Eat Like Your Life Depends On It
The way that we think about and consume food has a direct link to the quality of life that we enjoy. It is a key component to managing chronic illnesses, boosting immunity, building strong bones, increasing energy and vitality, keeping our minds sharp, and even increasing our longevity. How we eat can also dramatically help us keep other illnesses such as hypertension and diabetes at bay.
Taking pleasure in our meals is one of the best ways to enjoy our relationship with food and the nutrients we need to be well. Here are a few tips to eat like our life depends on it:
Make it Special: Turn on some favorite music, put out the tablecloth, light some candles, open the windows, use the special plates. And why not? The point is to slow down the meal process and make it festive and enjoyable. By slowing down your food consumption it will help you digest properly and help you avoid overeating which can easily happen when we eat quickly on the go. Even if this isn’t possible every day, make it a point to do this regularly in the week.
Add Variety to Your Food: Even if your diet is limited in what you can eat, it is important to add variety. Prepare and present your foods in different ways to prevent boredom. Eating seasonally is a great way to introduce a natural rhythm to what you eat.
Travel with your Food: One of the best ways to add variety to your routine is to try foods from other cultures. Create a “food tourism” group to share and prepare meals together from around the world. Eating in a community setting naturally helps us enjoy mealtime.
Learn Something New: Take a community cooking class. Whether you would like to learn some new techniques or finally learn how to cook, there are cooking classes out there for every level. Participating in the preparation of food can be a wonderful way to think about and invest in the foods you eat.
Spice It Up: Add lots of flavor to your food by using fresh herbs and spices like fresh basil, parsley, cilantro, mint, garlic, ginger, etc. They are virtually calorie free flavoring.
Don’t Deprive Yourself: Rather than depriving yourself of your favorite foods, (unless medically necessary) simply enjoy a smaller portion size. By making room in your diet for splurges, you will be more likely to build a lasting lifestyle change.
Eat Your Greens First. By starting your meal with a fresh salad, this will address your immediate hunger and help you fill up on nutritionally crucial foods first. Swap out the croutons and add crunch with nuts and crisp fruit. Toss salads in a light dressing rather than placing the bottle on the table. This will help reduce the amount used.
Talk to your Doctor.Talk to your docotor about your diet and what will be best for you to eat to meet your health goals. Be sure to report changes in appetite as this can be an indicator of something else going on with your body.
Eat for Your Activity Level: While staying active is one of the other crucial components for health and vitality, if you are prevented from being active due to a health condition or injury, adapting your calorie intake is crucial. Bodies that are less active, naturally need less calories in a day. According to the National Institute on Aging:
A woman over 50 who is:
- Not physically active needs about 1600 calories a day
- Somewhat physically active needs about 1800 calories a day
- Very active needs about 2000 calories a day
A man over 50 who is:
- Not physically active needs about 2000 calories a day
- Somewhat physically active needs about 2200-2400 calories a day
- Very active needs about 2400-2800 calories a day
If you are concerned that an aging loved one may not be getting the proper nutrition or enjoying their highest quality of life, you have Sound Options for care within the home. As the Puget Sound’s premiere eldercare provider, one of the many services we can provide is a Certified Nursing Assistant to help plan, shop for, and prepare meals within the home. After a health event, such as a fall or death of a loved one, changes in diet or spoiled food in the home can be indicators that assistance may be needed to age well in place. For further details, give us a call today at 800.628.7649.
Published on September 16, 2013.