SENIOR SPOTLIGHT: Helpful hints for healthy eating | Lifestyles

New year means resolutions! Some of the New Year’s resolutions are: eat better, lose weight, get organized, spend less and save more, enjoy life to the fullest, keep fit and healthy, learn something exciting, quit smoking, help others achieve their dreams, fall in love, Spending more time with family…

If you want help dealing with #1 above, consider making small changes to what you eat. Free health presentations will be offered January 11 and January 18, from 10 to 11 a.m. at The Dale Association, 33 Ontario St., Lockport. The show was presented by staff from Cornell Cooperative Extension and SNAP Ed New York. All ages are welcome and you are not required to be a Dale member to attend.

I also offer the following healthy eating tips for people:

Drink plenty of fluids. With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink more water. Low-fat or skim milk or 100% juice may also help you stay hydrated. Limit drinks that contain a lot of added sugar or salt.

Make eating a social occasion. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or share the barn. Join your local seniors center or place of worship for a meal with others. There are so many ways to make mealtime fun.

Planning healthy meals. Find affordable and flexible ways to choose and prepare delicious meals so you can eat the foods you need. The National Institute on Aging has advice on what to eat, how much to eat, and which foods to choose based on dietary guidelines.

– Know how much you eat. Learn to recognize how much you eat so you can control portion size. When eating out, pack a portion of your meal to eat later. Often one part of the restaurant is enough for two or more meals.

Vary your vegetables. Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten up your plate. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber.

Eat for your teeth and gums. Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it difficult to chew fruits, vegetables, or meat. Do not miss the necessary nutrients. Eating soft foods can help.

Use herbs and spices. Food may seem to lose its flavor as you age. If your favorite dishes taste different, the chef may not be! Your sense of smell, taste, or both may have changed. Medications may also change the taste of foods. Add flavors to your meals with herbs and spices.

– Keep food safe. Do not risk your health; Food-related illnesses can threaten the lives of older adults. Get rid of food that may not be safe. Avoid certain foods that are always dangerous for the elderly, such as unpasteurized dairy products. Other foods may be harmful when raw or undercooked, such as eggs, fish, shellfish, or poultry.

Read the nutrition label. Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to the lists of fats, sodium, and other items on the nutrition label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients you may need to limit.

I hope you’ll consider signing up for the free presentations this month. Please call 716-433-1886 to reserve your seat.

Maureen A. Wundt is the president and CEO of the Dell Association, a nonprofit organization that provides aged care, mental health, home care, carer support services and enrichment activities to adults.

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