Couple with groceries

Eat Your Vegetables…and Fruits, Too!

“No dessert until you eat your broccoli!”

“An apple a day keeps the doctor away!”

We all remember these and other familiar phrases from our childhoods. While we may not have listened when we were kids, (because…cookies) it turns out all those grown-ups were right. Eating vegetables and fruit is more important now than ever because as we get older, our bodies require better types of “fuel” to maintain a healthy weight and overall good health.

There are many reasons to become more aware of your diet as you get older. Overall, we need fewer calories because as we age, we burn fewer calories. So, it’s important to stay as active as possible. Check out these tips on how to stay fit and active on this Eastcastle Place exercise blog.

As you age, metabolism (how your body burns calories) slows down causing you to need fewer calories to maintain a healthy weight. The expressions “you can’t out-exercise a bad diet” and “losing weight is 95% diet and 5% exercise” are true. Staying active is important but healthy eating is paramount.

As with anything, moderation is key and getting advice from a trained professional is a great way to start. Ask your doctor for referrals to a licensed nutritionist. Here’s a list of local professionals from Aurora Healthcare’s Nutrition Services to help you get started.

In an article on the website Healthline’s Guide to Healthy Eating for Seniors, “According to the National Resource Center on Nutrition and Aging, 1 in 4 older Americans has poor nutrition….to meet your nutritional needs, eat foods that are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. Limit foods that are high in processed sugars, saturated and trans fats, and salt.”

The bottom line? Focus on eating a variety of these foods:

*Vegetables and fruits-from broccoli to salad and from apples to berries, these should be the foundation of your diet

*Beans and lentils-three bean salad, lentil soup and hummus are all great ways to increase your intake of these important healthy foods

*Nuts and seeds-almonds, sunflower seeds, cashews and peanut butter are delicious and healthy

*Whole grains-look for 100% whole grain as the first ingredient on bread, crackers and cereals

*Low fat dairy-cheese heads rejoice! Cheese, milk and low-sugar yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, are all great choices!

*Lean protein-the rule of thumb is the fewer legs, the better. Fish have no legs, chickens and turkeys have two and cows and pigs have four, so focus on fish and poultry as a rule of thumb

How do you know if you’re eating enough fruits and vegetables? Check out these 5 Tricks for Getting Enough Fruits and Veggies from the website Everyday Health.

During the summer, it’s much easier to get fresh fruit and vegetables and to incorporate them into your meals. Here are some ideas for sweet and savory cold soups from this recent article in The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Whip up a tureen of gazpacho and invite some of your Eastcastle Place friends over to share it! Or enjoy the great healthy options prepared by Eastcastle Place’s fabulous dining services team.