Nutrition is an essential part of staying healthy both mentally and physically. Making sure we get enough of the right foods can be challenging. In essence, the right foods help fuel our mind. Though you may find thousands of fad diets and unique ways to prepare food, there are simpler ways to provide nutritional value to each meal.
Individuals with disabilities may need extra attention to the meals they eat on a daily basis. If you are assisting an adult with special needs during meal preparation or eating, we are here to provide you with a few tips to consider when preparing meals or feeding individuals with special needs.
Oftentimes, processed foods are inexpensive and taste delicious. Do not let the tastiness of these foods fool you. These foods do not always contain the nutritional value we need in our daily diets. Instead, processed foods often contain harmful ingredients like preservatives, saturated fats, high fructose corn syrup and more. Studies have also shown that consuming highly processed foods increases our risk of developing coronary heart, cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases. Avoiding processed foods can help improve an adult with special needs’ overall physical and mental well being.
It will come as no surprise that added sugars provide no nutritional value to our bodies whatsoever. If you are preparing meals or feeding individuals with disabilities, consider cutting back on the sugary drinks. Instead of choosing a soda or other sugary drink, begin incorporating water, certain teas and other low-sugar beverages into daily diets. Skipping the soda and cutting back on other sugary drinks can help prevent a variety of health issues like heart problems, Type 2 diabetes and more.
There are a multitude of benefits you can get from simply adding in different types of nutrients to your everyday diet. One of the best ways to help an individual with disabilities stay healthy and get the nutrients they need is to research and understand what benefits come from a variety of foods. Alongside incorporating fruits and vegetables into your diet, you should also be including other vitamins and minerals as well. Vitamin C helps boost your immune system and helps prevent/heal your body from infections. Potassium is a mineral that can help reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of strokes, kidney stones and more.
It’s always a good idea to switch things up throughout the week. All of us would get tired of eating the same fruits and vegetables every single day, so consider incorporating a variety of fruits and vegetables into your loved one’s meal plan. If your loved one with disabilities enjoys eating fruit, you can try switching things up by blending their favorite fruits into a smoothie. The next day, they may enjoy fruit on top of yogurt. Vegetables can be used in a variety of ways as well, including stir fry, dipped in hummus and more. By getting creative with meal preparation, your loved one will be able to continue eating the foods they love in a more exciting and delicious way.
One of the best ways to make sure you are incorporating all the necessary nutrients into meals is to prepare menus and daily meals earlier rather than later. When we are hungry, we tend to go for meals that are quick and easy to prepare. Therefore, preparing your meals beforehand can make mealtime so much easier. With a menu or meal already prepared, you can easily whip dinner up for your loved one. Use your free time on the weekends to meal prep, shop for groceries, write down a weekly menu, and prepare fresh produce for the week ahead. Meal prepping can also help save you time and money in the long run.
If you are helping prepare meals or feed an individual with disabilities, it’s vital to understand the importance behind a well-balanced diet. With the right preparation and understanding of nutrients, you can provide your loved ones with meals full of the vitamins and minerals they need.
At Baddour Center, we are passionate about providing our residents and their families with any and all information they need to live successful and happy lives. That said, this topic and some of these points remain particularly challenging for us, as we work to best address both the collective and individual needs of the persons we serve. Our latest strategic planning identified a more effective overall approach to nutrition and health as a top priority.
If you have any questions about how to care for your disabled loved one, feel free to contact our team today.