Serving size. Calories. Total fat. March is National Nutrition Month® and this year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward,” a reminder that every bite counts toward a balanced diet. Adopting good nutrition often starts in the grocery store aisle. The following can help family caregivers ensure elderly loved ones shop for nutrient-rich foods:
- Understand the basics of nutrition. The website ChooseMyPlate.gov offers nutritional information about the food groups (fruits, vegetables, grains, proteins and dairy) and healthy eating pointers for older adults. Encourage seniors to pay attention to the key components of food labels: calories, sodium, sugars and fats.
- Plan first, buy second. Smart food choices involve planning which ingredients you’ll need for recipes and knowing their nutritional value, price and availability. Suggest seniors make a detailed list of foods and beverages to buy for several days at a time. The outer ring of the grocery store typically stocks more nutritional food selections such as fresh produce, unsalted nuts and low-fat dairy products.
- Think accessibility. For getting around the grocery store smoothly, elders may want to rely on a motorized cart or ask an employee for assistance with getting items off shelves. If fatigue sets in while shopping, seniors can rest in a chair at the store’s pharmacy, customer service or entryway. To help eliminate impulse purchases, encourage seniors to hold off grocery shopping when they are tired, hungry or feel rushed.
- Consider using grocery apps. To make food shopping easier, a number of cellphone and mobile device grocery apps are available to create shopping lists, find coupons and scan barcodes. Several apps integrate menu planning, recipes and meal suggestions. Do a little research to make sure the app is user-friendly to match the senior’s tech proficiency.
- Arrange for assistance. If grocery shopping with an aging loved one is not possible, perhaps a friend, neighbor or volunteer from a senior center or place of worship can help. Certain chain grocers and supermarkets offer online ordering and home delivery services. Some stores offer free delivery of groceries for seniors, and others charge a nominal fee. Many older adults benefit from professional at-home senior care services like Right at Home, which can provide a helping hand with meal planning, grocery shopping and cooking — helping older adults put their best fork forward for every snack and meal.
What grocery shopping tips do you suggest for seniors?