3 key nutritional elements to consider as you age | Home & Garden



“Wow, that’s a lot of food! My husband commented as the waiter prepared a tray in front of me.

We were in a cafe in a small town in Minnesota. I ordered the “special”. It included two heaping scoops of mashed potatoes and gravy, at least a cup of corn, and enough roast beef to feed my family. A good-sized bun accompanied the meal.

My husband ordered the crispy chicken tortilla wrap sandwich. He was given an equally generous serving of two large half sandwiches. The sandwich was accompanied by a bunch of fries.

The food was home made and delicious, by the way. If I had been out chopping wood or throwing hay bales, I might have needed that many calories. After lunch, I had to get up and answer questions, which strained my brain but not my muscles.

“Maybe we can take a nap in the car after we eat,†he commented. “We probably need to order small portions as we get older.”

Eating smaller portions was a good idea, actually. If the Robinsons ate that much food at each meal, we would probably need bigger clothes and, maybe, a bigger vehicle.

However, my husband ate his entire sandwich and part of my roast beef. Even though I don’t like to waste food, I could only eat half the portion. If I had had a cooler, I would have brought home half of my food.

I thought I might fall asleep during my own conversation. It is not a good practice.

What are some of the special dietary recommendations as we age?

The U.S. dietary guidelines for 2020 to 2025 include a section on eating as you age. I did not reach the “older adults†category of 60 and over, but in fact adults of all ages could benefit from the lessons of these new guidelines.

The guidelines form the basis of recommendations for all federal food programs, from child care to school meals to home delivered meals.

Here are three elements of the guidelines for healthy eating as you age.

We all need to get enough protein to avoid losing lean muscle mass. By the time people turn 71, many are not getting enough protein, some researchers say. Try to eat a variety of lean proteins such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, beans, peas, and lentils.

Most adults need about 5-7 “equivalent ounces” of protein per day, depending on whether we are male or female, our age and our activity level. An egg; 1 ounce of meat, poultry or fish; 1/4 cup cooked beans; or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter counts as an ounce equivalent.

Make sure you’re getting enough vitamin B-12. As we age, our ability to absorb this nutrient may decrease. A deficiency can lead to a type of anemia that requires medical testing. It also leaves you feeling tired.

Vitamin B-12 is found in foods of animal origin such as meat, milk, and eggs, as well as fortified foods such as breakfast cereals. Some people may need a supplement, but discuss this with a health care provider.

Stay hydrated with plenty of water and other healthy drinks such as 100% fruit or vegetable juice, milk, or alternatives. People 60 years and older tend to drink less fluids than young adults because the feeling of thirst tends to decrease with age.

Fruits and vegetables also provide enough fluid. Yes, a moderate amount of coffee and tea counts for hydration, but caffeine can promote some fluid loss. Drink water more often than drinks containing caffeine.

Here are some lighter dishes to enjoy during the hot summer months. You can choose your favorite protein. There are many ready-to-reheat grills available to make this dish easier to prepare.

Summer salad with grilled chicken (or steak)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 lb) (or 1 lb steak)

4 ch. chopped romaine lettuce

1 large avocado, peeled and diced

1/4 tsp. red onions, chopped or sliced

1 ch. cherry tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp. olive oil (or your favorite oil)

Place the chicken breasts (or steak) on a plate and season both sides with S&P. Heat the grill over medium heat (about 400 F). Place the meat on the grill over direct heat for four to five minutes per side. Remove meat from direct heat and cook for an additional five to seven minutes or until the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reads 165 F or the steak reaches 145 F. Remove from the grill and let stand. at least five minutes. Cut the meat into cubes and set aside. Prepare the dressing by combining the ingredients in a small mixing bowl or mason jar. Whisk or shake well to combine. Assemble salads by evenly distributing lettuce, avocado, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes and onions among four plates. Add the diced chicken breast. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

Makes four servings. Made with chicken and no added salt, each serving contains 370 calories, 20 grams (g) of fat, 29g of protein, 20g of carbohydrates, 7g of fiber and 75 milligrams of sodium.

Julie Garden-Robinson, Ph.D., RD, LRD, is Food and Nutrition Specialist at North Dakota State University and Professor in the Department of Health, Nutrition, and Human Sciences. exercise. Follow her on Twitter @jgardenrobinson


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