Remember the saying, “You are what you eat?” Make it your motto. When you choose a variety of colorful fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins, it will make you feel vibrant and healthy inside and out.
Eating healthy does not need to be difficult. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate. Build a healthy plate with foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins. Here are some suggestions:
- Color your plate. Fill ½ your plate with a variety of fruits and vegetables, especially dark green, red and green vegetables. Add fruits and vegetables as snacks
- Choose whole grain breads, cereals, pasta and brown rice. Also, fiber-rich cereals can help your digestive system.
- Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products. Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help maintain healthy bones. Include three servings of calcium and vitamin D per day to help keep bones healthy. If lactose intolerance is an issue, try lactose-free or soy milk.
- Variety is key. Vary protein choices such as seafood, nuts, beans, lean meats, fish, poultry and eggs.
- Decrease intake of sodium and empty calories from fats and sugars. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt. Limit intake of saturated fats such as desserts, cheese and fried foods.
- Eat fresh foods; avoid processed foods such as sausages, hotdogs, bacon, pizza and canned foods.
- Use caution with condiments like soy sauce, ketchup, pickles and olives.
- Watch your portions. Older adults need fewer calories than younger adults. Try to use a smaller plate. When eating out, choose lower calorie menu items and dishes that include vegetables, fruits and whole grains.
- Exercise. Always speak with your physician before starting an exercise program. Pick exercises and activities that you enjoy, and start by doing what you can.
- At Masonic Village at Sewickley and Elizabethtown, special icons designate “sodium-smart” options with less than 280 mg per 100 grams of food and “fat-smart” options which provide 10 grams of fat or less per 100 grams of food. The goal of these icons is not to limit or dictate what people eat, but to identify choices for those who wish to make healthier selections. Consider these guidelines in your everyday food choices.