As we get older, what our bodies need to stay healthy begins to shift. Due to different nutritional needs, and the slowing of the metabolism, people begin to burn fewer calories naturally once they get older. When this occurs, eating foods that provide the best nutritional value without being high in calories is the best solution. Ideal eating plans will provide you with the nutrition you need to maintain muscle mass, without interfering with medications or any medical conditions. In this post, we’ll discuss some diet and exercise tips for seniors that will help you stay healthy and fit.
The Importance of Low-Carb Diets for Seniors
As we get older, a lack of protein can spell trouble. When seniors don’t take in sufficient protein, they’re at risk of reduced immune function and osteoporosis. A low-carbohydrate diet will help you get the protein and high nutritional value you need. Nutrition experts explain that weight loss isn’t the only reason to stick with a low-carb diet. Doctors say you can see benefits that include lower blood pressure, improved cholesterol levels, increased energy, and lowered risk for stroke, heart disease, and diabetes.
Typically, low-carb diets place an emphasis on a menu of lean protein, healthy fats, and foods that are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and other essential nutrients. Try to avoid refined carbohydrates which have a high glycemic index – that is, they cause a rapid spike in blood sugar and insulin level after eating. Refined carbs include white flour, white bread, white rice, pastries, sodas, snacks, pasta, sweets, breakfast cereals and added sugars. Unless eaten in moderation, they can put senior citizens at risk of high blood sugar and insulin levels, insulin resistance, and even diabetes. Lean means out of your budget? Rely on chickpeas, lentils, other beans, and whole grains, which are a great source of inexpensive, healthy, and nutrient-rich proteins.
Portion Control and Why it’s Critical
When we say portion, we’re talking about the amount of food eaten in one sitting. Regardless of age, most people are unaware that the portion they’re eating for lunch or dinner is often two or three times larger than necessary in terms of caloric intake. This is especially true regarding eating meals at restaurants, which are notorious for providing over-large portions. This doesn’t mean restaurants are off the table, though!
If you find the portion you’ve been served at a restaurant is too large, box up part of it right away and save it for the next day. Boxing up half the meal removes much of the temptation that comes from having a large portion in front of you. Another great alternative is to share the meal, or ordering small plates to share if available.
When it comes to food or snacks enjoyed at home, always look at the nutrition facts to see the recommended serving size. Not only will this label provide the amount you should eat, but it will inform you of the calories and nutrients as well.
Plan Your Meals and Plan for Success
When it comes to making the process of eating healthy easy, meal planning is the way to go. We all know how it works: we get hungry, and we want to eat right away. When this occurs, it’s prime time to sharpen your decision-making. To satisfy hunger immediately, we often will grab what’s tasty and quick — chips, fast food, or processed food that’s often unhealthy, high in calories and saturated fat.
Enter meal planning — the process of making your next healthy meal the easy, quick, and tasty option.
There are many recipes and guides online for easy, healthy meals that you can make for the week ahead on a lazy Saturday or Sunday afternoon, like this. Make a couple of different dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For example: a veggie omelette for breakfast; chicken breast and salad for lunch; and a healthy beef stew, rich in veggies and protein for dinner. These are all items that can be easily pre-made and refrigerated, ready to be heated up in the microwave or oven whenever you’d like.
Planning your meals ahead is the premier way to keep your diet on the straight and narrow, and to eliminate the temptation of reaching for an unhealthy option when you’re hungry.
Get Active Every Day
We’ve been told this our entire lives, and it becomes more true as we age: being active is critical to staying healthy. As we get older, this can sometimes be difficult. Regardless of your physical limitations, there’s always a way to get your blood pumping. One of the best, and most refreshing ways to exercise is simply going for a walk. Apart from the health benefits, there are a multitude of other benefits that come from regular exercise. When you begin daily physical activity, get ready to feel better about yourself in all aspects — from mood to self-esteem, to balance and strength, there are truly no downsides to getting active as a senior citizen.
Staying active will help you achieve and maintain a healthy weight that will please both you and your doctor. Those with health conditions like arthritis, depression, high blood pressure, or diabetes may see these conditions become better controlled or decrease with regular exercise.
Perhaps the best part of staying active and exercising is that there’s no “wrong” way to do it. Of course, some methods are more efficient than others, but anything that gets your heart pumping will do the job. From walking the dog for 30 minutes to performing a deep cleaning of the house — if you’re sweating, you’re burning calories. Here are a few exercises experts recommend for those serious about developing a fitness routine:
- Aerobics (Swimming)
- Cardio (Walking, Jogging, Running)
- Balance Exercises
- Flexibility Exercises
By getting a membership at your local gym, you’ll gain access to many machines that will help you optimize your workout and hone your fitness routine. Before working out, always consult with your doctor and ask what kinds of exercise, and what intensity, is right for you.
Follow These Tips To Remain Healthy As You Age
Staying healthy as we get older isn’t rocket science. It takes information and determination. Any fitness aficionado will tell you the same thing: You can’t out-exercise a poor diet. By this, they mean that even if you exercise regularly, eating poorly will inhibit or cancel out the results you might see from exercise. Follow these tips to ensure you’re living your life as healthy as possible every day.
The Neptune Society is the nation’s oldest and largest provider of affordable cremation services. Whether you have an immediate need or want to plan cremation services in advance, we are always available to assist you and your family.
Call 1-800-NEPTUNE (800-637-8863) today or contact us online to learn more.