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How to Create a Weekly Menu for a Senior Citizen

by eHow Contributor

How to Create a Weekly Menu for a Senior Citizen. Senior citizens who have healthy diets can extend their lifespan and improve their quality of life. By planning a weekly menu that's packed with nutritious foods and avoiding high-calorie, high-fat foods, seniors can enjoy their later years as much, if not more, than their youths.

Select foods low in cholesterol and steer clear of foods high in saturated fat and trans fats. Trans fats are often a part of processed foods, including cookies and cakes. Instead, plan a menu rich in protein, vegetables and whole grains.

Plan breakfasts to include at least 1 serving each of whole grains, fruit and dairy items. A small whole-wheat bran muffin, a medium banana and 1 cup of yogurt satisfies a serving each of 3 of the 5 major food groups.

Incorporate 1 to 2 servings of protein and vegetables, along with whole grains, fruit and dairy into the lunch menu for the senior citizen. Some good choices include a boneless, skinless chicken breast, a small salad of romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes and cucumbers, and a whole wheat roll. Serve the senior an 8 ounce glass of calcium-rich milk as his beverage.

Include whole grain pasta or brown rice, lean meat, fish, or poultry and multi-hued vegetables, such as broccoli and sweet potatoes, in the senior citizen's dinners for the week.

Serve a variety of fresh and seasonal fruit as the senior citizen's desserts. Consider mixing a serving of yogurt with different fruit each night of the week for a delicious and healthy treat.

Offer the senior citizen frequent drinks of water, milk and juice throughout the day. With age, some seniors lose the sense of thirst, and it's essential that they stay hydrated to maintain energy and alertness and to avoid constipation.

Encourage the senior citizen to engage in some form of physical activity each day to complement the healthy weekly menu you've planned for him.

Tips

  • USDA guidelines suggest that seniors eat 5 to 10 ounces of whole grains, 2 to 3.5 cups of vegetables, 1.5 to 2.5 cups of fruit, 3 cups of milk or the equivalent in yogurt and cheese, and 5 to 7 ounces of fish, chicken or lean meat each day.
  • A woman over 50 with a low level of activity should consume 1,600 calories a day, and a woman who is active should consume 2,000 to 2,500 calories per day. A man over 50 with a low activity level should aim for 2,000 calories a day, and if he's active, he should consume 2,400 to 2,800 calories a day.
  • Choose light or low-fat options whenever possible. The senior citizen will still receive all the nutrients of the food, but not all the harmful fat.
  • Additional healthy breakfast choices include heart-healthy oatmeal, high-fiber cereal and low-fat milk and an egg white omelet.
  • Substitute 1 egg, a half ounce of nuts, or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter in place of one ounce of meat, if the senior citizen for whom you're planning the menu finds meat difficult to chew or digest.