Maintain a healthy lifestyle with senior nutrition tips

The old saying “you are what you eat” starts to feel more and more true as we age and our bodies are less resilient. Healthy eating can make a significant positive impact on our health, while poor eating can lead to sluggishness, indigestion and diseases. We wholeheartedly believe this at Reformed Church Home, and have been introducing more and more nutritious mealtime selections through our partnership with MemoryMeals®. This unique nutrition-planning program is now an integral part of our food service offering. Memory Meals uses the latest in nutrition research to create special dietary menus that emphasize foods shown to support brain health. With that in mind, here are a few important nutrition tips for seniors as we head into the warmer summer months.

As your body changes throughout life, you’ll notice changes in what foods work best for your body. For example, an entire pizza eaten by an active teenage boy likely will have a different impact when consumed by an 80-year-old. Seniors typically need to cut back on salt, incorporate more fruits and vegetables, drink plenty of fluids, and eat a well-rounded diet. Listening to your body and talking with your doctor are the best ways to determine the best eating habits for you as you age.

Once you know the basic guidelines for healthy eating, taking steps to get there can be difficult. Here are some tips to get you started on incorporating healthier eating into your life:

  • Use herbs for flavor: If you need to cut back on salt in your diet, it doesn’t mean all your food has to be bland. Using more herbs and spices in your food can compensate for the lack of salt and add delicious flavor to your meals.
  • Drink fluids: Drinking plenty of water throughout the day is key to maintaining your overall health. Tea, milk and coffee are other acceptable choices, but nothing beats plain water. You should also try to limit your intake of sugary drinks like juice, soda and diet drinks made with artificial sweeteners. Adding lemon, cucumber or orange slices to your water adds a healthier flavor boost than processed sugar and is refreshing on warm summer days.
  • Plan ahead: Planning healthy meals ahead of time is a great way to set yourself up for success. Perhaps plan all of your week’s meals on the weekend and get groceries ahead of time. Or maybe you can make extra of a few healthy meals so you can freeze the leftovers for use later in the week. Writing down the weekly menu will help keep you on track.
  • Eat with others: Cooking and eating with other people makes mealtimes far more enjoyable and can help you stay on track with healthy eating. At home, team up with a friend who also wants to eat healthy, trading off who cooks a meal one night a week. At Reformed Church Home, mealtimes are great opportunities to socialize with your neighbors in our cozy dining rooms, located on each individual floor.

Taking these and other steps to eat well as you age will go a long way toward improving your health and quality of life for years to come. You can find more resources on nutrition for seniors through the National Institute on Aging and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

For more information on Memory Meals or the Reformed Church Home senior living community, contact Andrea Walls, director of Marketing, at 732-607-9230 or awalls@rchnj.org.