How can I get Mom to eat better quality food?

1 answer | Last updated: Oct 13, 2016
Droptop asked...

I have endlessly tried telling my mother that she needs good foods (protein, etc.) and not breads and sweets to live on. She doesn't care a whole lot for meats. I told her that was protein that she needs. I would like a list of simple foods that she can put together herself for snacks or meals. She is so afraid that she might gain a pound. I have been telling her the weight gain is from not eating the right foods.


Expert Answers

Beth Reardon, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., is Caring.com senior food and nutrition editor and the director of integrative nutrition at Duke Integrative Medicine. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet. As a practitioner of integrative nutrition, Reardon takes a holistic approach to wellness, recognizing that the foundation for optimal health and healing begins with a health-promoting diet.

I can appreciate your concern regarding your mother's eating habits. Encouraging seniors to eat healthy foods is a challenge, especially when unhealthy options are both accessible and inexpensive. Processed foods, high in refined flours and sugars are linked to increase levels of inflammation and many of the chronic illnesses our seniors suffer from as they age including cardiovascular disease, diabetes and obesity.
Your mother would actually feel much better by improving her diet through the addition of healthy proteins, fruits and vegetables. As far as non meat protein ideas, eggs are a great source of protein and quite easy to prepare in addition to low prep plant proteins such as nuts, seed, canned beans and canned fish. Below you will find a list of some of my favorite "Go To" mini meals that your mother can put together without too much effort. They include healthy protein,fruit and vegetable ideas:

peanut butter/apple slices pre cut veggies and low fat dressing Trail mix 23 roasted almonds (1 oz) and tart cherries (160 calories; 14 gms fat) Yogurt with fruit Protein or Snack Bar (15 gms sugar/2.5 gms fiber/5+ gms protein) 1 cup whole grain cereal (Kashi Go Lean Crunch) 1 oz string cheese (low fat) with whole grain pretzels or crackers Soy crisps and nut butter Edamame Mini cans of tuna/salmon with whole grain pita chips, crackers etc. Single serve hummus and peanut butter/whole wheat pita chips or cut up vegetables Single serve popcorn bags/nuts Roasted soy nuts/dried cherries Almond butter and sliced pears V-8 juice: low sodium Natural blueberry apple sauce Soups to go (bean or veggie) Hearty instant oatmeal: Quaker Weight Control Banana/peanut butter/whole wheat tortilla Hard boiled eggs Salsa and whole wheat chips Fat free refried beans and whole grain dippers Chocolate soy milk: sold in individual cartons Peanut butter and graham crackers Low fat pudding Avocado slices/turkey/crackers

Good Luck! I hope this helps.

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