March is National Nutrition Month
Created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, National Nutrition Month encourages us to make informed food choices and develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. The national campaign goes back as far as 1973, slated in March every year with new health focuses, reminding us that the best way to live is to live healthily.
Good nutrition is crucial for seniors. Your diet changes as you age, and it’s natural to experience a slower metabolism that requires less nutrient-dense meals. You may also experience sensory changes in taste and smell, which can affect how you choose your food. It’s easy just to pick something from the cupboard or to grab a premade meal while you’re out. However, it is much more beneficial, especially for senior adults, to choose healthier meals that offer long-term benefits for your body and mind.
Having a healthy eating plan encourages you to pursue better meal options. You get to enjoy a wide variety of food and savor different tastes. This comes with many benefits, including a clearer mind and healthier body, with a reduced risk of diseases.
Tips on Creating Your Healthy Eating Plan
During National Nutrition Month, dietitians offer innovative ways of eating healthy. By creating new eating habits, you can enjoy food that doesn’t only taste good but is equally advantageous to your health. Here are some ways to create your healthy eating plan for March:
- Fresh is always best. When buying food, head out into the market and pick fresh produce rather than buying canned goods. Not only will you be able to select your meals, but you will also get a light workout by moving around the store. A win-win!
- If buying packed meals, in addition to considering their shelf life, always check the Nutrition Facts.
- Be adventurous! Take on a variety of foods from each food group. Not only will this help you enjoy many different flavors, but it will keep you from eating the same thing every day. A variety of foods helps alleviate the risks of high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.
- Choose foods with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
- Replenish your protein by adding seafood, dairy, and soy products with your lentils, peas, and beans.
- Eat less processed and red meats. Instead, replace them with chicken or other protein sources, such as tofu or tuna.
- Whole grains are packed with fibers that help your digestive tract run smoothly. Oatmeal could be a staple breakfast, with fresh fruits added for flavor.
- Choose water instead of sugary, caffeinated drinks. Drink enough water to replenish your body and keep it hydrated.
- Watch your portion sizes. It’s easy to indulge in a meal you like, but the best way to eat is to take what’s enough for your body.
- Having trouble with constipation? Instead of maxing out your proteins, reduce them by half and supplement more with fruit, grains, and vegetables.
The Best Type of Food for Seniors
Unlike supplements, nutrient-rich food contains many other elements that offer you benefits, like fiber and vitamins. Making a healthy meal plan around vitamins and minerals can help you gain more from eating–you’ll have delicious, home-cooked meals and reap their many rewards.
Easy Egg Omelet
Eggs are packed with many vitamins and nutrients, including a good dose of Vitamin A and protein. An omelet is a great meal for breakfasts and brunches and can power you through the day.
- 2 large eggs
- A splash of fat-free milk
- 1 tbsp chopped onion
- 1 sausage, cut diagonally
- 1 tbsp chopped red or green pepper
- 1/4 cup shredded cheddar
- Salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the eggs and add in the milk. On your skillet, sauté your chopped onions, peppers, and sausage. Pour over the egg mixture, then laden with cheese. Eat with your favorite morning drink.
Bring in the Broccoli
Broccoli is packed with Vitamin B2. And the best part? It works best with lean meat for that hearty lunch.
- 1/2 lb chicken breast, sliced thinly
- 1 small broccoli, chopped
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 small carrot, sliced
- 2 tbsp oyster sauce
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle salt and pepper on the chicken and let it sit. In a cooking pan, sauté the onion and garlic. Add the chicken. Sprinkle with oyster sauce and soy sauce. When cooked, add the chopped broccoli and carrots. This can be a perfect lunch with an oriental flair.
Milky Mashed Potatoes
Potatoes are rich in Vitamin C and Potassium, among many other nutrients. Mash them for lunch, like this recipe from Taste of Home:
- 2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 6 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/4 cup onions, sliced thinly
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a saucepan, combine the potatoes, water, broth, and garlic and bring it to a boil. Wait until the potatoes are tender. This may last around 12-15 minutes. In another saucepan, heat buttermilk. Drain the potatoes and mash them with the buttermilk. Add in the onions, salt, and pepper. If you’d like, serve with cheese or butter for added taste (but use it sparingly!).
More Quick and Easy Meals for Seniors to Try
Milk and fortified cereals come with the all-important Vitamin B12. Pour yourself a bowl and get a good dose of this vitamin. If you’re trying to swear off dairy, oat milk is a great substitution that offers plenty of its own benefits, including 15% Daily Value calcium and 10% DV vitamin A, vitamin D, potassium, riboflavin, phosphorus, and of course B12.
Tomatoes and red bell peppers are rich sources of Vitamin C, other than their more famous citrusy counterparts. A good, red-based pasta can give you a nice dosage, plus tomatoes contain their own innate mineral, lycopene, which is good for the heart.
Like nuts? Many varieties of nuts are rich in Vitamin E and Folate. Snack on them if you aren’t allergic and infuse them into baked goods.
A varied diet and a healthy meal plan let you rediscover the joys of eating good food! If you don’t know where to start, consult with your local dietician, who can help you make a healthy meal plan that is right for you.
What Can You Do After Nutrition Month?
National Nutrition Month is not the only time to eat healthily! We encourage you to continue the good eating habits you learned and keep creating the meals you have enjoyed. Prioritizing better options, such as fresh produce and lean meats, can help fuel your body and keep it powered for daily activities. You can continue doing what you love while still supporting your overall health.
Eating nutritious foods is a practice of being mindful of your health, the people around you, and the planet. Take this moment to pick the best meals and enjoy their many benefits that will aid you in the long run.
Housed with fantastic amenities and professional health staff, Springpoint Senior Living Communities can help you pursue your nutritional goals. Our dining programs make use of fresh, local ingredients to ensure optimum health and nutrition at every meal. Learn how you can transition into your retirement in our vibrant, wellness-centric community. Contact us today!