There is no denying that we are in the dog days of summer now. As heat waves continue to work their way across the country, it is vital to make sure that we are eating healthy and nutritious foods. This is especially true for seniors at the independent living facilities in Michigan.
For your next cookout, barbecue, or family function, we have a few suggestions we’d like to make as far as the menu goes. Take the time to serve one of these incredibly healthy foods, and your senior loved ones (as well as the rest of the guests!) are sure to thank you.
We’ll kick this list off with a classic: watermelon. There is hardly anything more refreshing on a scorching summer day than this delicious, watery fruit. Finding versatile ways to serve watermelon should be no problem. Cut it up and serve at a picnic or toss it into a sweet fruit salad – either way, you can’t go wrong. It’s not just tasty, however! Watermelon is actually loaded with some health benefits, too.
Did you know that watermelon is packed with the antioxidant lycopene? Lycopene is known to help prevent heart disease as well as some types of cancers. Not only that, but it is chalk full of Vitamins C and A, potassium, and amino acids. Plus, watermelon has a high water content (no surprise there!) so it is a great food choice for helping to stay hydrated during the hottest days of the year.
Are you planning on heading to the farmer’s market this weekend? If so, you should keep an eye out for any vendors selling fresh, hand-picked berries. One of the best superfoods you can buy are actually blueberries! These small, violet berries pack more of a punch than meets the eye. They are super dense in antioxidants as well as other nutrients. Studies have shown that they are great for reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease as well as bolstering brain function.
Another great choice would be raspberries. Low in calories but high in nutrients, this fruit would make the perfect addition to your morning oatmeal or served on top of your favorite summer dessert. They are also high in Vitamin C, which helps to strengthen the immune system. If you’re a resident at one of the independent living facilities in Michigan, definitely consider adding berries to your diet.
3.) Sunflower Seeds and Nuts
“Take me out to the ball game…” And when you go, don’t forget to pack the sunflower seeds and nuts! Whether you are enjoying a grandkid’s little league game or you are headed to your local MLB stadium, there is no denying this summer staple. Almonds, peanuts, and sunflower seeds are all excellent sources of protein, healthy fats, and vitamins. By the flavored kind or eat them plain, just be sure to enjoy!
4.) Iced Tea
When the weather gets this hot, you need to make sure you are getting enough fluids. This is especially important for seniors. As we age, our thirst diminishes, and we might not notice right away that we are dehydrated. Sun sickness and heat stroke can happen in a matter of mere minutes, so it’s absolutely vital to stay on top of this.
Other than water, a great option is iced tea. Tea has been utilized for centuries and enjoyed not just for its flavor, but also for its health benefits as well. In fact, scientists have linked regular tea consumption to a lowered risk of developing dementia or other cognitive issues. Plus, it can even help to strengthen bones, lower the risk of diabetes, and promote oral health. The next time you’re drinking a glass of iced tea, be sure to include a splash of lemon juice for a touch of Vitamin C, too.
Those who love to garden know that the tomato harvest is currently going on. Many are looking forward to picking beautiful, ripe red tomatoes from the vine to include in their fresh garden salads or to slice up and put on top of a beefy cheeseburger. Or, if you have a lot left over, you can always mix it up into a delicious salsa that can be canned and used all year round.
However you like to enjoy your tomatoes, though, know that you are eating something that is incredibly healthy. Tomatoes, much like watermelon, are dense in lycopene that can help prevent cancers, especially prostate cancer. They are also an excellent source of salicylates which is known to reduce inflammation and help fight heart disease. It is no wonder why tomatoes are such a popular summer food option among the seniors living at independent living facilities in Michigan!
Cabbage is yet another food that can be very versatile, as every family typically has their own way of making coleslaw. Whip up the perfect side dish to go with brats or make it a little tangy to go on top of fish tacos. Cabbage is another great example of an incredible summer superfood.
Rich in Vitamins C and K, this cruciferous vegetable helps with inflammation as well as bolstering your immune system. When fermented, like in sauerkraut, it can also house ‘good bacteria’ which aids in proper digestion and overall gut health.
There are many wonderful summer staples out there waiting for you to try! We understand that the other weather tends to deplete appetites, but try opting for one of these great foods this summer. Your senior loved one is sure to thank you for serving them something so delicious and nutritious!
Here at The Parkdale, our residents receive three chef prepared meals each and every day. We understand how important having the proper diet and nutrition is, especially for seniors. It is no secret that sometimes the food at senior living communities get a bad reputation or is stigmatized, but we’d like to change that.
To see for yourself what we have to offer, contact us today to schedule a tour! Or, you are always welcome to view our online gallery. We can’t wait to see you around The Parkdale!