Senior Nutrition: Did you know that July 14th is National Mac and Cheese Day?
It’s a hugely popular dish and for good reason. Mac and cheese can be a delicious side dish or a main meal, because it’s all in how you make it. If you’re wanting to make a healthier version for your elderly family member, these tips can help to have good senior nutrition.
Choose the “Mac” Carefully
In most cases, the “mac” in the mac and cheese can be the most problematic piece. That’s often because enriched white pasta is used, which isn’t super high in nutritional value. There are solutions. Choosing vegetable-based noodles, whether those are things like pasta made from spinach or “zoodles” made from zucchini, this can be a fantastic base for mac and cheese. You can go one step further and do a keto version of mac and cheese, which typically uses cauliflower in place of macaroni.
Bump up the Protein
Protein is usually something your senior needs as much of as possible. If you can figure out how to increase the protein level of mac and cheese, that’s a double win. One way to do this is by choosing the right pasta. Chickpea pasta, for instance, has a higher protein value than regular enriched pasta does. You can also do things like add shredded chicken or tofu to make mac and cheese a full meal.
Add Some Veggies
If you went with veggie-based noodles or replace the mac with cauliflower, you’re already ahead of the game. But there are other veggies you can add to your senior’s mac and cheese, especially if you’re sticking with traditional noodles. Other vegetables that make great additions to mac and cheese include spinach, broccoli, tomatoes, and sweet potatoes.
Go Vegan with Mac and Cheese
Is your senior trying to limit dairy or is she trying out vegan recipes more often? Mac and cheese can do that, too. With ingredients like cashews, nutritional yeast, and nut milk, you can make a creamy version of macaroni and cheese that doesn’t contain dairy. Some of the recipes you can find might be so tasty that they’re not even obviously vegan. Try some to help in obtaining good senior nutrition.
If bumping up the nutritional value of your senior’s entire diet is your goal, it might be good for her to have some additional help. Senior care providers are able to cook healthy meals for your senior every day, ensuring that she’s getting plenty of the nutrients that she needs to both enjoy her food and maintain her health.