March is National Nutrition Month
This year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward!”
How, as a senior, is the best way to do that? Here are some tips:
1. When you prepare your own meals, fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Choose from a variety of leafy greens (like spinach or chard), cruciferous vegetables (like cabbage or broccoli), or other brightly colored vegetables (like sweet peppers or carrots). While potatoes, corn, and peas can be very nutritious, they’re higher calorie than their non-starchy counterparts, so avoid them in this largest partition of your plate. Then, fill a half of the remaining half (a quarter) with a whole grain (like brown rice or quinoa) or starchy vegetable. Place a 2-3 ounce portion of a lean protein in the last section, like white meat, skinless chicken, fish, or legumes.
2. Snack smart! Try to keep snacks under 200 calories. Think an ounce of cheese and an apple, or a banana and a tablespoon of peanut butter. These are also examples of good snacks for people with diabetes, as they include a protein/fat source with a carbohydrate source.
3. Replace sugar sweetened beverages in your diet. These are items like soda, many alcoholic beverages, blended coffee beverages, and juices with added sugar (not 100% juice). Try drinking herbal tea (without added milk or sugar), essence sparkling water, or just plain old water!
4. Put down the salt shaker. Most of our food in the United States has too much salt already. There is usually no need to add more at the table. Even fresh vegetables and meals prepared at home taste better unencumbered by a lot of added salt.
5. Move smartly. Most can do a little bit. If you’re not sure what you can do, ask your doctor how you can safely get moving. Studies have shown that continued exercise as we age can help maintain muscle mass. Be smart and safe!