Healthy Eating Tips
Regardless of your age, eating healthy should be a lifelong goal and isn’t just for weight loss! Whether you’re in your 20s or your 70s, what you eat is a vital element to your overall health. Your diet contributes the various nutrients your body needs to work properly and keeps you energized throughout the day.
Not only does a healthy diet provide your body with essential nutrients, but it also can affect your weight, which in turn influences your overall health. In addition, certain diseases and chronic conditions are directly affected by a person’s weight. It’s recommended that the average person age 65+ maintain a diet that provides around 2,000 calories a day and does not surpass the recommended amount of sodium, calories from saturated fats, and added sugars. Depending on your height, weight, activity level, and your gender, you might need to consume more or fewer calories. Always consult with your doctor and a registered and licensed dietitian if you are looking to achieve weight loss or weight gain goals.
At Village Health Partners, we take your whole-person wellness seriously. This includes your eating habits, your fitness, and your wellbeing. Our registered and licensed dietitians, Amber Odom and Melanie Wilder, will provide you with the best tips, tools, and advice to guide you on your healthy eating journey.
Healthy eating can seem a bit daunting, making it hard to know where to start. Here are some basic tips to keep in mind about healthy eating.
1. Stay Hydrated
Staying hydrated is critical to our overall health, and with age, we might lose some of our sense of thirst. Water from liquids and food will help your body digest and absorb nutrients properly. To combat dehydration, drink water, low-fat milk, or 100% fruit juice throughout the day. Try to limit drinks that have added sugars and high sodium levels.
2. Be Aware of Portion Size
We all love Texas, but Texas-sized portions are contributing to us eating more. Studies show that when we were served more food, we eat more food. Our dietitians suggest using a 9-inch plate, versus a standard 12-inch plate. This cuts your calories by 25% or more!
Food portion sizes are a major part to maintaining a healthy diet. A healthy diet should be made up of protein, vegetables, fruits, grains, dairy, and oils. Fruits and vegetables are a low-calorie way to add nutrients and fiber into your diet. A general rule of thumb is to have half of your plate filled with non-starchy fruits and veggies. Eat fruits and vegetables in a wide array of colors, textures, and flavors to maximize the variety of nutrients you receive and make your food interesting. An average person should choose from the daily food portions listed below:
- Vegetables — 2 to 3 cups
- Fruits — 1½ to 2 cups
- Grains — 5 to 8 ounces
- Dairy — 3 cups (fat-free or low-fat)
- Protein foods — 5 to 6½ ounces
- Oils — 5 to 7 teaspoons
3. Pick Easy to Chew Food
Getting older often means that our teeth and gums change, which makes it more difficult to chew. Pick softer foods to eat such as cooked or canned tuna, chicken, soups, vegetables, and fruit. That way you can comfortably eat and won’t miss out on vital nutrients.
4. Flavor Meals with Herbs and Spices
If your food doesn’t taste like it used to, you aren’t alone. An aspect of getting older is our taste and sense of smell changes. Some medicines can also affect how food tastes. To make food less bland, try new seasonings like lemon juice, vinegar, herbs, and other spices you haven’t tried. Just beware of adding more salt!
5. Keep Food Safe to Eat
Foodborne illness is a serious threat. It can lead to prolonged illness, hospitalization, and in some instances, death. As a preventative measure, thoroughly cook all meats, poultry, shellfish, eggs, and sprouts. Throw out any food that might be past its “best by” date or that may not be safe to consume.
6. Vitamins and Supplements
Other than food, the only other way to get the proper nutrients is to take dietary supplements. These supplements will fill in any nutritional gaps you may have in your diet. Talk to your doctor about which vitamins and supplements you may need.
Melanie Wilder has 20 years of experience in helping patients change habits and learn to make smart lifestyle choices. She works from West Plano Medical Village with her patients to adopt an individualized, balanced and realistic approach to eating, regular physical activity, and improved life management. Melanie currently provides individual nutrition counseling for a variety of health conditions and teaches group classes related to health, wellness, and weight management. Melanie is also a Board Certified Specialist in Obesity and Weight Management. She believes in developing individualized plans and finds fulfillment in helping patients learn to eat and move in ways that fit their own lifestyles. Melanie teaches skills based on science that helps patients learn to achieve and, most importantly, maintain better health.
To schedule a telehealth appointment with Melanie Wilder click here, or to schedule an in-office visit text West Plano Medical Village at (469) 382-4891.