Many older adults have regular get togethers with friends at restaurants where they chat and catch up on each other’s lives. And, that’s great! It’s important for seniors to remain socially connected. However, if your parent needs to watch what they eat, dining out and sticking to a healthy diet can be tough. Below are some ideas to help older adults make healthy choices at restaurants.
Plan the Day Accordingly
On the day that your parent will be dining out, plan for other meals to be lighter. If your parent’s elder care provider makes their meals, they can adjust the menu for days when your parent will eat out. For example, if your parent plans to meet friends for lunch, the elder care provider can prepare a salad, soup, or other smaller meal for dinner.
Ask for Substitutions
Most restaurants will allow people to make substitutions for menu items. So, if your parent plans to order a sandwich that comes with French fries, they may be able to request a salad with dressing on the side instead. They can also make requests for special dietary needs, such as asking that food be prepared without added salt.
Avoid Fatty Foods
When your parent peruses the menu, remind them to look for healthy food choices. In general, they should try to avoid foods that have words like fried, au gratin, crispy, buttered, stuffed, and creamed in the description. Look for items that are grilled, steamed, baked, poached, or roasted instead.
Choose Lean Meats
If your parent plans to order meat, lean meats are the way to go. Advise them to order chicken, seafood, or other lean meat. They can ask the chef to remove the skin from chicken or trim the fat from meat to make it healthier.
Look for Items Marked Healthy
Many restaurants note healthy menu items right on the menu. Ask your parent to choose from those items. If they are not marked, ask the server if they can recommend something healthy.
Get a Doggy Bag
Most restaurants serve oversized portions. To save some calories and enjoy the meal again on another day, your parent could divide the food on the plate into two meals. A server can provide them with a take home box to bring the rest home.
If your parent enjoys eating out, they should continue to do so! An elder care provider can help your parent to keep meeting friends for meals out by assisting them in getting dressed and groomed to go. Elder care providers can also drive your parent to the restaurant and bring them home again. They can even walk them into the restaurant and help them to get safely seated at a table.
If you or an aging loved one are considering elder care in Ralston, NE, please contact the caring staff at Seniors Helping Seniors® Greater Omaha at (402) 215-0308 today.