By Joy Pape
1. Eat the right amount. You may wonder what that is. It differs for everyone. The right amount has to do with the energy you take in and how it relates to the energy you expend. Eating too much for you causes weight gain, which can increase your risk for other problems. On the other hand, eating too little may not give you the nutrients you need to be healthy. If you’ve been relatively healthy and active and your activity has been the same over the years, then eat about the same. Some people become less active as they get older. If so, cut back on the amount you are used to eating. Eat the right amount for YOU.
2. Drink fluids. So many of my patients don’t drink enough. Some reasons for this are: Some people lose their sense of thirst, some cut back on fluids to avoid having to go to the bathroom often, and some of the medications they take can cause them to lose fluids. I recommend drinking water or any type of drink that is calorie free. How much? Six eight-ounce glasses a day or more if you will be out in the heat.
3. Read the label. It is important to be able to read and understand the Nutrition Facts label. This tells you what nutritional value is in the food you are eating. Understanding this information will help you for #4, below.
4. Choose food packed with nutrition. Purchase and eat food that has the most nutritional bang for your buck. This means you need to be aware of what’s in the food you eat. Choose foods that are high in protein, vitamins, minerals and fiber. Some examples are eggs, cheese, seafood, poultry, beef, fresh colorful vegetables, and beans. It’s not unusual to see “junk” foods, foods that don’t have much nutrition, on sale. Don’t be tempted; it’s not really a bargain. Spend your money on food that promotes your health, and save on your health care bills.
5. Enjoy what you eat. Enjoying your food is not just about what the food is, and how it tastes. It can also be related to your sense of taste, smell, medicine, and who you eat with. Your sense of taste and smell can change with age. Some medicine you take can also affect your sense of taste and/or smell. Smell is more related to taste than most of us know. The way you prepare food, including the spices you use, can help. And, let’s face it, the company you keep can make a difference. Perhaps you live alone or aren’t particularly happy with the people you eat with. Spice up your food some and make it a habit to have a few meals a week with people you enjoy.
Learn more by joining us at the upcoming Senior Consortium Nutrition Meetings. Dates, times, and place to be decided. We’ll let you know when I’ll be there, and I hope to see you there.
Senior Seasonal Nutrition Buy of the Month
As vegetables and fruits come into season, they offer seniors the best nutritional buys for their buck.
September is a harvest month with a huge variety. My pick for you are fresh tomatoes at about $1.99 per pound; cucumbers, four for $2.00; and blueberries and raspberries, which vary in price, but are still cheaper now than during winter time. Buy them now and freeze some for the winter!
Joy Pape is a Nurse Practitioner at the Weill Cornell Comprehensive Weight Control Center. She is a resident of the West Village and has her own practice here in our West Village. firstname.lastname@example.org, (212) 933-1756.