AGEING: Eat smart, eat healthy !

As one ages, paying more attention to nutrition becomes increasingly important.

Eating smarter, eating better means healthier ageing

More seniors are becoming increasingly aware of better eating habits for maintaining and improving their health. They read more about nutrition and read food labels more carefully; they monitor calories more; they share main courses when dining out and are more likely to ask for take-home ‘doggy bags’ than before. Healthy eating is a growing concern for more seniors.

Eating habits need re-evaluation
As we age, the physical changes may require re-assessment of the eating habits. We may not be able to eat the same sized portions we did before; health issues may mandate diet restrictions and revisions, reduced salt intake, fewer calories. Even taste buds change; spicy dishes, enjoyed in younger days, may not as favoured now. Taste sensitivity changes with age; taste buds respond differently to flavours, textures and kinds of foods.

Ageing may require new eating habits
Age does not necessarily mean we cannot eat as we did when we were younger. However, some changes may be necessary from portion size to modification of the food preparation.

Some tips to maintaining the joy of eating while maintaining positive health benefits:

  1. Fresher is healthier
    Choose fresh foods. Locally sourced is always healthier. Our diets become more interesting changing with the seasons and with the availability of different foods. The grocery bill may be decreased with seasonal food as its price is usually lower than the imported, out-of-season food.
  2. Lighten up often!
    Eat lighter meals as often as possible. There is no rule requiring that every meal be meat and veggies. Occasionally, eat a hearty soup; an omelette can be a nutritious substitute for a meaty supper.
  3. Homemade trumps other preparations
    Industrially prepared foods are not always a healthy choice. These food preparations often include preservatives, more salt and additives that enhance the flavour but may impact on the nutritional value of that prepared food. Eating homemade is better for your health as you control the input of the ingredients.
  4. Cook with the 5,4,3,2,1 rule in mind
    Use the 5,4,3,2,1 goal in food preparation: 5-4 ounces of protein, 3 ounces of veggies, 2 ounces of carbohydrates, 1 ounce of sauce/gravy. Ketchup may taste great but read the label for its sugar content and its caloric impact.
  5. Desserts rule!
    The taste for sugar is retained as we age, so much so, some people declare they can skip the meal and go right to dessert. Rather than rejecting desserts, re-examine them. Instead of eliminating, substitute. Eat desserts which have fewer calories. Eat fresh rather than prepared, fresh fruit as opposed to that piece of pie.
  6. Sane Snacking
    Snacking is healthy; keep it that way! Snacking curbs the appetite, it satisfies cravings; it can even help reduce the amount eaten later as one is less hungry with a snack. However, ensure your snacks are healthy ones: fresh fruit, lower calorie cheese and yogurts, nuts such as walnuts or almonds. But again, portion control is important.
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