It is always important to nourish your body, but especially during winter months when we are more susceptible to colds and the flu. Senior health often dictates certain dietary restrictions or requirements, and your doctor can advise you on what your body needs (or must avoid). Residents of independent living communities typically plan their own meals, therefore have more control over choosing the right foods. Below are some ideas for healthy, tasty and nutritious food to consume this winter.
1. Fruits and vegetables
– choose organic whenever possible. Studies show that people who follow a largely plant-based diet have fewer health issues and live longer.
- Berries provide us with fiber, potassium, calcium, and magnesium.
- Leafy greens are full of iron and calcium.
- Apples contain a lot of pectins which helps to prevent cholesterol buildup in the lining of blood vessel walls.
- Broccoli and cauliflower are high in vitamin C to enhance your immune system.
- Garlic and onions are a delicious addition to salads, soups and entrees, and they reduce bacteria in the body and support a healthy cardiovascular system.
2. Lean proteins
should always be present in a senior’s diet. There is a gradual loss of muscle mass and bone mass as we age. Consumption of protein (found in meat, fish, dairy, legumes) repairs muscle and bone mass loss and can prevent bone fractures. Bake or sauté your lean protein in a little olive oil, garlic and lemon juice for a delicious and healthy entrée.
- Fish is a good source of protein without the heavy saturated fats in other meats and provide brain-and-heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
- Skinless chicken or turkey are great in soup, along with lots of vegetables. Soup is a comforting and delicious winter food, especially when it’s home-made. If you go with a store-bought soup, choose one low in sodium.
3. Whole grains
provide your body with fiber and nutrients. Eat some oatmeal (high in fiber and zinc) with cinnamon and raisins in the morning, choose a multigrain bread for your sandwich at lunchtime and swap white pasta with whole wheat pasta at dinnertime.
are a healthy and delicious snack. They have a lot of protein and healthy fat which can help lower cholesterol and improve your cardiovascular system. Make sure to eat them in moderation as they are very calorie dense, and be mindful of allergies.
5. Hydrate yourself.
Hot water with lemon is a tasty and healthy way to stay hydrated.
For an additional benefit, invite a friend or family member to cook with you and share your meal.