Eat Right, Every Day
March is Nutrition month, a national campaign promoting healthful eating along with physical activity. This is the perfect time to look at what we eat to see if nutritional needs, especially key nutrients, are being met. Nutrition is important throughout life and vital to healthy aging.
Key Ingredients for Healthy Aging
Vitamin D - Make the most of the few good food sources; vitamin D fortified milk, yogurt and cereal along with salmon, tuna & sardines.
Vitamin B12 - Found in fish, poultry, eggs, milk and dairy products.
Vitamin C - All fruits & vegetables contain some vitamin C. Excellent sources include kiwi, orange, bell peppers and strawberries.
Potassium - This mineral is abundant in fruits and vegetables as well as dairy products, legumes, fish and lean protein.
Water - Water needs vary. Fruits & vegetables contain water as do other beverages. Drinking water is your best bet since it is calorie free and readily available.
Sodium - Limit this nutrient, as it has been linked to higher blood pressure. Beware of processed foods, salad dressings, sauces and condiments - hidden sources of sodium.
Activity - Keep moving and stay active to maintain a healthy weight, muscle and strength.
What Am I Eating Each Day?
Vegetables - 5 or more One serving equals 1 cup raw or 1/2 cup cooked. The more colorful the better.
Fruits - 2-3 One serving equals a small piece of fresh fruit or 1/2 cup unsweetened canned. Fresh whole fruit is the best.
Dairy - 2-3 nonfat or 1% milk One serving equals 1 cup of milk or 3/4 cup yogurt. Plain nonfat Greek yogurt is an excellent choice.
Whole Grains - 3-6 One serving equals 1 slice of bread, 1/2 cup hot cereal, 1/2 cup brown rice. Half the servings should be whole grains and have at least 3g of fiber per serving.
Lean Protein - 6-8 oz. One serving equals 1oz. Choose seafood, poultry, lean meats, legumes and eggs/egg whites. Include a variety of seafood, limit processed meats and cold cuts.
Beverages - 8 (8 oz ) servings Drink mostly water to keep hydrated and help maintain regularity.
Healthy Oils & Fats Use oils in moderation in cooking or on salads. Select olive & canola oils, garnish salads with small amounts of avocado and nuts. Limit butter and avoid trans or hydrogenated fats.
Herbs & Spices Use herbs and spices to enhance the flavor of food without adding sodium. Many herbs have hidden health benefits.
Identify one key nutrient, ingredient or food group to work on at a time to build a healthier meal plan.
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