Call for Consultation:(650) 722-2766
Getting a balanced diet takes effort, especially as we age. Getting a balanced diet during a global pandemic can be even more difficult. In the past, we’ve discussed how as we age there are health factors that can negatively impact our diet. Oral health can make chewing difficult, causing people to avoid foods that are not easy to chew. If a person’s mobility decreases, one might not be able to get to the grocery store on a regular basis or even be able to prepare their own meals. We talk about nutrition often at Be Active Be Well. Proper nutrition is arguably the foundation of good health. Eating a balanced diet with a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins and grains can prolong some of the effects of aging, as well as fight off disease, illness, obesity and even mental illness. How can an aging adult eat well daily?
- Do your homework: Take note of what you have in your pantry. Plan out your meals ahead of time. Make a list of the items you will need for those meals. Plan to include all of the food groups in your daily meals: Vegetables, fruits, proteins, grains, and dairy or calcium rich dairy alternatives. If you have special dietary needs or restrictions, research alternative foods before you shop and discuss alternatives with your doctor or a nutritionist. Plan to purchase enough food to last until your next grocery purchase. Myplate.gov is a great resource for meal planning and nutrition tips.
- Shop intentionally: Buy fresh seasonal fruits and vegetables. They will be more affordable than out of season options. In the canned section look for proteins and vegetables with low sodium, and fruits in 100% juice. Some affordable and healthy protein options are canned beans or all varieties, and canned fish such as tuna, sardines and salmon. Frozen entrees, fruits, vegetables and berries can also be a healthy option. Read the ingredients. Look for whole grains and natural ingredients that you can pronounce. Purchasing a mixture of fresh, canned and frozen foods can help your groceries last longer. If shopping in-store is not possible for you, stores like Walmart and Target allow you to shop through their apps, and select “drive-up” to pick up your groceries without getting out of your vehicle. You can even designate a different pick-up person if you need a friend or loved one to pick up your groceries. Some grocery and meal delivery apps include Instacart, Postmates and Ubereats. For an extra delivery fee, you can have groceries delivered to your front door.
- Be mindful in the kitchen: Organize your kitchen, or ask a friend or family member to help you. Keep spices, ingredients, cooking utensils, pots and pans, and other needed items in places that are easily accessible. Make extras or double the recipe and freeze a portion for a later meal. Save leftovers for later meals. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. If you struggle with cooking, ask a friend or loved one to help with meal prepping. Prep ingredients and freeze them ahead of time. When it’s time to cook, simply heat in the oven, crockpot, or stovetop.
With a little planning and intention you can eat balanced meals at any age, and in spite of any restrictions. Be well and eat well, friends!
DISCLAIMER : This article contains information that is intended to help the readers be better informed regarding exercise and health care. It is presented as general advice on health care. Always consult your doctor for your individual needs. Before beginning any new exercise program it is recommended that you seek medical advice from your personal physician. This article is not intended to be a substitute for the medical advice of a licensed physician. The reader should consult with their doctor in any matters relating to his/her health.