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Tips for eating healthy on the North Shore
Elderly seniors who eat balanced and regular meals have higher energy levels, are able to better cope with chronic illness and have faster recuperation times from sickness.
Eating well as an older adult is all about fresh, colorful food, creativity in the kitchen and eating with friends.
Here a few simple guidelines and tips to help you eat properly:
- Reduce sodium intake: Look for low-sodium labels and use fresh herbs and spices to flavour dishes instead.
- Use good fats: Olive oil, avocados, salmon, walnuts, flaxseed and other monounsaturated fats.
- Add fiber from foods such as raw fruits and veggies, whole-grains and beans.
- Avoid bad carbohydrates, such as white flour, refined sugar and white rice that have been stripped of all bran, fiber and nutrients.
- Use good carbs like whole grains, beans, fruits, and vegetables.
- Read labels and see if sugar is added. Too often sugar is a hidden ingredient and if you are watching your intake it is important to know.
- Cook smart: Make enough for two meals and then you can enjoy a lunch, steamed or sautéd. It’s simple and your will save nutrients.
- Eat colourful foods: Yam, carrots, zucchinis, tomatoes and melons are nutrient rich.
- Avoid skipping meals – eat lots of small meals, starting with a good breakfast. It is even OK to snack but make sure they are healthy snacks like yogurt, cottage cheese, apples and peanut butter and veggies and hummus.
- Drink water: Too often we are dehydrated and although the amount of water we drink often decreases with age due to other physical issues, it is important to know that we still need water at least eight glasses per day
If you can’t shop or cook for yourself there are many options. You can ask your family to help with the meal shopping and meal prep. Most groceries stores have delivery services or you could hire a homemaker/companion to come in and prepare a light meal daily.
There are many food services offering meals to seniors and although this may be limiting, meals can be ordered fresh or frozen. There are catering companies who are preparing gourmet meals for seniors. They cost more but are delivered fresh. Try a few different services to see what fits for you; it’s all about convenience.
The above tips are only small suggestions that help with nutrition, meals and planning. If you have other issues such as a lack of appetite or you are having difficulties preparing meals then it is important to discuss these issues with your doctor and family.
Often times just a few simple changes can make a difference. Eating healthy is an ongoing commitment but often times just a few simple changes make a difference.
Elizabeth Shewchuk is founder of Daughter For A Day, a North Shore company that provides home care assistance and support for elderly clients.