Maintaining a balanced, healthy diet is difficult to do at any age, but as seniors, it’s harder and harder to make sure that we’re eating what is best for us as we get older. Eating good food can help us as we age. Sometimes convenience wins out over actually making healthier choices, because it’s easier for us to simply go to a fast food restaurant and get something easy, even if it isn’t the healthiest.
This isn’t the best practice during any time of the year, but especially during winter, when the cold weather can suppress and weaken our immune systems. If you’re worried about keeping healthy during the cold winter months, and are looking for something new to eat here in the dining area at the Bayshire Carlsbad retirement community, here are some tips to make sure you’re keeping a good diet:
1.) Stay Hydrated.
Seniors, more than any other age group, are prone to dehydration. This is especially true during the winter months, when on average we drink less throughout the day. Staying hydrated and remembering to drink water can be real lifesavers to keep yourself healthy.
What are some ways to stay hydrated? First, you need to make sure that you’re drinking water. Try to drink at least six 8-ounce glasses of water a day. Yes – actual water.
So what do you do when you don’t like water? It’s understandably hard to drink so much water when you don’t actually like how it tastes, so another tip is flavoring that water. Try drinking sparkling water or adding fresh fruit, or herbs, or even those new zero-calorie and zero-sugar flavorings. Some of these flavoring packets even have additional hydration properties which could really help if you’re feeling dehydrated.
Carry a reusable water bottle with you. If you’ve always got a water bottle within reach, you’re more likely to reach for that when you’re thirsty instead of whatever else is nearby, like that Diet Coke.
Finally, if you really don’t think that you’ll be able to drink more water, then eat more water-rich foods. Things like cucumbers, melon, lettuce, and tomatoes are water-rich and can help with your hydration, and your dining staff here at the Bayshire Carlsbad retirement community would be happy to provide you with them. Of course, this doesn’t replace simply drinking more water, but any little bit can help.
2.) Soups and stews are your friend and can keep you warm!
There is nothing that can beat the warm, cozy feeling of settling down at the dining room table when it’s chilly outside to eat a nice hot bowl of soup. Instead of going for the rich, carb-heavy food that winter will often make us crave, try eating a hearty bowl of soup instead. Homemade soups and stews like the ones served in your Bayshire Carlsbad retirement community dining area can be packed with vegetables, herbs, and spices, providing you with a warm, satisfying, and healthy meal. Paired with some bread, a stew is the perfect winter dinner.
3.)Eat the rainbow.
No, that doesn’t mean go out and buy yourself a bag of Skittles, no matter what the slogan may say. “Eat the rainbow” simply means to make sure that your meals are not all one color or one tone. If all of your food choices at dinner are all the same kind of bland, brown-ish color, then you’re not eating a healthy proportion of vegetables with your meal.
Delicious vegetables come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. Make sure that you’ve got a couple colors on your plate at mealtimes, and that will help you in figuring out if you’ve got yourself a good, healthy meal. Even if that fruit is from the freezer section or from a can (with no added sugar or syrup), it’s better than not having it at all. Sometimes even things like pastas and macaroni and cheese can have additional vegetables! Just be sure to check the label.
4.) Snack smart!
If eating full meals is difficult for you, then healthy snacking could be an alternative for you. Actually, if you are a senior with diabetes, this may be the better option for you, as this can assist you with maintaining your glucose levels at a steady rate.
Some healthy and easy snacks are:
- greek yogurt or cottage cheese with fruit
- hummus and vegetables like carrots or cucumbers
- granola bars
- crackers and cheese or peanut butter
- nuts or trail mix
Trying to make sure that you have a good balance of fruit, dairy, and protein can help keep you full and ready to go throughout the day. That, coupled with a calm walk on one of the many hiking and walking trails throughout the Bayshire Carlsbad retirement community property can help keep you in tip-top shape.
5.) Get some extra vitamin D!
A Vitamin D deficiency can be even more problematic than normal in older adults, due to the risk of major health concerns on already weakening bodies. The lack of sunshine in the winter months is the leading contributor to this, however, even when it is a sunshiney day outside, the cold temperatures and biting wind can make getting outside and being active close to impossible. Vitamin D deficiency is also linked to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD for short), which is a type of depression that is more prevalent in the winter months. Depression is a health concern for any age, but it is even more concerning in seniors when apathy could lead to more serious issues.
Vitamin D is also needed to boost healthy gums and teeth, immune health, muscle function, and brain development. A lack of Vitamin D could impact any of these bodily systems and potentially worsen your health.
To prevent Vitamin D deficiency, take a few minutes to walk outside on one of Bayshire Carlsbad retirement community’s many walking trails, or even just sit outside for a few minutes to soak up the sun. Or, for food, try focusing on whole grains, eggs, and oily fish, like salmon.