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Nutrition for Senior Citizens

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According to Jack Lalanne, “Exercise is king. Nutrition is the queen. Put them together and you’ve got a kingdom”. I do agree with this statement – to the point that one cannot suffice without the other. The more we learn about nutrition, the more we understand the role it plays in ageing well. Eating a well-balanced diet means consuming meals rich in fruits, vegetables, nuts, protein and legumes. The other side of this diet means avoiding processed foods and sugary treats. The question comes to, what importance does a nutritious snack hold in the life of a senior citizen. Here are a few reasons:

  • Social interaction is an important part of the daily life of a senior citizen. Discussing nutritious snack ideas is a good way to get them active and energized
  • Nutrition is the need of the hour – and a snack made the right way, can be a nutritious fill for the senior citizens in our homes (stops them from grabbing an unhealthy jar of Farsan!)
  • Prepping their snack is a good way to get a senior citizen into an active mode. Some senior citizens miss working in offices or handling daily tasks. Fixing quick snacks or finger foods is a nice way to make them feel busy again.

Sometimes, senior citizens become like children as they age. They get bored of the usual food items and look for something different – perhaps tastier and more colourful. There are numerous ways to stock snacks for them on a daily basis – innovative, yet packed with nutrition. BUT these depend purely on the discretion of the dietary concerns of the senior citizens and in accordance with advice from their GP or nutritionist.

Here are a few ideas that are not very difficult to prepare for the “older children” in your home:

Single Serve Yogurt Parfaits
2 scoops of yoghurt (home-made dahi) with a combination of berries and Gouri’s Goodies Breakfast Cereals (Choose between the Rice Power Cereal Mix or the Magic Millet and Apricot Cereal Mix for crunchy goodness!) are a perfect power pick up snacks. Soft on the teeth and subtle on the palate, these are the perfect go-to while watching television or reading the paper in the afternoon. Steer the “older children” towards the more nutritious option rather than a second serving of a heavy lunch or some unhealthy snack. For a bigger boost, all you have to do is crumble a Gouri’s Goodies Energy Bites of your choice!

Oatmeal Muffins

Easy to carry and even easier to consume (no plates, spoons or trays required!), muffins are the ideal store at home snack for any time of the day. Give them a healthier punch by making them using oats. Fibrous, nutritious and full of deliciousness! All you need is:

  • 5 cups Maida or Whole Wheat
  • 1 Cup quick or old-fashioned oats (uncooked)
  • 1/3rd cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup skim milk (or almond/soy milk depending on your choice)
  • 1/4th cup oil
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Heat oven to 400°F. Line twelve medium muffin cups with paper baking cups or spray bottoms only with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, sugar and baking powder; mix well. In a small bowl, combine milk, oil, egg and vanilla; blend well. Add to dry ingredients all at once; stir just until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not overmix.)

Fill muffin cups almost full. Sprinkle with reserved streusel, patting gently. Bake 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool muffins in pan on wire rack 5 minutes. Remove from pan. Serve warm.

Quick twist: Replace the regular uncooked oats with Gouri’s Goodies Mighty Oats Cereal Mix for a nutritious punch to your recipe. With more than just oats, this cereal mix will give a nutrient-boost to your muffins and keep senior citizens on their feet much more actively!

Soft Fruit Salad Mix
Fruits offer a fresh taste and nutritious punch to daily diets. During evenings, it is difficult to keep away from unhealthy snacking – be it chips, greasy fried snacks or merely a jar of farsan. A quick fruit salad bowl is the perfect substitute to these and makes for a fresh snack.

For a senior citizen, opt for fruits like soft pears, bananas, watermelon, oranges (sweet limes – mosambi – for those that cannot take very sour taste), melons and seasonal fruits like mangoes, cherries, plums, peaches and strawberries.

Instead of adding additional sugar to the mixture, fold in a handful or two of your choice of Cereal Mix from Gouri’s Goodies Cereal Mixes. We recommend opting for the Rice Power Cereal Mix – this is because rice Krispies are light and crunchy in taste, while still retaining the fluffiness inside. With a host of seed mixes, raisins and palm jaggery, this option offers wholesome nutrition with a natural sweetness.

Smoothies! Soft to consume and the quickest to make!
A convenient way to boost both the quantity and quality of an evening or morning snack, a smoothie is a perfect way to curb hunger pangs and keep your “older children” at home satiated. Choose from a mixture of fruits and seeds and you have a power-packed snack on your hands in minutes. Top them with cocoa powder, or a crumbled Energy Bar of your choice from Gouri’s Goodies extensive collection. We would recommend the Belgian Dark Chocolate Bar for some feel-good chocolate sweetness and wholesome crunchiness to your soft smoothies.
Psst! These can be prepped for later in the day too!

Ice Cream Jars – Make your own!
Who doesn’t like ice-cream? We all have a box or two of it kept in our freezers for a late-night binge or an afternoon cool-down! Let the “older children” of the house enjoy their fill of ice-cream with a nutritious addition to home-made fresh ice-creams. Chocolate is the best and easiest type of ice-cream to fix up for a hot morning! Choose an early night for easy-going prep time for this!

All you need is:

  • 1 & 1/4th cup of milk (the choice is yours – almond, skimmed, coconut or soy)
  • 1 cup non-fat Greek yoghurt
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon xanthan gum (or gelatin)
  • 1/4th teaspoon salt

The night before you plan on making your ice cream, place the bowl of an electric ice cream maker in the freezer. Freeze for at least 12-16 hours.

Add all of the ingredients to a large bowl. Beat with an electric mixer for 1 minute or until very frothy.

Working quickly, remove the ice cream maker bowl from the freezer. Place it on the ice cream maker, attach the paddle and the lid, and turn it on. With the ice cream maker turning, pour in the milk mixture. Let the ice cream maker churn for 15-20 minutes or until the ice cream is frozen and has reached your desired consistency. For the best texture and taste, serve immediately.

Quick Twist: With the crunchiness that a Gouri’s Goodies Energy bites offers, you can crumble 4-5 mini bites (assorted or the flavour of your choice) and churn them into the mixture before freezing. These give an extra punch to your home-made ice cream (better than chocolate chips or frozen fruit!) with added nutrition.

I certainly recommend the above recipes to get you started with stocking nutritious mini-meals for the “older children” of your houses. Ice-cream with home-made tricks was my favourite out of the list – especially with summer on our heads! Life is not merely to be alive, but to be well – we must always remember this. Grateful for my family during these tough times, and I hope you are staying safe and strong – wherever you are!

Note – All recipes given are from a general point of view. Adjustments and changes must be made in accordance with dietary concerns, allergies, preventions and advice from your general practitioner or family doctor.

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