It’s safe to say that everyone could stand to include a few more leafy greens in their daily diet. However, many people find it challenging to include foods like kale, spinach, chard, collard greens, romaine lettuce, arugula and lots of other leafy greens to everyday meals. Elderly adults especially need all the nutrients that leafy greens provide as they work hard to stay fit and healthy against common age-related illnesses and conditions.
Family caregivers and elder care assistants may need to get a little creative when thinking of ways to serve leafy greens to aging adults. The more delicious ways that leafy greens can be incorporated into a dish, the more vitamins, minerals and nutrients make their way into the body. Leafy greens are linked to a stronger immune system, lowered risk of cancer and a range of other health benefits.
Here are just a few ways that family caregivers and elder care aides can include leafy greens in everyday meals for an aging adult.
Add Leafy Greens to Soup
Leafy greens don’t have to be eaten raw to provide nutritional benefits. Just about any recipe can get a boost of nutrients by adding a handful of green. While spinach, arugula and kale are the obvious choices, family caregivers and elder care assistants shouldn’t forget some of the less common leafy greens like mustard greens, chard and watercress.
Include Leafy Greens in Smoothies
Leafy greens are an excellent addition to smoothies for the elderly. Spinach and kale blend well with strong-tasting fruits like strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and raspberries. Even a chocolate and banana smoothie can disguise the taste of spinach so the elderly adult won’t even know it is there.
Try Leafy Green Chips
Although they are relatively new on the market, caregivers can buy commercially prepared chips made from leafy green vegetables. Kale chips are the most common, and they provide a satisfying flavor and crunch. It’s easy for elder care aides to make kale chips, too. Just mix oil, lemon juice and salt, plus pieces of kale and spread onto a cookie tray. Bake for 30 minutes at 300 degrees and let cool completely.
Serve Leafy Greens Wilted
This often-overlooked cooking method to prepare leafy greens is certainly something for family caregivers and elder care aides to try. With just a little heat or steam leafy greens like arugula, spinach, mustard greens and more wilt, giving texture and flavor to dishes like pasta and stir fry.
Elderly adults are not going to ask for leafy greens as part of their meals, so it’s up to those who prepare their food to incorporate this healthy food into their diet. Family caregivers and senior care aides should rise to the challenge of including many leafy greens into meals throughout the week to keep the elderly adult healthy and happy.
If you or an aging senior are considering hiring elder care in Flower Mound, TX, please contact the caring staff at Ray of Sunshine today! (940) 442-5374.