- Instead of fresh fruit, try fruit juices or canned fruits such as peaches or pears,
- Instead of raw vegetables, try vegetable juices or cooked and mashed vegetables.
- Instead of a chunk of meat, try ground meat, or protein alternatives such as eggs, milk, cheese, and yogurt.
- Instead of sliced bread, try cooked cereals, rice, and bread pudding.
If certain foods give you gas, try these alternatives:
- Low-fat cream soups, pudding, yogurt, and cheese can take the place of milk.
- Green beans, carrots, and potatoes can take the place of broccoli and cabbage.
- Fruit juices and canned fruits can take the place of fresh fruit.
If you can't shop or cook for yourself, you can make other arrangements. Some groceries will deliver food at no charge; others charge a fee. A family member, friend, or church or synagogue group may be able to help with shopping. A senior citizen program in your area may deliver meals. You can use the microwave to cook already-prepared meals. You might consider moving to a place where meals are prepared for you--either with a family member or a senior citizens' center. Eating with other people also is a good way to encourage your appetite; eating alone can be lonely.
If money is a problem, here are some suggestions from the FDA:
- Buy low-cost foods such as dried beans and peas, rice, and pasta.
- Use coupons to save money on food.
- Look for sales and store-brand foods, which often cost less.
- Check with your church or synagogue to see if it offers free or low-cost meals.
- Call a local senior citizen program about meal programs. You may be able to eat there or have meals brought to your home.
- Find out if there is a Meals-on-Wheels program near you.
- Get food stamps. The food stamp office is listed under your county government in the phone book.
No matter what your age, it's important to treat food carefully to avoid foodborne illness. As you age, your sense of taste or smell may not always be able to tell you when a food is no longer fit to eat--when milk has soured or meat has spoiled. Your senses may be affected by medication that you take or by illness.
Your stomach also produces less acid. Stomach acid is a natural defense against bacteria you might have eaten. Your immune system also may not be as strong as it once was, making it more difficult to fight bacteria.
Here are food safety tips from the FDA:
- Refrigerate or freeze all perishable food. Your refrigerator should be kept at 40 degrees and your freezer at 0 degrees.
- Never thaw foods at room temperature. Instead, thaw them in the refrigerator, in cold water, or in the microwave, and cook them immediately.
- Wash your hands with soapy water before preparing food. Wash your hands, utensils, cutting boards, and other work surfaces after they come in contact with raw meat and poultry.
- Never leave perishable food out of the refrigerator for more than two hours. If the temperature in the room is over 90 degrees, the food shouldn't be left out for more than one hour.
Thoroughly cook raw meat, poultry, and fish.