There are some things that are out of our hands as we age, but healthy eating is one thing we can control and one that makes a difference on how well we age. Eating the right portions, nutrients and variety of foods can have an impact on how you feel, look and age – and may help protect you against age-related illnesses.
Here at Concordia, we take nutrition seriously and make sure our residents have the right food options to support their needs. We understand how easy it can be to take on bad eating habits and how it can be a struggle to make the right food choices – especially with how busy we all are these days. However, there are many healthy food options that are easy and inexpensive, and once you start making the right choices, you may find that you’ve adapted to healthy eating habits without even thinking twice!
We put together the below list of tips to get you started on the path to healthy eating. Always remember to contact your healthcare professional before starting a new diet regimen.
1) Make Well-Portioned Plates – In general, half of your plate should include fruits and vegetables while the other half should be split between meats and starches. There’s a great resource provided by the United States Department of Agriculture called MyPlate that offers dietary guidelines and resources.
2) Be Prepared with Healthy Snacks On the Go – One way to avoid making poor food choices when out and about is to be prepared with healthy snacks on the go. Take easy-to-grab foods with you, such as nuts, trail mix, smoothies, dried fruit, peanut butter and crackers.
3) Know What Nutrients Your Body Needs – As you get older, the nutrients your body needs may increase while your caloric needs may decrease. It’s important to eat nutrient-rich foods that give you the right vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fats (e.g., lean protein, low-fat dairy, vegetables, fruits, beans and lentils, whole grains, nuts and seeds). You may also consult with your doctor about taking a multivitamin.
4) Hydrate Your Body – Don’t forget that water is one of the most important nutrients! It’s essential to keep your body hydrated with small amounts of fluids throughout the day, staying away from fluids with sugar and salt, or as recommended by your doctor.
5) Read the Nutrition Facts on Labels – Make it a habit to look at the labels on prepackaged foods. Stick to options low in added sugar and salt, and high in vitamins and minerals. Also, pay attention to the different types of fat. Stay away from foods high in saturated and trans fat, and look for the “good” fats such as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats.
6) Stick to Recommended Serving Sizes – It’s easy to eat more than the recommended serving size when not paying attention, and trust us, we are all guilty of that! But, you can avoid eating more by measuring out your serving size instead of eyeballing it or eating right out of the package.
7) Plan Meals in Advance – There are many benefits from planning meals in advance. One obvious benefit is that it allows you to be prepared to eat healthier. You can plan a week in advance so you have all of the ingredients on hand to make meals throughout the week. You can also save time and money by being able to meal prep, eating out less and having a defined grocery list to prevent impulse purchases at the grocery store.
8) Store and Handle Food Properly – Some experts say that, as we age, our risk of foodborne illness increases due to our aging immune system. Because of this, storing and handling food properly is important. Some general rules include: keeping your refrigerator at a safe temperature (below 40°F), avoiding raw eggs, using a calibrated instant-read thermometer to make sure meat is cooked to proper temperatures, and not thawing perishable foods on the counter for longer than 2 hours.
If you’re struggling with eating healthy, and know you need to make a change in your diet, we hope our healthy eating tips can make a difference. Are there other healthy eating habits that you recommend, or do you have a question on healthy eating? If so, please comment below!
If you have questions about Concordia or are interested in how we can help you and your loved one, please feel free to contact us any time via our online contact form or by calling our administrative headquarters at 724-352-1571. Or, visit the care levels & services page of our website to learn about the types of care we offer, including In-Home Care, Memory Care, Long-Term Nursing Care, Adult Day Services, Hospice Care and more.
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