There is no getting around it – it is HOT here in Florida. Nutrition and hydration are an important focus for everyone, particularly for seniors. Fresh, healthy food can be expensive but good menu planning can make eating right affordable.

Not sure what food to prepare to help beat the heat? Keeping healthy snacks on hand, limiting access to junk food, and drinking plenty of water are easy answers to a stifling summer day. What if healthy eating habits aren’t the first choice for your aging parent? Let’s talk about some healthy options and how to help make them happen this summer (and all year long).

woman feeding dog

Make Nutrition Fun

We all know putting more fruits and veggies on our plates is a healthy way to get our vitamins and minerals. But who says it can’t be fun? Create a theme and serve up easy treats that are tasty and nutritious.

Nutritious Theme: Barbecue Basics


Deviled eggs

Iced tea

Cole slaw

There is an abundance of nutrients in each of these simple, yet delicious foods. Watermelon packs more lycopene than any other fresh fruit or veggie, including tomatoes. Deviled eggs (or even egg salad) provide a great source of protein as well as vitamins A, D, E, B6, and B12. Choose black, green, oolong, or white tea to enjoy a refreshing drink that reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, and cardiovascular disease. Sweeten with fresh herbs and fruit for a flavorful twist and natural sweetener.

Make Nutritious Snacks

The heat of summer can take its toll on the appetite. Too hot for a full meal? Create smaller portions of healthy favorites and snack away! From chips and dip to frozen treats, make healthy eating easy with sensibly sized snacks containing nutrients the body can use.

Snack Size Nutrition


Healthy dips

Frozen treats

Smaller portions can be just as healthy and less overwhelming to prepare. Popcorn is a great source of fiber – hold the extra salt and butter! – and contains more polyphenols than certain fruits and vegetables. Whether you choose hummus or guacamole, these dips deliver a host of benefits when paired with veggies for dunking.

Summertime is the perfect time for frozen treats. Get calcium and phosphorus from ice cream without too much concern for the fat content. Don’t shy away from a sweet treat every now and then, but if you prefer something fruit based – make your own fruit popsicles. Blend a favorite fruit with a splash of juice and freeze in popsicle molds (or paper cups with craft sticks). Enjoy delicious snack-sized nutrition that provides valuable nourishment and hydration at the same time!


senior nutrition with friends

Should an Older Person Eat Three Meals a Day?

Three meals a day that contain protein can help seniors maintain muscle strength. Later in life, the body breaks down muscle protein at a faster rate, so three meals can help the senior stay healthy longer. But it really isn’t about the number of meals per day as much as the total food eaten in a day.

Men usually need more calories, so an active older male may need 2,600 calories per day. A sedentary female, however, only needs about 1,600 calories per day. Generally speaking, individual daily requirements will vary with age, activity, and body size.

Changing Unhealthy Nutrition Habits in Aging Parents

Changing lifetime habits for any person can be difficult. If your aging parent has settled into a habit of eating high-calorie junk food instead of preparing healthier meals, you may need to slowly introduce healthier alternatives. Difficult conversations are more constructive when we remember to pick our battles wisely and open our minds to compromise.

Eating whatever is available is as much about habit as it is about convenience. If junk food isn’t there, they will probably just move on to the next easiest thing to eat. Consider offering assistance with grocery shopping or using a delivery service to reduce exposure to junk food options.

Difficult Conversations About Nutrition

Don’t scold

Make it a two-way conversation

Use humor

Express concern without dramatic language

Be prepared to be the only one concerned about poor eating habits. Unless a parent has received a stern warning from a doctor due to a health diagnosis, there may be no desire for change (and even after a stern warning!). Everyone has the right to make bad choices, but you may be able to make some progress with a thoughtful, long-term approach.

Nutrition Assistance with Private Duty Home Care

Seniors who receive assistance with meal planning and preparation have a better chance of remaining active and independent longer. A caregiver through a private duty homecare agency can encourage exercise and activity instead of unhealthy snacking habits that creep up due to a sedentary lifestyle. A shopping companion can also help guide better choices in groceries and reduce the availability of high-calorie, low-nutrition snacks in the home that completely derail nutritious meals.

How Private Duty Care Helps with Nutrition

Meal planning

Shopping assistance

Meal preparation


One of the most undervalued ingredients in meal planning and preparation is socialization. Talking about food, favorite meals, and reminiscing about family time around the dinner table is invaluable social time. Imagine how much more appetizing a mealtime would be with favorite foods being served and special memories being shared!

Companionship at mealtime makes every meal so much more engaging. Who wants to eat alone, looking at a television screen, and yelling at the latest contestant to miss a clue on Jeopardy? Eating with others activates beneficial neurochemicals and improves digestion while providing an opportunity for conversation, storytelling, and reconnection.

senior nutrition with caregiver

In summer and throughout the year, seniors face challenges with proper nutrition. When it comes to the three biggest risks to staying at home safely, nutrition is a cornerstone to avoiding falls and properly absorbing medication. A private duty caregiver can offer companionship and discreet oversight for the senior who is holding onto independence for as long as safely possible.

Their ability to provide meal plan solutions sprinkled with invaluable social time is one of the reasons Private Duty Homecare is a Resource We Love. Learn more about the benefits of private duty care in the Resources Section of our Blog.