5% of Americans are vegetarian, according to one 2018 Gallup poll, and with many Indian religions involving vegetarianism, those who practice Sikhism may also choose to stick to a vegetarian diet as a way to honor their Indian roots. However, if you’re caring for a Sikh elder, helping them maintain a nutritious, well balanced vegetarian diet might seem daunting, especially if they have additional dietary requirements due to health problems

Dietary areas of concern

For Sikhs who adhere to a strict vegetarian diet, there are a few concerns in regards to keeping their nutrition needs well balanced as they age. For example, getting enough protein is a major concern as we get older, and older adults are generally recommended to increase their daily protein intake, especially if they experience malnourishment or have a severe illness. Due to this, it’s imperative to ensure your elders are getting plenty of plant-based protein, such as chickpeas, tofu, and beans in their diet. Other areas of concern may include vitamin D and calcium, as well as Vitamin B12, which are all important to any senior adult’s diet. While Vitamin D and calcium aid in promoting healthy bones, Vitamin B12 helps with energy. 

The benefits of meal kits

One effective option to ensure your elder is getting the proper nutrition is to enroll them in a meal delivery service or subscription. This will allow them to receive the right amount of ingredients and recipe to create a well balanced, healthy meal that adheres to their vegetarian requirements, or even an already prepared meal (depending on the service, of course). With organic and vegan options available and perfectly sized portions to ensure a truly fresh option, this can help avoid issues like excessive food waste. And, while these services are often considered controversial due to their plastic packaging, research actually suggests that the environmental benefits of meal kits can somewhat balance out the excessive packaging in some cases.

Preparing meals yourself

Needless to say, meal kit delivery services are particularly useful for elders who may be living alone or who might not be able to go to the grocery store on a regular basis due to mobility issues; however, they may not always be sufficient in regards to dietary requirements or cost effective to use all the time. Due to this, an equally effective alternative is to prepare meals for your loved one yourself, by planning out and cooking a large quantity of food at once to store away for the week ahead. While both options present a fantastic solution, preparing meals yourself does allow for more customization for additional health concerns (such as low sodium, gluten free, etc.), and can further ensure your elders are getting the specific nutrition requirements they need to stay healthy.

Helping your Sikh elder to navigate their nutritional needs can be a challenging endeavor, though there are ways to do so successfully. By taking their dietary restrictions and needs into account and considering meal delivery kit services (or even preparing the meals yourself), you can successfully ensure that your loved one stays healthy through a well-rounded diet.

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