors experience loss of appetite or change in eating habits due to a variety of issues. Sometimes they are no longer able to cook much. Nutritious snacks to just grab can come in very handy.
About elderly nutrition snacks…
Choosing snacks will depend on health issues (including ability to chew well), doctor recommendations, dietary restrictions, allergies, etc.
It’s typical for elderly to pick at meals or snack in small amounts throughout the day. Unfortunately, sometimes this snacking is very unhealthy. We all know much of the snack food is lacking in proper nutrition. The sugar, bad fats and carbs are, in fact, detrimental to elderly people’s sensitive health and lead to all sorts of elderly nutrition problems.
Since many enjoyable senior activities revolve around food and snacking, let’s make them healthy! In all cases, use as much low-salt or no-salt as possible in your elderly nutrition snacks, as well as reduced or no sugar. Also choose healthy oils. If you like easy cooking, we have some fabulous and very easy healthy snack recipes to make!
Snack List – to have on hand:
Easy to grab and munch! It’s always best to get natural foods, minimally processed, especially from the health food section or store. Here are some favorites:
Bag of cut pre-veggies — Such as broccoli, cauliflower (although they get brown faster) and baby carrots. (Both broccoli and carrots are high antioxidant foods). These already-cut and bagged veggies are ideal to stock and grab. I have them around all the time.
Bag of organic baby spinach leaves — Besides putting these into sandwiches, tortilla roll-ups and the like, I eat them straight out of the bag like others eat chips! I love them. Spinach is also a high antioxidant food and is recommended for good vision, especially preventing macular degeneration. Bags of greens make ideal elderly nutrition snacks
Bag of organic spring greens mix — Another green leafy snack – which is recommended for good vision.
Snap pea pods – These raw pea pods come in bags and are naturally a little sweet. And crispy. Delicious!
Mini baby carrots – The smallest mini-size carrots are quite thin and are the easiest to bite and chew.
Red peppers – These need to be washed and cut; especially high in Vitamins C and A. Good for the eyes. Peppers of all colors make great elderly nutrition snacks
Bag of pre-shredded red cabbage — The US Department of Agriculture says the red pigment (anthocyanins) helps fight cancer. Use in tortilla roll-ups, sandwiches, general cooking. I also eat this right out of the bag!
Cherry tomatoes — Easy to pop into your mouth and eat. No cutting necessary. High in antioxidants. Dad and I grow them in pots, and pick.
Celery sticks — High in vitamin C, good for blood pressure, cholesterol, and preventing cancer. We also like to add a little spreadable cheese.
Avocado — Needs to be cut or sliced, also found in guacamole dips. High in vitamins, minerals and lutein, which is recommended to prevent vision problems and macular degeneration. Avos can be used in all sorts of elderly nutrition snacks
Olives — Choose kalamata (Greek) or nicoise (French). They are naturally processed and more flavorful. Other standard black and green olives (Mission olives and Spanish olives) that you see on the grocery shelves may be cured with lye.
Variety of fresh, seasonal fruit – Always best to get organic without pesticides if possible. You can also clean with a special spray fruit and vegetable wash. See fruits mentioned above in the antioxidant list for your elderly nutrition snacks.
Hummus — This is a flavorful Mediterranean chickpea dip also often made with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and a little salt. Get a natural kind. Also great as a spread.
Dried apples — And other dried fruit. We get them from the health food store without preservatives, and low- or no-sugar.
Dried cranberries — Make sure they are as low in sugar as possible. They’re also fun to toss in cereals, or even in rice or other cooked grains.
Natural juices — We get these in the natural food section. They contain natural sugars and are 100% natural fruit juice. Most other commercial juices add a lot of extra sugar and empty calories.
Raw nuts — (Some elderly, of course find nuts difficult to eat). Unprocessed nuts maintain their nutrients. Many are high in antioxidants. The best nuts are almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamias, pine nuts, pistachios. Nuts can be included in many elderly nutrition snacks — use your imagination!
Nut butters — Get unprocessed, fresh nut butters that maintain their nutrients. These can be used in all kinds of elderly nutrition snacks. Besides peanut butter, try almond butter or cashew butter (my favorite). Spread on whole grain crackers, or make a sandwich with whole grain bread. Nut butters are a great alternative if elderly have a hard time chewing nuts.
Natural pumpkin seeds — Again, for some, seeds can be difficult. Raw seeds are very high in vitamins and minerals. See our easy and delicious recipe below for a baked pumpkin seed snack.
Unsweetened, all-fruit jam — Made with pure fruit, these provide nutrients and are naturally sweet and contain no added sugar. You can put it in yogurt or over natural ice cream too.
Natural granola, without added sugar — Fun to just put in a bowl and snack on.
Granola bars — A wonderful brand is Kashi. These are natural granola bars and are low in fat. They have a good balance of health carbs, protein and sugars, and other nutrients.
Herring in wine sauce — Herring has a lot of nutrients such as Omega 3 fatty acids, as found in other ocean fish. This is one of Dad’s favorite snacks, on a whole-grain cracker.
Canned tuna and/or salmon — Again, lots of healthy nutrients. Since it is pre-cooked, it can be used right out of the can on crackers or toast, or in a quick salad.
Pieces of small, cooked pre-cut chicken
Natural salami slices — Minimally processed and without nitrates. Get it in the natural foods section. Salami, of course, does contain salt.
Whole grain crackers — You’ll get lots of ideas from this page for using crackers in elderly nutrition snacks. Try to find low-fat, reduced salt.
Whole grain tortilla chips — Baked is always best. And serve with a little salsa, of course.
Popcorn — low salt, and low- or no-butter. I get my microwavable popcorn from the health food store. It is totally plain, so I can dress it up as I want with just enough butter and salt to suit my taste. Also try parmesan cheese or a little freshly ground pepper. Or both!
Trail mix — low or no sugar types are ideal.
Brown rice cakes — Brown rice is much healthier than white rice because it is unprocessed and contains more nutrients.
Low-fat string cheese sticks — You can find these in low-fat, low-salt versiona.
Yoghurt — Plain, unsweetened, which you can then dress up with berries or natural jam, or a little natural granola on top. Greek yoghurt is also a favorite, and more natural.
Spreadable cheese — You can get natural cheeses in small tubs. Again, most types do have some salt. Great to put on vegetables!
Rice Dream — Instead of ice cream. Non-dairy, lactose-free. These are all-natural frozen desserts that are derived from rice instead of milk or cream. They have the texture of ice cream, are just a delicious, and come in many flavors. They also come in frozen bars on a stick with a natural chocolate coating, or frozen pies. My favorite is called a Mocha Pie. Find them in the health food section or store.
Natural popsicles — Make them at home by pouring natural juice with no added sugar, into a popsicle form, add a stick, and freeze. You can also add in a piece of fruit.
Healthy oils — Your elderly nutrition snacks should be ideally made with olive oil, peanut oil, sunflower or safflower oil, flaxseed oil, soybean oil – these do not have the dreaded trans fats. If you see packaging that says “hydrogenated,” run the other way! These processed oils are only good for the processing process in the factory, and shelf life – Not your life! Avoid coconut oil, palm oil and related palm products. If you eat dairy, eat low-fat products (soy products are better for you, such as soy milk).
Antioxidants — As you know, these are molecules and natural compounds found in foods, that stop free radicals dead in their tracks. Free radicals damage our cells, which can result in a whole range of diseases. Antioxidants help slow aging, prevent heart disease, stroke, cancer, and reduce blood pressure, to name a few.
Here are some top antioxidant foods to include in elderly nutrition snacks: berries (blueberries, raspberries, strawberries, blackberries); broccoli, tomatoes, red grapes (including red wine and natural grape juice); garlic, spinach; green tea (studies also indicate black teas); carrots; soy; whole grains.
Natural sugars — Found in fruits and vegetables – use these when snacking as much as possible. White sugar has been called “white death” and should be used at a very minimum in elderly nutrition snacks. It can act as a free radical in our bodies and cause our organs to work overtime to process it, until they finally develop problems and can’t function, even shut down. Honey and fructose are also just other forms of sugar and should be used sparingly. (But of course once in awhile one needs to splurge a bit).
Fruits — Fruit is a very powerful ally and can get the body to practically vacuum itself out. Sort of. Not to mention that all-important age defying help. And then there’s memory. (You can get lots of this nutrition through healthy snacking with fruit).
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