As we age, proper nutrition and maintaining a balanced diet become more and more important. According to Statistics Canada, 34% of Canadians aged 65 years and older are at risk for poor nutrition, and with summer fun, smart eating can go by the wayside. Here are some easy tips to help you maintain good eating habits this summer:
1. Eat what’s in season
Canada’s Food Guide suggests that a balanced diet includes 7-10 daily servings of vegetables. Treat yourself to cherries, fresh peas, asparagus and strawberries this June, as well as tomatoes, raspberries, melons and cabbage when July rolls around. These fruits and veggies are easy to find and inexpensive to buy, so when you see them in a grocery store near you, pick them up and get creative with how you get your daily intake of fruits and vegetables.
2. More than H2O
As we age, our hydration needs change and we require more fluids especially when the weather is warm. Eating foods with a high water content like watermelon, cucumbers, lettuce and celery can help you reach your hydration goals. Or, get creative with how you hydrate by drinking coconut water, or make a refreshing spritzer with fruit juice and sparkling water! Infused water is another great way to get some variety in your eight glasses a day, without added sugar; try mixing new flavours like strawberry and basil or lavender and cucumber.
3. Consider Vitamin D
Did you know that when you are over the age of 50, your need for Vitamin D increases? You can increase your Vitamin D intake by consuming more fatty fish like tuna and salmon, but the easiest way to do it in the summertime is to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. Enjoying responsible time in the sun can help increase your Vitamin D levels; try 20-25 minutes a day, and make sure you’re applying sunscreen and wearing the proper protective clothing. If you are considering taking Vitamin D supplements, check with your doctor first.
4. Go for Green & Orange
Eat Right Ontario suggests that in addition to eating the proper serving of vegetables, people of all ages should aim to consume one dark green vegetable and one orange vegetable/fruit each day. Dark leafy greens like kale, collard, arugula and spinach can boost your folate and Vitamin A intake, when eaten alongside a balanced diet. Carrots, summer squash, oranges and apricots also provide your body with Vitamin A, as well as Vitamin C and healthy fibre; and the best part is all of these orange and green vegetables grow in abundance in the summertime! But be careful – preparing these veggies in a lot of fat or salt can cancel out their amazing benefits! Eat them raw when you can, or opt for baking or steaming your veggies to keep them nutrient-dense and low in fat.
Eating right all year round can be a challenge, but summertime poses some unique opportunities to get creative with how you enjoy a balanced diet! The summer months often bring invitations to family events, barbecues and dinners out. It can be tough to maintain a balanced diet while participating in summer fun; when you do get an invitation to a summer barbecue, offer to bring a dish to share – this way, you can make sure there will be a healthy option and you can share your delicious home cooking with your family and friends.
If you want to commit to eating healthy this summer, our caregivers can assist with grocery shopping, meal preparation, cleaning and much more.
*Originally published in Bayshore HealthCare’s Blog June 26, 2017