These days, more than ever before, people of all ages are concerned about health and nutrition. It's not surprising— Cincinnati seniors are active well into their retirement years, and the Baby Boomer generation is active, interested in business, cultural and sports activities and leading a very different lifestyle from that of their own parents.
Senior living options today encourage continued participation in the familiar patterns of life; the only area in which they might offer adjustment is in switching to a healthier diet. Many Americans have, unfortunately, fallen into less than healthy habits when it comes to eating. And now is a perfect time to make a change– no matter what your age or lifestyle.
Making a Lifestyle Change
Though you might not have heard of this particular health observance, May was Mediterranean Diet Month.
In 1993, Oldways and the Harvard School of Public Health introduced a series of innovative, healthful dietary guidelines based on the eating habits of peoples in the Mediterranean region—who were found to live longer and enjoy better health well into old age. The principles of the dietary plan have been confirmed through numerous studies over the past two decades.
While adopting this eating plan does require something of a lifestyle change, it entails no restrictive rules, no calorie counting and few forbidden foods.
It may sound "too good to be true," but it is actually "too good to pass up." And the coming summer months are the perfect time to make the switch to a better way of eating. The regimen is perfect for a senior living situation, because it encourages fresh, natural, seasonal ingredients and celebrates the pleasures of eating and the joys of sharing good food with family and friends.
- Eat plenty of fresh vegetables
- Good fats– those found in olives and olive oil, nuts and avocados— are encouraged
- Seafood and fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial
- Indulge in meat sparingly
- Enjoy dairy products and cheeses in moderation
- Eat fruit as dessert
- Consume plenty of fiber, and always eat breakfast!
Benefits of the eating plan— which relies heavily on common sense, simple preparation and good taste— are increased energy, improved cardiovascular health, reduced risk of stroke, relief from the pain and debilitating effects of some chronic diseases, and lower cholesterol levels and blood pressure. The thoroughly researched results cannot be disputed, and following the diet plan can lead to better weight control.
Making It Work
You can find a wealth of Mediterranean Diet recipes online.
Breakfast is important: Think fiber in the morning to give you a day's worth of energy and start your day off right: Oatmeal is a great choice; but yogurt with fresh fruit, accompanied by whole grain toast with cinnamon or honey is another appropriate choice.
For lunch, think colorful, fresh and crunchy. Forego the meat and potatoes or sandwich options and select simple green salads drizzled with olive oil and topped with crumbled goat cheese and olives, accompanied by shrimp, fish or grilled chicken.
At dinner, you might enjoy grilled vegetables with a small portion of meat, a serving of pasta topped with a fresh marinara sauce, or a small pizza with spinach and mushrooms. If you substitute a vegetarian meal for a traditional "stick to your ribs" entree, you can even enjoy the occasionally scoop of gelato or serving of Italian tiramisu.
Residents of Cincinnati senior living communities will find that the Mediterranean diet plan is easy to adopt. Because there are no requirements for weighing, measuring or counting, the plan can be adapted to all circumstances. Also, there is no reason to feel guilty about any choices you make. If you indulge on occasion, just cut back the next day or the next week.