Healthy Diet, Healthy You

Healthy Diet, Healthy You

Making Smart Choices

Our diet and lifestyle can have a tremendous impact on how we are gracefully greying. Obesity is a major problem in our society.  Not only does extra weight put a strain on our heart, but it also puts a lot of strain on our joints - think of all of the people you know who have required knee or hip replacement surgery. As we age, our metabolism slows down, and our bellies get bigger.  Weight control is difficult to maintain, and makes dieting more of a challenge. 

One of our podcasts is with prominent cardiologist Dr. Joel Kahn. He discusses the importance of a proper diet not only to maintain or lose weight, but also for our overall health and well being. Staying away from sugars, salt, starchy and processed foods and watching our intake of red meat and fatty foods are all important for our health. Eating fresh fruit, vegetables as well as nuts and grains have been shown to be important components of a healthy diet. Eating mindfully and in moderation is critical for those of us who are Gracefully Greying, as well as for our aging parents.

What foods, flavors, and recipes is your state/territory know for, and how do they fit into your healthy eating style?

The USDA has put out MyPlate, MyState, which is the newest component of MyPlate, MyWins and leverages the prime growing and farmers market seasons. MyPlate, MyState asks the questions: What foods, flavors, and recipes is your state/territory known for, and how do they fit into your healthy eating style? Check out the link to discover what is available and abundant in your area.

Foods and flavors from every state and territory in this nation can help us all create lasting healthy eating styles we can enjoy. Healthy eating styles are not rigid plans, but rather ones that can be adapted to include foods that you enjoy that meet your personal and cultural preferences and fit within your budget. The key is finding styles that fit your everyday life, and to make small changes that can add up to big success over time. 

Meet healthy eating goals one at a time! Use the Start Simple with MyPlate App to pick simple daily food goals, see real-time progress, and earn badges along the way. This easy-to-use app can help you make positive changes. Healthy eating can help you achieve a healthier life overall. Get started with Start Simple with MyPlate!

Eating healthy is a journey shaped by many factors, including our stage of life, situations, preferences, access to food, culture, traditions, and the personal decisions we make over time. All your food and beverage choices count. MyPlate offers ideas and tips to help you create a healthier eating style that meets your individual needs and improves your health. For a colorful visual of MyPlate and the 5 food groups, download What's MyPlate All About?.

This synopsis of recommendations of the five food groups is helpful:

Fruits - Focus on whole fruits:

Eat seasonally! Checking what fruits are in season in your area can help save money.

Craving something sweet? Try dried fruits like cranberries, mango, apricots, cherries, or raisins.

To meet your fruit goal—keep fresh fruit rinsed and where you can see it. Reach for a piece when you need a snack.

Vegetables - Vary your veggies:

Vary your veggies by adding a new vegetable to a different meal each day.

Add color to salads with baby carrots, shredded red cabbage, or green beans. Include seasonal veggies for variety throughout the year.

Vegetables go well with a dip or dressing. Try a low-fat dip or hummus with raw broccoli, red and yellow peppers, sugar snap peas, celery, cherry tomatoes or cauliflower.

Grains - Make half your grains whole grains:

Popcorn is a whole grain! Pop a bag of low-fat or fat-free popcorn for a healthier snack.

Whole grain pasta is great in baked dishes or pasta salad. If you choose refined grain pasta, make sure it's enriched by checking the ingredient list.

Ready-to-eat, wholegrain cereal is a tasty breakfast option or can be enjoyed as a whole grain snack.

Protein Foods - Vary your protein routine: 

Make dinner once and serve it twice. Roast a larger cut of lean meat. Make a second meal using the ‘planned-over’ meat.

For car trips, pack a mixture of unsalted nuts, seeds and dried fruit for a crunchy, protein-packed snack.

Keep seafood on hand. Seafood, such as canned salmon, tuna, or crab and frozen fish is quick and easy to prepare.

Dairy - Move to low-fat or fat-free milk or yogurt:

Make a smoothie by blending fat-free milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit. Try bananas, peaches, or mixed berries.

For breakfast try low-fat or fat-free yogurt. Mix in cereal or fruit for extra flavor, texture and nutrients.

Adding 8 oz. of low-fat or fat-free milk to your meal is one of the easiest ways to get dairy.

Our diets are key components of living life fully.

Limits - Drink and eat less sodium, saturated fats and added sugars:

Tips for Salt and Sodium:

Many processed foods contain high amounts of sodium. Choose fresh vegetables, meats, poultry, and seafood when possible.

Using spices or herbs, such as dill, chili powder, paprika, or cumin, and lemon or lime juice, can add flavor without adding salt.

Tips for Saturated Fats:

Keep it lean and flavorful. Try grilling, broiling, roasting, or baking—they don’t add extra fat.

Simple substitutions can help you stay within your saturated fat limit. Try using nonfat yogurt when you make tuna or chicken salad.

Tips for Added Sugars:

Split the sweet treats and share with a family member or friend.

Cut calories by drinking water or unsweetened beverages. Soda, energy drinks, and sports drinks are a major source of added sugars.

Additionally, The National Council on Aging provides healty eating tips for seniors. As they state on their site - 'Giving your body the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight can help you stay active and independent.  You'll also spend less time and money at the doctor.'  This is all great advice, we just need to make smart choices as we eat, exercise, and live life fully.  We would love to hear about some of your favorite recipes and tips.  Share your stories with us.  

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