Aren’t you just sick and tired of the experts telling us seniors how to eat? I just wish they would make up their minds regarding what foods are best in a senior diet. As soon as they add an item, they take it away. I give up!
There are a few guidelines however, that I think make sense, assuming that a person doesn’t have any physical conditions that might preclude these ideas, such as diabetes, lactose intolerance, allergies, ulcers and the like.
For starters, I’ve learned the importance of healthy teeth or dentures. If a person has difficulty chewing or missing teeth to the point where certain foods are eliminated from their diet, good nutrition goes out the window. But really, doesn’t it seem foolish to miss out on some of your favorite foods and a healthy lifestyle just because your teeth won’t allow it?
I think one of the problems in our age group is that we eat what we like, never mind if it’s good for us or not. After all, haven’t we at least earned that right? Who cares if it’s fattening? And who wants to count carbs? Bring on that ice cream, chips and dip, a Big Mac, what the heck. Alas, this is our downfall, my friends.
My daughter-in-law, Barbara, is a registered dietitian and nutritionist, and I learned a great deal from her because she has taught me the value of reading food labels -- this is a real eye opener. She tells me what to look for when choosing a certain can, jar or frozen food item, that way I can be assured of getting some vitamins and minerals, not just a bunch of filler stuff like bread crumbs or water. According to Barbara, a label must list ingredients in order of quantity. For example, if a product names corn syrup as the first item on its list of ingredients that means corn syrup has the highest percentage of its contents. And some products have virtually no food value, but they taste good, so we eat them.
As a result of all this, I find that there are two simple guidelines for those of us who are over say, 65 or so and want to stay healthy yet enjoy some of our favorite meals. First of all, make good food choices. Read the labels and chose the one with the least amount of fat. As for canned goods, the same holds true, read the label and choose the one with the least amount of salt. When ordering in a restaurant, it’s best to choose the meat, chicken or fish that is broiled rather than breaded or deep fat fried. Try it --- you’ll like it!
Secondly, the key word is moderation. At our age we’re not as physically active as we once were and therefore didn’t need those second helpings, or the full order of barbecued ribs. Try just cutting down a little, you may find your belt can now be one notch tighter.
In any case, take good care of yourself and eat right. Don’t be like the older gentleman I saw recently at the grocery store, all he had in his cart was a quart of gin and a six pack of Ensure. Is this the Oscar Goodman diet perhaps?
Nevada resident Carolyn Schneider is author of the book, “Bing: On the Road to Elko”, about her uncle, Bing Crosby. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org .