As we age it becomes increasingly more important to eat healthy, nutritious foods. While growing older means the body requires fewer calories, those calories must pack a powerful punch. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, for optimum wellness seniors should consume one and a half to two servings of fruit, up to two and a half cups of vegetables, 1,200 milligrams of calcium, 6 to 7 ounces of grains, and 65 grams of protein each day. Here are a few simple ways to make it easier to eat healthy every day and meal ideas to get started on the road to better health.
- Shop the frozen aisles. Frozen vegetables are easy to cook on the stovetop, in the microwave or steamer, and can be added to pasta, rice or soups. Frozen fruits can be blended into healthy smoothies or added to pancakes or oatmeal.
- Have healthy snacks on hand. During the day, reach for a cheese stick, raw carrots and dip, or a banana, instead of junk food high in carbohydrates, sugar, sodium and saturated fat.
- Make lunch the big meal of the day. The body needs most calories when the day is in full swing, so aim to eat the big meal at noon, rather than in the evening when fatigue sets in.
- Consider a grocery delivery service. If getting to the store is problematic, consider having the store deliver to your home. There are many reasonable grocery delivery services that can bring fresh fruits and vegetables to almost any doorstep.
For seniors who are left wondering how to put it all together once the wholesome food is in the door, here are a few meal ideas.
- Oatmeal, combined with a half-cup of fresh or frozen fruit and Greek yogurt
- A hard-boiled egg with a side of fruit and a slice of whole-wheat toast
- A frozen fruit smoothie, with added Greek yogurt and a few greens
- A whole-wheat pita with hummus, sliced cucumbers, greens, feta cheese, and red peppers
- Black beans mixed with cooked brown rice, served with tortillas, low fat sour cream, and diced avocados
- A thawed salmon steak, sliced onions and tomatoes, and a sprig of basil wrapped in tin foil and baked at 300 degrees for approximately 15 minutes, with a side of rice
- A whole-wheat flour tortilla filled with canned tuna, mayonnaise and a handful of greens like spinach or kale, with mixed vegetables
- A sweet potato, cooked in the microwave for four to five minutes, then topped with a mixture of Greek yogurt, honey and some black beans