No matter what your current age and state of health, nutrition is one of the critical components to creating vital health and wellness. An estimated 60 percent of Americans are considered overweight or obese, and this country faces a growing problem of illness, chronic health conditions, and death as a result of our burdened bodies.
Eating well as a senior
As a senior, it is even more essential to provide your body with the proper nutrients needed for cell renewal, repair, and tissue growth. Many seniors are limited to a buffet style food delivery at their senior living facility but institutional food service is changing to offer a much larger and healthier selection of food options. You, too, can regenerate and repair tissue at your age with the right combination of foods, vitamins, and minerals your body needs for optimal health and function. If you are a senior that needs advice on how to eat well for optimal nutrition, follow these simple healthy eating tips to improve your health and vitality:
1. Make healthy choices
Eating healthy is all about choices—choosing the right combination of foods that you know will fuel your body right. Do you really need that tub of macaroni and cheese, or will some wild rice and chicken do you one better? You would feed a prize winning horse substandard fare and expect him to win a race; similarly, you should consider your body your ultimate high-performance machine and companion, and you should seek to fuel it with only the best for optimal performance.
2. Make your comfort food….with a twist
If you adore chicken alfredo, consider making it with zucchini noodles rather than pasta? Opting for a few healthy substitutions that you can put in place of fat and sugar will still allow you to savor that flavor without all of the nutritional fallout.
3. Know what a healthy plate looks like….for you
Every body is different, and everyone’s nutritional needs are different. Do you know how many calories you need to consume for best health? What about the specific macrobiotic ratio that you need for optimal health? Having a conversation with your doctor about best foods for you, giving consideration to your unique health needs, will set you up for nutritional success.
4. Eat the rainbow
When in doubt, aim to incorporate foods from all food groups, containing a variety of colors, onto your plate. A diet rich in high quality produce, fresh fruits and veggies, lean protein, and whole grains will serve you well and provide you with critical vitamins and minerals needed for cell renewal and good health. Eat foods that are fresh from the garden and high in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
5. Read your labels
If you have dietary restrictions, you’ll want to know what your food contains. Excess salt, fat, sugar, or any combination of harmful preservatives will derail your nutritional progress, if you don’t know what you are consuming. Read those nutritional labels even before you come home from the store; the more you know about what you are consuming, the more informed decisions you can make about what you are putting into your system.
6. Eat recommended servings
Many people eat due to boredom, emotional upset, or stress. Don’t let your emotions rule your portion size, or you will be playing a dangerous game that will result in added pounds and poor health. Maintain a good caloric load each day, and follow recommended daily servings of protein, produce, grains, and dairy. Follow FDA guidelines outlined in the latest food pyramid, and you will be building a strong foundation for future health and wellness.
7. Stay hydrated
People are chronically dehydrated–your body’s many cries for water include pain, fatigue, and mental stress that are caused by a buildup of toxins in the body. Drinking at least half your body weight in ounces daily will help rid your system of harmful toxins and allow your body’s systems to operate cleanly and efficiently.
8. Create long-lasting habits
Good nutrition is not the result of a few well-planned meals; good nutrition and good health are lifelong pursuits. Creating good nutritional habits that last into your fifties, sixties, and beyond will set up protective measures against illness, degeneration and disease. Pick your plate combinations wisely, and they will build a solid nutritional foundation for you!
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