On Your Side: Older adults looking for new ways to eat healthy
Choosing healthy foods is smart at any age. But for older adults, it’s one of the most important things to ensure well-being over time.
Some seniors are finding new ways to make nutritious meals and having a good time doing it.
Barbara McSheffrey and her friends like to prepare meals at home so they know what is in their food. Eating local and clean is their goal.
McSheffrey, a registered dietician and nutritionist said, “you have to plan because it could get complicated.”
Eating right doesn’t have to be difficult. But Carol Baker, 81 a retired professor of nursing said too many adults settle for what is easiest. Baker said it’s a good idea to cook ahead and make enough for more than one meal. “You buy things and you cook for maybe three or four and you package it and freeze it.”
McSheffrey, 83 said we should choose food that provides nutrients without too many calories.
Jan Wade jokes that she has “Jan-dares” when it comes to how food looks. Half your plate should be vegetables and fruits.
“We eat with our eyes. For me anyway, if the food doesn’t look attractive I don’t enjoy it as much.”
Most older adults need less salt and fewer calories than they did in their younger years. “You don’t put sugar in your gasoline in the gas tank. So you want to keep things fairly clean that you put in your wonderful body,” said McSheffrey.
The women suggest people season with herbs and spices to season foods. Basil, sage, rosemary, and turmeric are healthy choices.
They also encourage people to read nutrition labels. Even if it is advertised as a healthy voice, it can contain added fat, salt, and sugar.
McSheffrey said people should try to stay physically active.
“If you can walk and talk and sing and dance, you can do this.
Even if you can’t sing and dance,” she smiled.
If you have special dietary needs it’s a good idea to consult a registered dietician to help you create a customized eating plan.