Ways To Get Your Elderly Parents to Eat More Protein With Their Meals

Increasing the amount of protein in your diet requires you to have a plan. Here we will outline 20 practical tips for how you can add more protein to your day.

The first rule to follow is to be aware of your protein needs. Then make a list of high protein foods you love to eat. At every meal and snack try to swap out a starch or carbohydrate for a higher protein food.

High Protein

High Protein Breakfast Ideas

Breakfast tends to be the meal where most people lack protein.

  1. Add nuts and seeds to cereal. If you enjoy a bowl of cold or hot cereal for breakfast, try decreasing the cereal and replacing with nuts or seeds like:
    • Pumpkin
    • Sunflower
    • Hemp
    • Flax
  2. Start with an egg. Eggs are a neat little protein package. Each egg holds 6 grams of protein. There are so many ways to eat eggs. For a quick no-cook breakfast, try hard boiling six eggs at a time in advance. Keep in the fridge and grab one for a quick addition to breakfast.
  3. Make a breakfast bowl. Instead of cereal try a Greek yogurt breakfast bowl. 8 ounces of yogurt could give you 17-20 grams of protein. Throw in a handful of nuts and seeds for even more protein-packed energy.
  4. Load up on nut butters. Keeping a jar (or two) of your favorite nut butter on hand makes adding protein easy. Try a spoonful of peanut, almond or cashew butter. Be careful to avoid nut butters with added sugars. Eat nut butters:
    • On whole grain toast
    • Mixed in your oatmeal
    • In a shake
    • On a sweet potato with cinnamon
  5. Protein shakes. Protein shakes make a quick and easy protein breakfast. You can use a plant-based or animal-sourced form of protein. Some protein powders will even mix right into your coffee or tea. You want to make sure you use a high-quality protein powder that does not contain:
    • Sugar
    • Salt
    • Additives
High Protein Salad Recipe

High Protein Lunch Ideas

  1. Add Protein to Salads. Salads are a great way to load up on protein and veggies. Add things to create a superfood salad recipe that keeps you full. Try:
    • Nuts
    • Seeds
    • Leftover meat
    • Cottage cheese
    • Eggs
  2. Substitute meat for bread. Instead of going for a sandwich, make a meat roll-up. To make a quick lunch-to-go use a couple slices of thin turkey breast wrapped around:
    • Cucumber
    • Cheese
    • Sprouts
    • Lettuce
  3. Top with an egg. Eggs can also be added to your lunch as egg salad. Or just a hardboiled egg along with your regular meal.
  4. Add beans. Plant-based protein is a quick easy meal. Try a can of rinsed chickpeas mixed with quinoa, fresh parsley and tomato. Add in some feta cheese for extra “yum” and protein.
  5. High protein soup. Soup or pureed food is great for seniors who struggle with tough textures. You can slow cook stews and soups to make meat or beans softer and easier to digest.
High Protein Salmon

High Protein Dinner Ideas

Most North Americans consume most of their protein at dinner. Protein does not need to be evenly spaced throughout the day. If you like protein later in the day, take advantage of this.

A serving size for a meat protein is typically the size of your palm.

  1. Have a steak. Beef is a high protein food. If you choose a lean cut of meat, you can increase your portion and protein content.
  2. Grill chicken breast. Chicken is another meat that you can eat more of if you choose a lean cut. A grilled chicken breast is quick, simple and tasty to add to a plate of vegetables or high protein grains.
  3. Add some cheese. Cheese adds flavor and is a nice start or finish to a meal. Try a cup of cottage cheese, a few slices of hard cheese or sprinkling cheese onto your soup as a finishing touch!
  4. Try fish. Fish provides extra options for variety. There are many different types of fish that you can add to your dinner. An average serving of tuna or salmon will give you about 25 grams of protein. Canned and frozen fish are also great choices.
  5. Meatless Monday. Add in a plant-based meal such as a chickpea falafel, tofu added to a stir-fry, or a hearty five bean soup or chili. Beans tend to have about 15 grams of protein per cup but are low in fat and high in fiber. Try going meat free once a week to mix it up!
High Protein Nuts and Fruit

High Protein Snacks

Snacks are another place to add in another protein punch. Try a combination of fresh fruits or veggies with:

  1. Smoked salmon
  2. Cheese
  3. Nuts (almonds, hazelnuts, mixed nuts, peanuts, peanut butter, sunflower seeds, walnuts)
  4. Seeds
  5. Healthy meat jerky

Making sure that your diet includes enough protein can keep you healthy. You may have more energy and your muscles and bones will be stronger. Try adding some of these foods to your next meal.

Spring Vegetable Chicken Pot Pie

Promote proper nutrition for yourself and your loved ones with these amazing chicken and spring vegetable pot pies. The markets are brimming with fresh shell peas, potatoes, and pearl onions but frozen options are available as well.

Peas are often overlooked as a healthy option, but they are a complex starch full of fiber, minerals, and vitamins. Marrying them in a rich sauce, along with potatoes, pearl onions, carrots, chicken, and tarragon, while finishing with a topping of either store-purchased biscuits or homemade dough makes for a tasty lunch or dinner option.

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Serves: 4

Ingredients

1 tsp olive oil

½ cup pearl onions

½ cup shelled peas

2 small red skin new potatoes (cut in half lengthwise then cut into quarter-inch half-discs)

1 carrot (cut in half lengthwise then cut into quarter-inch half-discs)

¼ tsp dried tarragon

1 tsp sea salt

½ tsp black pepper (ground)

2 tsp tapioca flour

1 cup chicken bone broth or chicken stock

1 cup leftover diced or shredded chicken

4 pre-made biscuit rounds or this recipe

Method

  1. In a medium pot, add one teaspoon of olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the carrots and onions and sauté for 3 minutes.
  2. Add the red potatoes, peas, salt, pepper, and tarragon and sauté for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat.
  3. In a small bowl, combine two teaspoons of tapioca powder and two tablespoons of the chicken bone broth. Mix together until smooth.
  4. Turn the heat on the vegetables back onto medium high heat and add the remaining the remaining bone broth into the vegetable mixture.
  5. Add the tapioca and broth to the mixture and cook until bubbly (about two minutes).
  6. Turn off the heat and add the chicken to the mixture.
  7. Divide the filling into four 5-7 ounce oven-proof ramekins or an 8-inch by 8-inch pan.
  8. Top with 4 biscuit rounds.
  9. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until biscuits have risen and are slightly brown.
  10. Remove the pot pies from the oven and enjoy immediately.
Nutrition Facts
Servings 4.0
Amount Per Serving
calories 281
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 8 g12 %
Saturated Fat 3 g14 %
Monounsaturated Fat 2 g
Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg0 %
Sodium 864 mg36 %
Potassium 774 mg22 %
Total Carbohydrate 42 g14 %
Dietary Fiber 4 g17 %
Sugars 8 g
Protein 8 g16 %
Vitamin A55 %
Vitamin C62 %
Calcium4 %
Iron11 %
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated.

Resources

Protein Requirements and Recommendations for Older People: A Review

Nutrition Concerns for Aging Populations

Protein

United States Department of Agriculture: All About the Protein Foods Group

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