Healthy eating as we age can feel difficult. Sometimes, older adults can actually lose their appetite or desire to eat over time, so that makes getting proper nutrition all the more important. Eating properly will help to keep our muscles strong, our bones maintain proper density, and serve as a key element in preventing frailty.
So whether you reside in a Bountiful assisted living facility or you still live at home, below is some quality information in helping to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet.
The Importance of Proper Nutrition
Other than just feeling good after we eat nutritious foods, putting the right stuff in our body also comes with some other benefits. For example, eating balanced meals helps to prevent illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, bone loss, obesity, and malnutrition.
Not only that, but proper nutrition:
- Helps individual meet their caloric intake needs
- Manage weight (either gain or lose)
- Improve overall energy and endurance
- Feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally
What Does Balanced Nutrition Look Like?
The key to proper nutrition is including a healthy variety of foods into your regular diet. Sadly, that does not entail having brownies on a daily basis. However, variety is the spice of life, as they say, and it’s time to make every bite count! Whole grains, dairy, protein, fruits, and veggies should all be a part of your week. If you do end up having a brownie every now and then, don’t worry! It’s okay to treat yourself on occasion.
Adding Fruits and Veggies
If one area of nutrition you struggle with is including fruits and veggies, you must read the list of suggestions below.
1.) Add Some Green to Your Favorite Dishes
One of the easiest ways to start putting fruits and veggies into your diet is by including them into foods you already regularly eat. For example, do you make an omelet for breakfast? If so, don’t just add a bit of cheese – spice it up! Bell peppers, spinach, and tomatoes are all great choices.
Throw some mushrooms or other veggies on your homemade pizza to mix things up!
Even fruits are simple to include. For pancakes, top with blueberries or sliced strawberries and bananas. If you have a low-fat greek yogurt, mix in some granola and a variety of fruits. It is sure to be a delicious addition!
2.) Clear Away the Junk Food
We all have a junk food shelf or drawer that includes our favorite brand of chips, cookies, or other processed snacks. We’re only human, after all! But keeping those snack cakes around may actually be hindering you from keeping up a balanced diet. In fact, according to various studies, when junk foods are eliminated and aren’t readily available, people are more likely to grab something healthy instead. If you’re a resident at a Bountiful assisted living community, keep a few healthy options in your room.
3.) Find Veggie-Rich Recipes
Don’t worry, not all of us are Gordon Ramsay and can step into the kitchen and just magically know how to incorporate more veggies into our foods. It’s okay to consult a cookbook! Find one online or while visiting your local retailer. Pick out a few recipes and try them out in the kitchen!
4.) Try Something New
The next time you are at your local grocery store, try grabbing a fruit and vegetable you’ve never cooked with before. Or if you’re a resident in a Bountiful assisted living facility and you are getting dinner, don’t be afraid to order up a dish you haven’t tried! You never know what you might discover.
5.) Switch Up Snacks
Chips and other sugary snacks all have their place, namely, the movie theaters! But keeping some healthy, easy things to grab at home will certainly make a convenient way to include fruits and veggies. If you have never had sweet belle peppers, try keeping a bag in the crisper drawer. Even fruits such as apples, bananas, and oranges that can be left out on the counter will make for a quick go-to. Vitamin C helps boost the immune system, which can help fight off diseases and keep older adults safe.
6.) Fruit Smoothies
If you are a senior who has a hard time eating dense foods, try a fruit smoothie! Easy to make with an affordable blender, you can add greek yogurt, almond milk, fruits, and even veggies such as kale. Kale is considered a superfood, and when blended properly with other ingredients, you won’t even notice the taste.
7.) Seasonal Buys
There are few things as refreshing as an outing to the farmer’s market. Not only is it a great opportunity to get some fresh air and spend time with friends or family, but you can also find great, seasonal produce that is organically grown. Farmer’s markets will have only the best fruits and vegetables that are in season and usually at a really reasonable price.
8.) Try Cooking Vegetarian
If you are someone who enjoys eating meat, the idea of making a vegetarian meal might be off-putting. Don’t worry, however, as there are tons of amazing recipes and dishes that are out there that are more than a simple garden salad. Even making one day a week strictly vegetarian, such as ‘Meatless Mondays’, can help lower your cholesterol.
9.) Frozen is Okay Too!
Constantly buying fresh fruits and vegetables can get a bit expensive, especially because they can spoil relatively quickly. That being said, it’s perfectly fine to buy frozen options! Bagged veggies such as green beans and peas are easy to microwave and steam, making them ready in just a few minutes. Frozen fruits are great to add to those smoothies we talked about, or to include into a bowl of your favorite whole grain cereal or Greek yogurt. Just make sure that you are reading labels and avoiding terms like ‘added sugar’ or ‘heavy syrups’.
10.) Meal Prep
Preparing meals in advance is a great idea! If you are a senior who sometimes struggles with low energy or other health concerns, making food in advance can help you eat well even on the days you aren’t feeling the best.