While we’ve emphasized how important physical activity is in maintaining total wellness as an older adult, we know that eating healthfully is just as important. Eating well can reduce your risk of developing a number of health concerns like diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and even some kinds of cancer.
Taking Steps to Eat Well
Eating well goes beyond flash-in-the-pan dieting programs. It’s a lifestyle. Depending on how you eat now, you may want to start by making one small change at a time. This means anything from gradually cutting back on your sodium intake (you can start by removing the salt shaker from your table to make sure you don’t add extra sodium to your food) to keeping track of your calorie intake.
Getting the right amount of calories every day means that you’ll have plenty of energy to keep you active. And it helps regulate your weight as your body stores the calories you don’t burn in a day. Eating more calories than your body needs to support your level of activity leads to extra pounds and increased health risks.
According to the National Institute on Aging, women over 50 who don’t get much exercise outside of daily tasks should consume about 1600 calories a day. More active senior women should move towards 2200 according to their increased activity. The calorie count for an inactive older adult man is the same as that for the most active senior woman—at around 2000 to 2200 a day. This number gradually increases to 2800 calories for more active men.
What to Eat
At Episcopal Retirement, we know that even though healthcare providers and wellness experts extol the virtues of eating healthfully, it can still be difficult to eat right when you don’t know many healthy recipes.
With our retirement communities celebrating Derby over the weekend, we’ve had the kitchen teams at our retirement communities put together two simple recipes that are perfect for a health snack or a dish to pass at a potluck party and will help you get started on the path to healthy eating.
Broiled Banana Medallions
This recipe is a no-muss, no-fuss dessert that’s great for sharing.
What you need
- 4 just ripened bananas
- ¼ cup of packed brown sugar
- 1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1. Turn on your broiler and let it heat up as you prepare your ingredients.
2. Peel the bananas and cut them crosswise into ½ inch slices.
3. Mix the brown sugar and lime juice in a medium mixing bowl then add the bananas and toss gently.
4. Spread the sliced bananas in a shallow baking pan and broil about 3-5 minutes or until the sugar begins to caramelize. Serve warm.
Healthy Homemade Guacamole
Serve this tasty dish as a spread on whole wheat crostini or as a dip for fresh veggies and whole grain tortilla chips.
What you need
- 1 ½ Tablespoons coarsely chopped red onion
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 1 clove of garlic
- 1 ripe avocado
- 1 Tablespoon cilantro leaves
- A pinch of salt
1. Slice the avocado in half and carefully remove the pit. Scoop out the flesh and add it to a blender or food processor with lime juice, garlic, and salt.
2. Blend until smooth and pour into a serving bowl.
3. Stir the chopped red onion into the avocado mixture.
4. Garnish with cilantro.
These recipes provide a start to a habit of healthy eating that will keep you living well into the future and help you stay independent as you age— not to mention the fact that you’ll look and feel better. It’s never too late to start living a healthy lifestyle, no matter your age or level of fitness.