Augustine “Gus” Farias
Special to the Valley News
Comfort foods are heartwarming meals that everyone would want to eat occasionally. However, a misconception that they’re typically high in calories makes them unfit for seniors who rather require foods high in micronutrients. The truth is that there are many yummy, yet healthy comfort foods for seniors.
Five yummy comfort yet healthy foods for seniors
As an introduction, seniors can swap the high-calorie comfort foods with healthy alternatives. Here are five delicious heart-healthy foods a home-health aide for seniors can provide:
1. Baked Potato
Seniors can transform this traditional comfort food into a healthy, filling, and hearty meal by substituting the white potato with sweet potato and topping it with Greek yogurt. Sweet potatoes are a good source of carbs, dietary fibers, beta-carotene (an active antioxidant), and vitamins A & C.
One medium-sized sweet potato offers the senior sufficient energy essential for healthy eye and skin. Greek yogurt maximizes muscle development and has probiotic bacteria, which promotes digestive health.
2. A Bowl of Oatmeal
A 1/2-cup of oatmeal serves as an excellent breakfast. Oats are low in calories, rich in dietary fibers and proteins, and an excellent source of energy. They lower cholesterol, and blood sugar levels protect skin against irritation and reduce constipation.
To make it more nutritious and yummy, top it with 1/4 cup of blueberries. Blueberries are known to protect the brain from oxidative stress and boost immunity.
3. Broccoli-Cheese Chowder
Seniors can take a 1-cup serving of cooked potatoes, smooth sour cream, and a healthy broccoli. The meal is rich in vitamins A, B6, C, and K, folic acid, fat, and carbs.
It’s an ideal source of energy, helps in muscle building and bone mass formation, and contains a significant amount of potassium, calcium, and sodium. Broccoli is known to enhance detoxification and is believed to reduce tissue inflammations that result from seniors’ weak immune system.
4. Chocolate Chip Cookies
Seniors can enjoy an ounce (about 100 calories) of dark chocolate chip cookies a day. Dark chocolate is a strong antioxidant that helps lower blood pressure, enhances blood flow, and ultimately supports heart health. In addition, it’s beneficial for diabetics.
Adding quinoa can make these cookies more nutritious because it has a delightful nutty flavor, slightly crunchy, and contains a balanced set of amino acids that are needed for tissue growth and repair. Besides, it contains a significant amount of phosphorous and magnesium, which are necessary for energy metabolism.
5. Healthy Meatloaf
To reduce the amount of calories, seniors should swap the traditional mix of pork and beef with lean ground turkey. Use oatmeal instead of white bread to increase fiber and reduce the amount of fat in the dish.
A 4-ounce meatloaf serving has sufficient proteins, iron, phosphorous, and Vitamin B-12 for an older adult. The meal is essential for energy, formation of red blood cells, and healthy bones.
A healthy and balanced diet is linked to a longer life. Senior healthy eaters are said to have a lower mortality rate compared to those who eat foods high in calories. Moreover, healthy eating can reduce risks of age-related diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, arthritis, and type 2 diabetes.
Farias, co-founder of Sonoma Home Health, has over 20 years in the senior care industry from home health, assisted living and hospice care.