Tips for Healthy Eating

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To help your residents stay on track with healthy eating plan, help them follow these tips:

•    Do not skip meals. Skipping meals may cause metabolism to slow down or lead to eating more high-calorie, high-fat foods at the next meal or snack.

•    Select high-fiber foods like whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, vegetables, and fruits.  They may help keep the resident’s bowel movements regular and lower the risk for chronic diseases, such as coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

•    Encourage/offer lean beef, turkey breast, fish, or chicken with the skin removed to lower the amount of fat and calories in meals.  As a person ages, the body needs fewer calories, especially if they are not very active.

•    Encourage/offer three servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat/fat-free milk, yogurt, or cheese every day.  Milk products are high in calcium and vitamin D and help keep bones strong as you age

      Encourage/offer foods fortified with vitamin B12.  Many adults over the age of 50 have difficulty absorbing adequate amounts of this vitamin.  Therefore, they should get this nutrient through fortified foods, such as breakfast cereals, or from a dietary supplement, if ordered by the physician.

•    Keep nutrient-rich snacks like dried apricots, whole-wheat crackers, peanut butter, low- fat cheese, and low-sodium soup on hand.

•    Encourage plenty of water or water-based fluids. Examples of water-based fluids are caffeine-free tea and coffee, soup, and low-fat or skim milk.

•    Offer a meal plan that provides no more than 1,500 milligrams of sodium per day. Check the Nutrition Facts label for the number of milligrams of sodium in a food. You don’t want to exceed a total of 65% Daily Value (DV) for sodium from all foods in a day.

•    Offer a meal plan that meets the potassium recommendation of at least 4,700 milligrams a day with food. Offer an adequate number of daily servings of vegetables, fruits, and low-fat or fat-free milk products such as sweet potatoes, beet greens, tomatoes, bananas, prune juice and low-fat or fat-free yogurt.