Simple Ways to Improve Your Nutrition and Feel Your Best
The benefits of proper nutrition can’t be overstated, a fact that rings especially true for older adults looking to strengthen their immune systems or increase their energy levels.
Naturally, mastering the ever-changing “dos” and “don’ts” of nutrition can be overwhelming—but it doesn’t have to be. There are small, actionable steps you can take to get your diet on the right track.
In recognition of National Nutrition Month, we’d like to present a few easy diet tweaks that can help you feel better and live longer. Do your health a favor by adopting one or more of these healthy eating habits.
1. Fill half of your plate with fruits and veggies.
We all know we should eat more fruits and vegetables, but “knowing” is different from “doing.” Make it easy on yourself and pack more produce into your diet by filling up half of your plate with fruits and veggies.
That’s right—pile on the peas, load up on lettuce, and spoon some strawberries onto your dish. You can enjoy them all, guilt-free.
When you fill your plate with nutrient-packed fruits and vegetables, you’re giving your body the vitamins, minerals, and fiber it needs to perform optimally. Incorporating more fruits and veggies into your diet will also lower your blood pressure and diminish your risk of developing heart disease.
2. Eat the rainbow.
Colorful food is good food! For optimal nutrition, the American Heart Association recommends introducing a variety of vibrant fruits and veggies into your diet.
Why? Simply put, you’ll get more nutrients.
According to Food Revolution Network, a fruit or vegetable’s color is determined by the presence of specific phytonutrients. Eating a range of diverse produce ensures you’re getting all of the nutrients your body needs to thrive.
Give yourself a nutritional boost by adding an array of reds, blues, greens, and purples to your plate. Not only will your food look more appealing, but it will keep you from getting stuck in a dietary rut.
3. Master portion control.
Struggling with “portion distortion”? Most of us are. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), “portion distortion” refers to the steady ballooning of average portion sizes in the US. Over the last 20 years, our concept of what constitutes a “normal” serving size has increased significantly. Many of us are sitting down to plates that could serve two to three people!
Fortunately, there are ways to get things under control. To shrink your portions (and your waistline), try making the following changes as put forth by Health.com:
Drink more water: Fill up your glass before and after meals.
Use smaller plates: Trick your brain into thinking you’re eating more than you are.
Eat slowly: Be mindful at mealtime and savor the flavor between bites.
4. Ditch the sugary drinks.
Despite its popularity, soda wreaks havoc on your health. The Nutrition Source states that soda and other sweetened beverages like fruit punch or lemonade pack a whole lot of calories—with little to no nutritional value. Regular consumption of these sugar bombs has been linked to obesity, kidney damage, diabetes, cancer, and a heightened risk of stroke.
Swap your soda for something better: water. In their MyPlate initiative, the USDA recommends drinking plenty of water, around the clock—even if you don’t feel thirsty.
For regular soda drinkers, cutting back can be hard—but it is possible. Here are some tips from Healthline.com:
Start small: Replace just one soda with water per day.
Add flavor: Lemon wedges and cucumber slices take water from “meh” to “mmmmm” without adding a ton of sugar.
Try sparkling water: If you miss the effervescent quality of soda, sparkling water can be a satisfying substitute.
5. Replace sodium with healthy seasonings.
As we age, our taste buds diminish. As a result, you may find yourself adding even more salt to make your food more appealing.
Moderate salt use is okay, but as the American Heart Association indicates, overconsumption of sodium can be linked to higher blood pressure, heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke.
Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, add a dash of fresh herbs and spices to make your meals more palatable. Not only do herbs and spices enhance your food’s taste, but they can also boost its nutritional value. Take your health up a notch with a teaspoon of turmeric, ginger, or garlic—all three are reported to have remarkable health benefits.
At Provision Living, we understand the importance of maintaining a healthy diet, no matter your age. To learn more about our community’s dining options, speak with a Provision Living care consultant today.
This content is for educational purposes only and does not serve as medical advice. If you have any questions about your health, please consult your healthcare provider. If you’re experiencing an emergency, please dial 911.