If you don’t know by now, a nutritious diet is one of the most important factors in aging well. As we grow older, our specific nutritional needs change. While many work hard to get the proper nutrients in three square meals, unhealthy snacking is one of the most pervasive diet problems. Luckily, fall months produce plenty of nutrient-dense, freshly harvested healthy foods that make for delicious, healthy snacks for seniors. With minor preparation and cooking experience, anyone can make all kinds of on-the-go healthy fall snacks. These snack ideas for seniors are sure to satisfy your cravings.
Sweet Potato Chips
Many people today call sweet potatoes a “superfood” because they’re a nutrient-dense food. Sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, vitamins C and B, iron and phosphorus, all of which are immunity-boosting vitamins that have been shown to increase the body’s white blood cell count. Sweet potatoes are also high in fiber, something every aging person needs plenty of. They also contain magnesium and zinc, which are essential vitamins that help combat arthritis and other joint issues. Plus, they’re a good source of potassium, which helps older adults maintain a healthy blood pressure and heart function. And as you probably know, sweet potatoes are synonymous with autumn.
With a few simple steps, anyone can turn this superfood into healthy fall snacks.
- First, preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Then wash and rinse a couple of sweet potatoes before slicing them as thinly as possible, ideally 1/8 inch thick. It’s best to use a mandoline or a very sharp knife, but exercise caution.
- Toss the slices with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and salt.
- Finally, bake the slices for 25-35 minutes, flipping over halfway through. Let the finished chips rest for about 10 minutes before eating.
Kale is another superfood that’s perfect for picking in the fall. Kale contains beta carotene and antioxidants like lutein and zeaxanthin, both of which have mood-boosting properties. Kale is also dense with protein, potassium, vitamins A and C, fiber, iron and calcium. It’s no wonder it’s considered a superfood.
Contrary to popular belief, kale can be one of the most delicious healthy fall themed snacks. Like sweet potato chips, anyone can make kale chips at home.
- First, preheat the oven to 350°F and line a non-insulated cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Carefully snip the leaves from the stems and cut into chip-sized pieces.
- Wash and thoroughly dry the kale chip leaves.
- Toss with olive oil and a little bit of salt.
- Bake for 10 to 15 minutes or until the edges begin to brown. Watch them carefully to ensure the edges don’t burn.
- Let rest for 5 to 10 minutes and enjoy!
Pumpkin and Squash
Pumpkins and squash of any variety are in-season throughout the fall months. Of course, they’re known as delicious holiday side dishes, but t with some inspiration they can offer excellent healthy snack ideas for seniors.
Baked Pumpkin Chips
- Preheat the oven to 220°F and line the baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Remove the skin and cut a pumpkin into large slices that will fit a mandoline slicer, or slice into thin chip-sized pieces.
- Coat sliced pumpkin with a touch of olive oil and salt.
- Line pumpkin slices on the baking sheet and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the slices begin to curl and turn light brown.
- Turn off the oven and let the chips cool in the oven until it completely cools, removing excess moisture.
- Eat immediately so the chips don’t become soft and chewy.
Butternut Squash Chips
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Cut off the round, seed-containing part of the squash and reserve it. Cut off the stem end of the squash’s neck. Slice off the thick skin.
- Slice the squash as thinly as possible, almost translucent. You can use a mandoline or a vegetable peeler.
- Toss the squash slices with olive oil.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Arrange the butternut squash slices on the baking sheets in a single layer, making sure none of the slices overlap.
- Bake for 20 to 35 minutes until the chips are curling up, but still bright orange and not at all browned.
- Let the slices cool off at room temperature for 10 minutes to let them crisp.
- Sprinkle with salt and serve immediately.
Baked Pumpkin and Squash Seeds
- Save all the seeds from your pumpkin and squash chips for an easy healthy fall snack.
- Preheat the oven to 250°F.
- Coat 1/2 cup of cleaned seeds with 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon seasoning of your choice. Just barely coat the seeds; otherwise, they’ll be greasy. Adjust the seasoning to your taste buds.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Spread out prepared seeds n an even layer on the lined aking sheet.
- Bake for about 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes until they’re light brown and toasted. Cooking time will vary from batch to batch, because pumpkins can have very differently sized seeds.
- When nicely browned, remove the pan from the oven and let it ol on a rack. Let the pumpkin seeds cool all the way down before eating.
Fall Fruit Medley
There’s never a bad time to replace unhealthy snacks with nutrient-dense fruits, regardless of age or season. However, there are certain fruits that flourish in the fall. And since all these fall fruits are delectable with minimal preparation and no cooking or baking, why not throw them all together in one sensational snack? All these fruits are best picked and eaten in the fall months, and all have substantial health benefits:
If you want an extra flavor boost, this simple dressing will punch up your medley:
- 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 3 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1½ teaspoons poppy seed
Apples and Almond Butter
Snack ideas for seniors don’t have to be complicated. In fact, the simpler they are, the easier they are to choose over unhealthy snacks. There’s nothing easier than slicing up an apple and dipping it in natural, healthy almond butter. Despite its high protein content, traditional peanut butter is full of processed sugars. Almond butter is a fantastic peanut butter alternative, because it’s one of those nutrient-dense foods. It’s low in carbs and calories but high in protein, fiber and healthy fats. And it’s especially beneficial for older adults. Almond butter is low in bad cholesterol yet high in good cholesterol, which is vital for cardiovascular health later in life. It’s also been proven to have cognitive benefits due to high contents of vitamin E, potassium and healthy fats. In a 2016 study, researchers tested almond butter on lab rats, resulting in better memory and lower rates of cognitive dysfunction and neurodegenerative diseases. For easy and healthy fall snacks, look no further than a ripe apple, or any of your favorite fruits, and almond butter.
Stay Healthy at The Buckingham
Sticking to a healthy diet with all the necessary nutrition is easy at The Buckingham. Our culinary team uses the freshest ingredients to make the tastiest, healthiest meals possible. Healthy snacks for seniors are always in abundance here, so you don’t have to worry about ruining your good eating habits. With nutritious dining paired with our whole-body approach to wellness, you can rest easy here knowing your nutrition is always taken care of for you. If you want to learn more, contact us through our website or call us anytime at 713-979-3090.