News You Can Use – Eating Well
Eating Well…A Lifetime Goal
Eating well should be a lifetime goal for all of us, and seniors in particular need to focus on well balanced meals and nutritional support. It seems like the older we get, the more we need to go to the doctor. However, a healthy weight and regular exercise can reduce doctor visits substantially saving you or your loved one time and money.
Does being older mean our diet needs to change? The answer is yes. This is because our metabolism changes as we age. Therefore, putting the right foods into our bodies helps give us a bigger return on the fewer calories needed to sustain the same weight. More importantly, the nutrients needed to sustain a healthy body must be carefully thought out when grocery shopping and cooking.
Think of your plate as a rainbow of colors. Bright colored foods are best!
- Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
- Fruits and vegetables (think orange, red, green, and purple)
- Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
- Low-fat dairy (milk and its alternatives)
Remember to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt. Also, look for Vitamin D, an important mineral as we age.
Some great tips you will find helpful:
- Add flavor to foods with spices and herbs instead of salt and look for low-sodium packaged foods.
- Add sliced fruits and vegetable to your meals and snacks. Look for pre-sliced fruits and vegetables on sale if slicing and chopping is a challenge.
- Ask your doctor to suggest other options if the medications you take affect your appetite or change your desire to eat.
- Drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day. If you cannot tolerate milk try small amounts of yogurt, butter milk, hard cheese or lactose-free foods. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals.
Another important reminder is to keep checking the food expirations in your refrigerator. It is easy to let foods spoil when only one or two people are eating them. Older adults need to avoid food-borne illnesses that can result from unpasteurized dairy products, or undercooked eggs, fish, meat and poultry. These can become life threatening, so a good tip is to take a black marker and write the expiration date boldly as you put the food into the fridge; the dates are so small from the manufacturer that it is easy to miss. Store the items that expire soon closer to the door and try to use them first. Remember a food thermometer is your friend. When in doubt, take the temp to ensure the food is properly cooked.
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