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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Older Adults Have Special Dietary Needs

Mar 02, 2013 06:27PM ● By Chef Crystal Clark

It’s important for older adults to receive the same nutritional value as younger adults. However, because elders may not burn as many calories as a more active person, they may also need to consume fewer calories. According to the National Institute on Aging, older men that are not active need only 2,000 calories per day and older women need only 1,600 calories per day, compared to men leading an active lifestyle requiring 2,800 calories and 2,200 calories for women.

Older adults and those caring for them should keep in mind that the dietary needs for an older adult may be different if they suffer from a chronic health problem such as heart disease or diabetes. Medications may also warrant changes in their diet. Caregivers should ask the older adult’s doctor about any special dietary concerns.

While older adults, like everyone else, have individual preferences concerning foods, certain dishes seem to be more popular than others. One of the most popular dishes among the residents of The Blake in Gulf Breeze is Spaghetti Over Angel Hair Pasta. The use of fresh tomatoes and herbs not only makes for a signature Italian sauce, but also improves the nutrient level and taste. Taking in the healthy aspects of this dish, steamed ground beef is used, as opposed to frying it.

Brooke Hicks, director of community relations for The Blake, says, “It is a pleasure to provide a tasty, down-home recipe made from scratch with fewer calories than the traditional recipe.” Fresh vegetables are served with every meal at The Blake. Some of the most requested include steamed broccoli, asparagus, baby carrots with a honey glaze and sautéed squash.

Hicks explains why community meals are popular with older adults. “Our residents enjoy the variety and care that Chef Crystal takes when cooking for them. They enjoy visiting with fellow residents during meals and making new memories.” The menu takes into account the reduced need for caloric intake, too.

Chef Crystal Clark prepares menus and meals for residents at The Blake at Gulf Breeze. For more information, contact Brooke Hicks at 850-934-4306 or visit

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