Hosting seniors at a backyard barbecue can be a bit nerve-wracking. What can you serve that will appeal to elderly guests and meet their needs without turning off younger ones?
Agingcare.com talked to three experts who shared their ideas:
“In a nutshell, keep it plain and simple,” says Pat Marone, executive chef at The Regency, an assisted living seniors community in Glen Cove, N.Y. Chef Marone, who previously has been associated with five-star restaurants, serves traditional foods like grilled barbecued chicken at outdoor parties for his guests, but marinates it with a low-sodium, low-fat dressing, flavored with pepper and garlic. To protect his diabetic guests, he doesn’t add sugar or uses sugar substitute products; to keep the fat content low, he provides turkey burgers, watermelon and baked beans.
Cut the Fat
Renata Gelman, clinical manager at Partners in Care, the private care arm of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, also says that it’s especially important to stay away from fatty foods, since elderly people tend to develop high cholesterol readings. While, surprisingly, some cookout foods like corn and barbecued meat (with the exception of fatty pork) aren’t that bad for seniors, she says better choices are low-fat, high-fiber foods like fruit, vegetable kabobs and fake hot dogs made out of soy. For dessert, substitute popsicles for high-fat ice cream. As for beverages, stick to lemonade or water and avoid serving seniors alcohol, which is dehydrating. “Older people don’t always know when they are becoming dehydrated,” she said. “They can pass out, even die.”