PRACTICAL TIPS FOR PROPER NUTRITION

At Good Food, Good Deeds our goal is to provide menus that are simple, quick, and delicious. But though they’re easy, they don’t stint on nutrition! As Linda Gray saw when she went to lending a helping hand to the Meals On Wheels in Richmond, Virginia, a lot of care goes into the food preparation. At Meals On Wheels, nutrition is priority number one. That’s important—according to Teresa A. Marshall, M.D. at the University of Iowa, up to 80 percent of seniors may be deficient in four or more nutrients. This is due not only to increased difficulties with making balanced meals, but also because our bodies change as we age: we absorb nutrients less efficiently, and our sense of taste becomes diminished, meaning healthy foods may become less appealing to eat.

This is what makes “Good Food, Good Deeds” essential viewing—rethinking how to eat is the key to ensuring seniors are healthy, active, and balanced. So each week in the studio I prepare—with the invaluable assistance of my good friend Florence Henderson—scrumptious, nourishing, and simple meals that are high on health and low on cost.

You don’t even have to radically change the way you plan your menus, which would be unrealistic for many seniors. Instead there are simple steps you can take to make the food you already love lower in calories, sodium, and unhealthy fats and richer in fiber, vitamins, and minerals—so they’re better for your heart, brain, and the rest of your body. You can be kind to both your taste buds and your waistline!

Here are 5 practical tips:

  • Instead of salt, why not get creative with seasonings like garlic powder, cayenne pepper, cumin, ginger, curry powder, and other delicious spices in your cabinet? Use these ingredients to give sauces and dressings a savory burst without jacking up the sodium.
  • Swap out butter for heart-healthy cooking oils like olive and canola when roasting, sautéing, or stir frying. These oils contain healthy fats that help drive down cholesterol levels.
  • Salads are a great way to pack more nutritious produce into your diet, but not all salads are healthy. Dressings can be full of sodium, fat, and calories. The good news is, it’s really very easy to make your own tasty, healthy dressings at home, and as an added bonus you can save money, too! Visit our website for some delectable recipes that are ready in a snap.
  • Not a huge veggie fan? Try roasting or grilling your veggies instead of steaming or boiling to make them tastier and more appealing. Toss eggplant or zucchini slices, mushrooms, or bell peppers on the grill along with your chicken, or roast up some Brussels sprouts or butternut squash to give them a nutty, sweet flavor.
  • Refined sugar and starchy carbohydrates in prepared desserts—not to mention the hidden salt they often contain—really take their toll on our systems. Why not treat yourself to a colourful fruit salad that satisfies a sweet tooth, fills you up, and delivers a host of vitamins, fiber, and antioxidants?

You can find my recipes for all the delicious meals we cook on the show, as well as videos and lots of smart health tips, on our website. Most importantly, you can find out how we can end senior hunger by 2020. Please visit http://www.mowaa.org.

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