As many of us focus on healthier habits for a better and more comfortable life, one that cannot be overlooked are our food and nutrition habits. The food that we consume on a daily basis has a lasting effect on our wellbeing and overall health. It is never too late to start better eating habits and increasing the nutritional value of our meals. Below are a few nutrition tips for older adults. Disclaimer: Please consult your doctor before making any drastic changes to your diet.
- Focus on Super Foods. Super foods are those with immense nutritional value and health benefits. Planning our your meals to include these super foods can help boost your energy levels and nutritional intake, along with an abundance of other health benefits. Super foods include: salmon, spinach and dark leafy greens, almonds and nuts, asparagus, broccoli, quinoa, and legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, and beans.
- Eat 3 Cups of Vegetables Daily. Vegetables contain many nutrients that keep our bodies healthy and strong. Add a variety of vegetables to your plate to create a rainbow of different colors to ensure a balance of nutrients. If you have limited access to fresh produce or are worried about your vegetables spoiling, consider frozen vegetables which still contain nutritional values but will last you much longer.
- Avoid Sugar When Possible. You may not be consciously consuming spoonfuls of sugar, but you would be surprised at the amount of foods that contain sugar: pasta sauces, ketchup, salad dressing, breads, yogurts, instant oatmeal, and more. Now is a great time to evaluate your daily meals to find all the hidden sugars you may not have known your were consuming. Try to cut back on some of these foods to help prevent unhealthy spikes in blood sugar and avoid empty calories.
- Season Your Foods with Fresh Alternatives. Rather than using salt to season your meals, consider using a variety of fresh herbs and spices. Herbs and spices offer more flavors and options to create delicious meals. Try using garlic, basil, thyme, parsley, cumin, ginger, turmeric, and even cinnamon. Meanwhile, you will also be able to lower your sodium intake by avoiding using as much salt.
- Get plenty of fiber. Fiber is necessary for our digestive tracts as well as to maintain a healthy weight, stable blood sugar, and lower our risk of diabetes and heart disease. Fiber is mainly found in fruit, vegetables, and beans. Make sure to maintain a balanced diet with fiber by eating whole grain breads or cereals, eating whole fruit with the skin on, and getting enough vegetables into your daily meals.
Now that summer is here, there are many healthy, locally sourced options to choose from at our local farmers markets, farm stands, and even at local supermarkets. A good motto to follow is: Eat Well, Age Well!