Usually by this time of year, many Canadians feel they’ve had their fill of turkey until next Thanksgiving. Traditionally, this is one food people are happy to consume on consecutive days at least a couple of times a year.
But as we hunker down for winter, it is worth remembering the weather can make it difficult for some to do regular food shopping. This inconvenience is likely to affect seniors and people with mobility issues and can have an impact on their efforts to maintain a healthy diet.
While there is little medical evidence to suggest you should consume more calories during the coldest months of the year, sub-consciously we are inclined towards rich, hearty foods.
While fuelling up is not necessary, eating properly should be. Dietitians urge people trying to make changes to their diet to adopt a gradual, rather than radical, approach as it offers the best chance of long-term success.
A good diet can make a big difference to your well-being, and to help, this spring the new menu from Heart to Home Meals will contain more dietary information. This is in direct response to customers wanting to be better informed so they can make smarter choices about food.
According to Heart to Home Meals consultant dietitian, Andrea Olynyk, eating right plays a major part in a senior’s quality of life and there are some dietary suggestions that need to be considered:
Sodium – in general, the recommendation is to lower your sodium intake but often dietitians relax those restrictions for seniors who don’t like salt-reduced food. It is better for a senior to eat quality food products that have a little more salt, and also the necessary nutrients, than not eating.
Fats – while they offer an energy boost to seniors who may be eating smaller portions, we have to remember not all fats are created equal and some are better for you than others. It is necessary to monitor saturated and trans fatty acids and at the same time lean more towards monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. The latter includes Omega-3 that is good for your heart. Salmon is one of the best foods for Omega-3.
Carbohydrates – are a key energy source but have to be carefully managed to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. When possible, spread your carbohydrates throughout the day.
Protein – as you age your muscle mass begins to decline. Seniors need to increase their protein levels in comparison to a younger person with a similar body type and weight to help repair and maintain muscle tissue.
Fibre – staying on the move is not just something you do in the form of exercise, it is also something your body has to do internally. Fibre is the catalyst that needs to be upped as you get older. You also need to make sure you are drinking plenty of water.
Sugar – it is hard to ignore a sweet tooth but try to keep in check foods and drinks with added sugars, many times there are usually better options somewhere else in the aisles.
Vitamin D – the best sources are sunshine and drinking milk. The former is difficult at this time of year and traditionally the latter is not popular with seniors. Therefore, consider taking a daily Vitamin D3 supplement.
When it comes to the process of eating, many of us regard food the same way as a car driver looks at gas, the fuel needs to get into the vehicle as quickly as possible. But to be a smart eater you need to take a more considered approach to what is on your plate. Some health advisors suggest Mindful Eating.
This involves eating slowly without distraction and learning how to distinguish between actual hunger and non-hunger triggers. Since it takes roughly 20 minutes for the brain to get the message from your stomach you are full, eating quickly means there is more chance of unnecessary food being consumed.
Slow but sure could be an important ingredient towards improving your health. To get an idea of the concept of mindful eating, in its most extreme form, check out the second half of this article that explains the concept through eating ONE raisin.
Mindful eating is based on appreciating your food and understanding the link between how you consume it and how it contributes to your well-being.
It could be just the approach some of us need in 2019.