Summer is a word that brings up visions of sunny days, family get-togethers, patio lunches, fresh produce, warm temperatures, and the enjoyment of having healthy snacks spaced throughout the day. While many seniors are not spending as much time outdoors in the humid weather, they still have a need to maintain a well-balanced diet that includes hydration and healthy treats enjoyed between main meals.
As we age, our nutritional need for Vitamins B and D increases. Healthy snacks can support those dietary requirements. Besides helping seniors get essential vitamins, summer treats are more than comfort food because healthy food and drink choices help to control blood sugar and energy levels throughout the day.
The abundance of fresh produce available during the summer months means they are now easily purchased at grocery stores and local farmers’ markets. Caregivers can help with the shopping needs of seniors who are not able to travel outside their homes due to health issues or physical disabilities. With all the fresh ingredients readily available in the kitchen, seniors and their caregivers can prepare a variety of snacks to have on hand for between-meal treats.
The following is a list of five summertime healthy treats intended to please the taste buds of most seniors. You alone know what fruits and vegetables you like the most, so substituting one produce item for another is a personal choice. Be sure to include liquid summer treats as they are essential for seniors to remain hydrated. With an endless list of possibilities, there is no one right way to making your favorite treats.
Five Healthy Summer Treats
1. Dark Chocolate and Fresh Fruit:
Rare is the person who does not enjoy a tongue pleasing piece of dark chocolate that is rich in healthy antioxidants. Dipping fresh fruit into melted dark chocolate is a guiltless delight. Bananas contain lots of potassium that helps to lower blood pressure. The Vitamin C in orange slices boosts a body’s immune system. Fresh berries are high in fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin C.
2. Greek Yogurt, Vegetables, and Fresh Fruit:
Plain Greek yogurt has no fiber but contains a healthy dose of good carbohydrates and protein. Adding berries, peach slices, banana slices, or diced pineapple gives the yogurt a pleasing taste while providing essential fiber, antioxidants, and Vitamin C.
Dip celery stalks or carrots in yogurt for a crunchy nutritional snack. Celery contains calcium, potassium, Vitamins A and B, beta carotene, and eye-supporting lutein. Carrots contain good fiber, beta carotene, and eye-supporting lutein.
3. Fruit Smoothies:
Mix a few ice cubes with several of your favorite fruits in a blender for a naturally sweet-tasting fruit smoothie. The fruits contain health-enhancing antioxidants, essential vitamins and minerals, good carbohydrates, potassium, and proteins. The liquid value of a fruit smoothie is its ability to keep the body hydrated. If there is enough fresh fruit available, smoothies can be made in quart sizes to yield several servings so that the unused liquid can be stored in the refrigerator to enjoy as a liquid snack on the following day.
4. Frozen Fruit Popsicles:
The health benefits of making frozen fruit treats are the same as those provided in fruit smoothies. But, rather than drinking the fruit snack, the fruit blend is placed in ice-cube trays with popsicle sticks and then put in the freezer to harden. When eaten one at a time, the frozen fruit treat makes a tasty and refreshing afternoon snack for an entire week or as a treat to share with friends and family.
5. Homemade Decaffeinated Iced Teas:
Water is essential for all body functions. Health care providers have been advocating that adults need to drink eight glasses of water daily. While that may seem like a lot of fluid, it is easily manageable when those eight glasses of liquid are spaced out throughout the day. One way to make the water more flavorful is to make a quart or half-gallon of decaffeinated iced tea that can be kept cold in the refrigerator. Grocery stores have dozens of decaffeinated fruit flavors to select from that will please the taste buds of everyone.
With the bounty of fresh summer produce available during the coming months, seniors can enjoy healthy snacks that are affordable, easy to make, and dietary-friendly.