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As a culture we are more aware than ever of the importance of the foods we eat and the impact they make on physical and mental health, wellbeing, and longevity. One of the most important things that people have come to understand in recent years is the potential danger of eating too many animal products, particularly too much red meat. Switching over to a vegetarian or vegan diet is an increasingly popular move for those wanting to improve their health and live stronger, more active lives. Helping your aging parents embrace their decision to live this type of lifestyle and integrating it effectively into your elderly care plan may be a challenge, but with the proper education and a few strategies you can make sure your parents get all of the nutrition they need while honoring their wishes to eat a vegetarian or vegan diet. The first thing you should understand when planning to incorporate vegetarian or veganism into your care efforts for your seniors is the actual difference between these two dietary approaches. Vegetarianism refers to a diet that does not include animal flesh-based foods including fish, poultry, pork, and beef, lard, and foods made with meat, such as broths. Most vegetarians still eat both dairy products and eggs, though an increasing number do not eat dairy products. Veganism, on the other hand, refers to a diet that does not include any animal products, including no flesh-based foods, no dairy products, no eggs, and no animal by-products. The strictest vegans do not eat honey. Whether your parents have just eliminated meat, poultry, pork, and fish, or have cut out animal products completely, use these tips to help them stay healthy and satisfied: PROTEIN:

The biggest concern for vegetarians and vegans at any age is protein. Many people are extremely concerned about getting enough protein, but the reality is that most Americans get far more protein than they need. The average adult needs 50 grams of protein each day. For those who eat meat, a single 8-ounce serving of red meat contains 65 grams of protein. Vegetarians can get the protein they need through eggs and dairy products, while both vegetarians and vegans can source their protein through legumes, beans, nuts, soy, and quinoa, an amazing grain that contains a complete protein. COMBINE:

Getting the right proteins and amino acids on a vegetarian diet requires special food combining. Quinoa offers a complete protein, but if you want to get the same balance from other plant sources, you need to combine a protein and a carbohydrate, such as beans and rice or legumes and pasta. VARIETY:

Even vegetarians still have to think about variety in order to get the nutrition they need. You cannot just give your elderly loved ones basic salads as meals. They still need a widely varied diet including fats, all types of fruits and vegetables, proteins, and carbs in order to give their bodies everything they need on a daily basis. If you have an elderly loved one and are considering home care services contact Tender Hands Home Health Care today.

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