As you play the aging game you may find that certain foods you enjoyed eating are off limits. There are healthy substitutes for foods that seniors avoid and safe alternatives to most forbidden foods.
These may be foods that:
- Are difficult to chew
- Present a challenge to digest
- Affect the heart rate or blood pressure
- Have interactions with medications
There are also some foods that are easy to eat but are inherently dangerous. These are foods that can bring about illness or food poisoning because they carry parasites, bacteria, or toxins.
The plus side is, that as people grow, their preferred tastes change, and foods that they maybe never liked when they were younger, are now appetizing. That means that it is often possible to find a healthy substitute for foods that you need to avoid.
Let’s look at a few foods that should be off the senior healthy-eating list and alternative solutions.
Who Should Avoid these Food Categories?
- People over the age of 65 years
- People with a weak immune system
- Anyone with a chronic health condition
- A person who is not sure, until they speak to their doctor
Foods for Health Aware Seniors to Avoid
Let’s look at types of food in categories of problems that could crop up.
Foods that could cause food poisoning may have listeria or other type of bacteria:
Mold-ripened soft cheese, chilled pate, raw and soft-boiled eggs, cold cuts, raw or rare meat or fowl, raw shellfish, sushi, unpasteurized milk and beansprouts.
If you eat these types of foods, make sure they have been through a process that will kill all possible bacteria. The food should be fully cooked, pasteurized, and in the case of certain items frozen for 4 days to kill any bacteria. Canned food is heat treated as part of the canning procedure, so it is safe, if the can is not dented or bulging.
Food that affect affects anyone taking a medication:
Grapefruit – this otherwise healthful grapefruit causes some medications to be absorbed in greater or less amounts. That makes eating grapefruit or drinking its juice, or a mixture containing its juice, a hazard for a senior person.
Get the benefits of grapefruit from a different member of the citrus family. Vitamin C and potassium can be obtained from oranges or limes or other citrus fruit.
Speak to your doctor regarding other food and medicine interactions.
Food that is hard, crunchy or chewy:
Raw vegetables, crunchy breakfast cereals, well-toasted bread, chewy candies, chewy meat.
Raw vegetables are delicious and very nutritious, they can be served pureed, juiced (watch out for high sugar content in carrot juice) or chopped very finely. Vegetables can be cooked until soft, left whole or pureed. Canned vegetables are an option although they are poor when it comes to nutrition.
Yogurt, oatmeal, fruit smoothies, lightly toasted bread or bread that is egg-coated and baked, are good breakfast options,
Seniors who have a sweet tooth and want to avoid tooth decay and high GI foods can enjoy baked apple chips, frozen grapes, chopped dried apricots, baked apples or apple compote.
Fresh baked or steamed fish is delicious and a filling and nutritious alternative to meat.
Foods that affect the heart rate or blood pressure:
Alcohol, caffeine in coffee, tea and other drinks, foods that are high in sodium – canned foods are often a problem for that reason.
Begin liking water as a drink. Water is best for the body, and if you are in the right mood, you can get high on water too. Alcohol is hazardous for seniors. A senior with a great liking for alcohol should speak to a doctor or consider a program to help change how they feel about alcohol.
Slowly reduce the caffeine. You can switch to decaffeinated drinks, coffee substitutes, and herbal teas.
Look for no-salt added foods and low-sodium salt. Begin tasting the real flavor of foods when no salt is added.
This article is provided for informative purposes. For practical application of the ideas suggested herein, please speak to your healthcare professional.
Finding healthy substitutes for foods that seniors avoid can easier if a person looks at it positively. Instead of feeling left out when others eat delicious-looking items, a health-conscious senoir should visualize their body in a happier, healthier state as a result of their choices.
Focus on healthy substitutes for foods that seniors avoid and take on a new motto: “If you can’t eat what you like, learn to like what you can eat!”