August 29, 2018

As we get older our nutrition needs change and staying fit and healthy is very important. At Meals on Wheels San Francisco (MOWSF), the Nutrition Department creates seasonal menus to meet your needs by providing Regular, Low Sodium/Diabetic (LS/DB), and Mechanically Softened (MS) diets (for poor chewing ability and includes LS/DB requirements).

From the meat to the powdered drink packs, the two meals per day that MOWSF provides include at least two-thirds of your calorie and nutrition needs, including food groups such as protein, starches, vegetables, fruits, and dairy. These foods provide 1200 calories per day and target nutrients such as Calcium, Potassium, Fiber, Vitamins A, B12, C, D, E, Magnesium, and about 12-additional micronutrients.

The Sodium is limited to 1500 mg/day for Regular and 1400 mg/day for LS/DB and MS diets. All meals are prepared without any additional salt added. Fat provides 20-35% of calories, Saturated fats are limited to less than 10% of calories, and trans-fats are limited to less than 0.5 g per meal.

MOWSF understands that your appetites and meal preferences vary greatly.  However, the San Francisco Department of Aging & Adult Services determines average needs by recommending dietary guidelines and MOWSF provides a menu that reflects the rich, cultural diversity of our city. While we strive to offer a variety of foods and recipes, we are, unfortunately, unable to offer specific dietary preferences at this time.

If there are certain foods that you do not consume, then it may mean that you do not meet your nutrition needs, thus increasing the risk of malnutrition and poor health outcomes.  For example, as we age, many people stop drinking milk due to symptoms related to lactose intolerance. However, this does not mean that milk cannot be consumed. The dietitians at MOWSF recommend that you try to consume the milk in small portions throughout the day.

Typically, we can consume about 2oz of milk or one-quarter of a cup at a time without any side effects.

Milk is an excellent source for protein, calcium, vitamin D, and potassium. These nutrients help to lower blood pressure, risk of stroke, type 2-diabetes, influenza, cancer and even lower the risk for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. They also help support immune health, bone and muscle strength, and repair. If you are unable to consume milk for other reasons, try to consume alternative foods that offer the same nutritional value and make up for this gap in your nutrition needs.  If you are unable to eat certain fruits and vegetables due to chewing difficulty, make sure that you request a mechanically soft diet that provides softer fruits, or try mashing vegetables with a fork after heating.

Should you have any questions regarding your nutrition needs or about the menus, or if you need a list of additional food resources in your community, please call MOWSF at 415-920-1111 and ask for the Nutrition Department.

Wishing you good health!