As we age, our bodies begin showing the signs of wear and tear and we become far more vulnerable to physical and mental health conditions. Digestive health and oral health conditions are a couple of the first complications that come with ageing.
This means that some foods are no longer suitable for eating while others are preferred. As a result, good nutrition becomes a concern for seniors. While soft foods for the elderly are easier to chew and digest, they may be losing out on important food groups and nutrients.
Below are 5 soft snacks for the elderly (with instructions) that they will find easy to consume while ensuring they get the greatest nutritional value:
Soup has the benefit of cooking all the ingredients until they are soft while holding onto most of the nutritional value. There are also a variety of different soup options available. However, soups that contain plenty of vegetables as well as lots of protein are preferable to provide the highest nutritional value. Soup can be served as a meal or warmed up to be served as a snack.
Chicken or beef soup are both ideal options although chicken may be easier to consume:
- Place chicken pieces or beef cubes in a pot with 2 liters of chicken stock. It is preferable to remove the skin and fat from the chicken. Low sodium (salt) stock is also preferable. Bring to the boil. Do not remove the bones. They contain marrow, connective tissue and other nutrients that will be cooked into the broth.
- Chop up one onion, 3 leeks, 3 carrots, 3 medium-sized potatoes, 2 turnips and any other vegetables and add to the pot. Boil for a couple of hours or until the meat is soft and the vegetables mushy.
- Remove the bones. Allow to cool for 10 minutes.
- Spoon the soup into a blender and blend until a soft consistency has been reached. You can leave some small chunks depending on how well the senior being served the soup can chew and swallow the pieces. If you don’t want to blend, use ground chicken, beef or even turkey to make your soup. (source)
A healthy meat and vegetable soup contains all the food groups and just about all the vitamins, minerals, trace elements and other nutrients that a senior needs in one serving.
Buying meaty beef bones is a good option to place in the soup for seniors on a budget. These bones contain plenty of marrow packed full of iron, calcium and other important minerals.
2. Yogurt Ice-cream
Dairy is not a friend to the elderly and ice-cream made from milk should be avoided. Dairy products are notoriously difficult to digest and contribute to indigestion, acid reflux, constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. Yogurt is different and actually helps breakdown dairy and aids in digestion. Plus, nothing beats cool, soft ice-cream on a hot day.
How To Make Yogurt Ice-Cream With Fresh Fruit
- Peel and slice up your choice of fruit, place on a baking tray lined with foil and pop into the freezer for a few hours. Alternatively, buy frozen fruit.
- Place the frozen fruit and plain Greek yogurt into a heavy duty blender or food processor and blend until the fruit is completely pureed. You can also add dark chocolate chips for the chocoholics out there before blending. Dark chocolate is low in carbs and high in all the good stuff.
- You can serve the yogurt immediately for a softer version or place in the freezer for a more solid ice-cream that can be served later.
Yogurt provides for the calcium needs of the elderly without the negative side-effects of dairy. It also contains probiotics which are the good bacteria in the gut that are essential for healthy digestion.
3. Egg Salad
Egg salad is a great, quick snack idea for the elderly. It is really easy to make and there is very little chewing required to consume the nutritional treat.
Single Serving Instructions:
- Place two eggs in a saucepan with sufficient water to entirely cover the eggs. Bring to the boil. Turn the heat down and allow to simmer for 10 to 12 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and run the eggs in the saucepan under cold water for a minute. Allow to stand in the cold water for another 5 minutes or until cool enough to peel.
- Shell the eggs and then use a fork to mash them up. Place in a bowl with a tablespoon of mayonnaise and mix together.
- Season with celery salt and a pinch of black pepper. Other sodium-free salt options can also be used.
- Serve as is.
Eggs contain 7g grams of protein plus omega and healthy fat. However, the yolks are high in cholesterol. So for seniors with high cholesterol, it is recommended to remove some or all of the yolk when making an egg salad. Eggs also contain a good dose of both Vitamin A and the B-complex vitamins.
4. Apple Sauce And Oatmeal
Oatmeal is a classic breakfast dish but can actually be served any time of day or even as a desert option. However, the porridge simply isn’t as tasty without a little sweetness and can be very boring. Adding apple sauce improves the taste, adds variety and ups the nutritional value.
How To Make:
- Make your oatmeal porridge as per usual or by following the cooking instructions on the box. You can make it as watery or firm as you like.
- While the oatmeal cools, peel and slice a couple of apples and place in a blender. Blend until smooth and entirely pureed. Add a dash of cinnamon for extra flavor.
- Pour the apple sauce over the porridge for a sweet, healthy and natural treat.
Oats is a low GI (Glycemic Index) food which means it releases energy slowly and is therefore ideal to keep seniors going for longer. It is also high in fiber which is good for digestion. Apple sauce is naturally sweet because it is packed full of natural sugar for a quick and healthy energy boost. They are jam packed full of Vitamin C which is essential for a strong healthy immune system.
5. Crustless Quiche
This is the ultimate, snack that can double as a soft food meal for seniors too and can either be made in one big pie or in mini form. Quiche contains all the goodness of eggs plus more benefits from other ingredients that are added to the mix.
How To Make:
- Beat 5 eggs in a large mixing bowl and stir in 3 cups of shredded cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Saute chopped onions in a skillet with a little oil and then add two cups of shredded spinach. Remove from heat when the onions and the spinach are soft.
- Allow to cool for a minute or two and add to the egg mixture. Stir until ingredients are well blended.
- Pour the mixture into a greased pie dish or spoon into a muffin pan.
- Place into an oven pre-heated to 350 degrees F and bake until the eggs are no longer runny and the mixture has set. Keep in mind that individual quiches in a muffin tin will cook faster.
- Allow to cool. Slice and serve. Quiche can be refrigerated for a couple of days and is ideal to be eaten hot or cold.
Crustless quiche checks just about all the boxes for nutritional value. It has all the goodness of eggs, protein and calcium from the cheese plus iron and vitamins from the spinach. Not to mention the healthy goodness of the onions. Spinach is also a good source of fiber to help with digestion.
These soft snacks for elderly people were chosen because they are easy to make and provide lots of nutrition. While there are also store bought options for each of these, you’ll end up with more nutrition if you make it yourself!