National Nutrition Month is observed yearly in the month of March. We want to take this time to share some helpful healthy eating and food shopping tips both aging adults and senior caregivers. It can be a challenge, however adopting a healthy lifestyle means learning how to shop for the healthier foods, prepare simple yet nutritious meals, and make better choices.
Food is a very important part of life, and it plays an fundamental role in our health. As we age, it is more so important to watch what we goes into our bodies. Adopting a healthy lifestyle at a younger age can have a very positive impact in your golden years. With that being said, it is never too late to start eating healthier.
According to HealthLine.com “As you age, your caloric needs will probably decrease, while your nutrient needs stay the same or increase. Eating nutrient-rich foods will help you get the vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates, and fats you need.”
It’s important to get most of your calories from nutrient-dense foods, such as the following:
- fruits & veggies
- beans & lentils
- nuts & seeds
- low-fat dairy
- whole grain & lean protein
There are many places that seniors can go grocery shopping, including their local grocery store, farmers market, community garden, butcher shop etc. These places offer a variety of choices for healthy meat, produce and packaged foods at affordable prices. Do take into consideration that there are also many unhealthy foods and snacks at the grocery store, which is why it is important to make healthy decisions when buying food.
Make a Grocery List
A good tip when grocery shopping is to make a plan out your meals for the week and make a detailed shopping list. A grocery properly planned grocery list will keep you within your budget. It will also keep you from buying unnecessary items that may be unhealthy for you. One trick is to keep a notepad in the kitchen (maybe on the refrigerator) and jot down meals you would like to make, or food items you are running out of. Before you go shopping, complete your meal plan for the week and write out a detailed list of items you will need based on your meal plan.
Shop In The Produce Isle First
Another tip is to head to your produce section first. If you fill up your shopping card with healthy fruits & vegetables, it will help get your mindset on healthy eating because you can use this time to stock up on tons of healthy snacks instead of packaged snacks that contain a lot of unhealthy ingredients. It also inadvertently leaves less room in your cart for unhealthy foods.
Read Food Labels
Whether you’re young or old, it is important to learn how to read food labels at any store. The information on the food labels tell you the percentage of minerals and vitamins contained in that particular food. It also tells you the amount of calories, fat percentage, total fiber, sodium and sugar that it may contain as well. It’s important to choose those foods that have the best nutritional qualities, those and even those that are organic if possible, as you shop at your local grocery store.
Don’t Shop When You’re Hungry
When it comes to healthy eating and cooking nutritious meals, you want to make sure that you are buying quality food at your local stores. If you are a senior and unable to shop alone, you can enlist the help of a family member to accompany your. There are also senior services that can provide a companion or caregiver to help you with household chores and shopping. Having someone with you while you shop, or someone that can do the shopping for you is a wonderful way to stick to your list. They can be the reinforcement you need to encourage your healthy food choices. Now aside from having someone help you do you grocery shopping, one thing to remember although it may seem small, is to never go food shopping on an empty stomach. If you are hungry and you go grocery shopping, you may become impulsive and purchase things that are not good for your body. Another reason to not shop when you’re hungry is that you may deviate from your shopping list because you’re in a rush to finish. Even if you have to stop and grab a quick snack on your way to the grocery store, be sure to take care of your hunger first.
Choose Foods That Offer Nutritional Value
As you go on with your food shopping, it’s a good idea to take advantage of the the wide variety of low fat foods that can be found in your grocery store. This includes milk, dairy products, meats, cheeses, as well as pies and cakes. Many of these products are very tasty without all of the fat.
Another thing to watch out for are foods that are high in sugar. This may not be a huge concern for items like milk or diary products, but it can be a concern with low fat baked goods and drinks. A lot of these items are packed with extra sugar to make up for the low fat in the item. This is why it’s important to read your food labels when shopping.
Choose Whole Grains
We’ve talked about a lot of different ways you can ensure a healthy diet & shopping experience, it’s all about preparation and making smart choices. Let’s look at one more thing, that is necessary for a healthy diet. A smart idea is to choose whole grain breads and cereals when shopping. Whole grains contain more fiber and other nutrients than do most processed foods. This is why buying whole grains is the smart and healthy thing to do.
Healthy eating is important for everyone both young and old. Making the decision to eat foods that are low in calories and nutrient rich can help prevent/manage chronic health conditions. Eating healthy also helps you feel more energized and focused.
What you you put into your body affects the way you feel, and your healthy determines how you will spend your golden years. Remember the old saying, “health is wealth”.