We all want to have healthy, lean bodies, filled with energy, strength and stamina. The seniors in our lives are no different! We hear about the Coronavirus looming in the darkness. As we see diabetes, heart disease and cancer on the rise, it would behoove us to explore practical tips on healthy eating. Here are some ways we can keep our bodies at their best no matter what age we are presently enjoying.
What Is Your Mind Set Regarding Food?
A good question to ask ourselves is how do we look at food and mealtimes? Is it a chore to prepare or something we look forward to? Are we struggling with a physical disability that makes using the stove or microwave extra difficult? Do we have blood sugar issues or weight control concerns? Are we frequently eating alone or are we using mealtimes as social times? Have we lost our enjoyment of eating? These are all valid questions to ponder and perhaps some of these tips and resources will help!
How we look at mealtime is critical! Food is fuel and if we neglect the proper fuel supply we will suffer from low energy, digestive issues and anemia at the very least! Resorting to improper foods out of convenience can lead to diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and worse. As people age, their family dynamic often changes too. We may no longer have children or a spouse in the house, so our experience of a family around the table has been altered.
If we are struggling with a physical disability that makes using the stove or microwave extra difficult, perhaps it’s time to look at solutions. Universal design may be the answer to making some simple adjustments in your living space. Here is a story of one family whose wheelchair bound daughter wanted to learn how to cook! The challenge was that she could not reach the stove top. Read here how one company was able to install solutions that removed the barriers!
Eating alone can present some challenges in itself! We may feel like there’s no reason to go through the bother of preparing the food when there is no one else around who will enjoy the meal with us. If your appetite isn’t up for a full meal, here are some healthy snacks that will boost your energy. Ten real food snacks.
When Are the Best Times to Eat?
When we wake up, the best step we can take is to hydrate our body. Hot water with lemon first thing in the morning will help our system go from acidic to alkaline. An acidic state is one that invites imbalance and vulnerability to sickness and disease.
Dis-ease implies a body out of balance and unable to fight off cold and flu symptoms or worse. Hydrating the body before drinking any caffeinated tea or coffee is critical to keeping our brain and other organs in tip top shape! It’s good for us to remember that anything with caffeine will dehydrate us, so plan ahead to hydrate first.
Getting whole fruit in us for breakfast rather than juice or canned fruit is better for the body. Some people prefer to have two breakfasts. One in the early waking hours perhaps a smaller portion of fruit and yogurt or toast and then a later breakfast with eggs or oatmeal with chopped nuts and raisins.
The idea is to think of fueling the system for activity and energy. The largest meal we consume should be done mid-day. The last meal we eat should be done at least 3 hours prior to bedtime so digestion does not disrupt sleep.
What Foods Are Best to Avoid?
According to the CDC, in the US alone, 30 million people have diabetes and 25% of them don’t know they have it! More than 84 million have pre-diabetes and 90% have no idea they have it! Have you been checked? You can discover if you are at risk by taking this one minute test. If you are a pre-diabetic or just someone who wants to stay healthy, enjoy smaller nutritious meals more frequently and avoid all white foods!
- White rice
- White sugar (or foods that contain it)
Eating white foods will boost blood sugar to an unhealthy level and add weight gain without adding any nutritious benefits whatsoever. Some healthy alternatives would be substituting a whole grain brown rice instead of white rice. Brown rice is higher in fiber and actually has nutrients where white rice has none. The pasta section of your grocery store has most likely expanded and now includes whole wheat and gluten free pasta choices, so really there is no excuse.
We don’t have to give up enjoying meals when we can make simple adjustments that only benefit us. The same goes with bread choices; read the labels! Look for the fiber content, carbs and sugar levels and you may be surprised at how high some sugar levels really are! Sugar is also addicting, the more you have it, the more you want it, so know that your battle to break that sweet addiction may take a week or so.
When the sweet tooth strikes, grab a piece of fruit instead. Potatoes may have been a staple in your household, so exchange the russet with a yam or sweet potato instead. Sweet potatoes are the highest in fiber and have generous portions of vitamin A where the white potatoes have none! Purple potatoes are known to have antioxidants and register better on the glycemic index if you are concerned about your blood sugar.
When preparing a meal with healthy eating at the forefront of the mind, think about eating the rainbow! A variety of colors, textures and flavors will make the meal fun and delicious. Eat organic, locally grown foods. Choose plant over animal products. Healthy options don’t mean less spice or flavor. Think about the meals you have consumed over the past day or two. If they were bland in color, know that a whole world of wonderful food choices awaits you!
People live much longer now than they used to around the globe. The life expectancy for someone born in 1960 was only up to age 52. Today, folks are living well into their 80’s and 90’s! It doesn’t hurt for us to take advice from those who have hit a healthy version of 100 years old. If we want to enjoy life and have the strength to do what we love to do, then healthy eating one meal at a time is key to longevity.