When it comes to healthy eating for older adults, according to Canada’s Food Guide, “Healthy eating can help promote and protect health and well-being, provide energy and essential nutrients to maintain health, prevent or lower the risk of chronic diseases like: heart disease, type 2 diabetes, prevent muscle and bone loss to reduce your risk of falling or breaking your bones.”
The Food Guide also mentions that, “Cooking and eating healthy food does not have to be difficult, time consuming or expensive.”
Dr. Theresa Nicassio is a registered psychologist and the author of award-winning cookbook, YUM.
She explains in our Q&A that, “it actually can be far easier and less time consuming to prepare your own farm or garden totable meals than eating out.”
She also shares some healthy food choices for active older adults, along with a recipe.
Q: What are some of the best healthy food choices for active older adults?
A: One of the greatest challenges for many active older adults is remembering to care for the very vessel that makes their amazing lives possible.
Taking time and caring for others and attending to multiple responsibilities at work, in your family, and in your community can inadvertently lead to the belief that there is not enough time to prepare beautiful food to nourish your body.
And while exercise is an invaluable gift for yourself, it doesn’t replace the nourishment of quality unprocessed nutrient-rich ‘fuel’ that is free of toxic chemicals.
This mindset shift is important for everyone, but especially when we get older. As we age, our body requires more support to stay vibrant, supple, and strong.
Because of this, making food choices that are hydrating and nutritious, like water-dense vegetables and fruits, is a fantastic place to start.
Avoiding foods that have been treated with pesticides or other chemicals is important for many reasons, not the least of which is the reduced burden they place on our already overworked body’s detoxification system.
Nothing beats untampered food straight from the healthiest of chemical-free organic soil.
Q: What are some healthy snack suggestions?
A: For those times when you are out and about and hunger sneaks up on you, it is great to have some easy grab-and-go travel snacks that are delicious and nourishing.
If you don’t, you are vulnerable to falling prey to the temptation to “grab a bite” on the go.
When you do this, the quality of the food you will fuel your body with will more likely be overprocessed, packaged, and have substances that not only don’t serve your body, but may also contain contaminants that do more harm than good.
Unfortunately, there is a popular myth that wholesome eating takes too much time.
Seriously, how long does it take to prepare an organic apple or banana and maybe a handful of nuts that you can bring with you in a bag to eat later if you won’t be home at mealtime?
Carrot sticks and cauliflower florets are also easy travel snacks that are wonderful on their own, and even more delicious if you package up a little hummus to dip them in.
Cherry tomatoes and grapes are great for snacking and are not only refreshing and full of flavor, but also have a high water content.
Q: What are the health benefits from farm to plate meals?
A: Oh my, I could write a book about that question! 😉
First of all (and this will surprise many of your readers), it actually can be far easier and less time-consuming to prepare your own farm or garden to table meals than eating out. For example, let’s say you’re craving some pasta.
If you have zucchini, you can just spiralize it in less than a minute and then put your favorite topping on it and voila, your nutritious dish is ready!
Another benefit of enjoying fresh whole foods is that you can avoid the additives and endocrine disruptors that are often present in packaged foods or are leached into the food from the packaging itself.
When you grow your own food and if you have food allergies and sensitivities like I and so many others do, knowing where your food came from can give you tremendous peace of mind.
But more than anything else, when you grow your own untainted food and support farmers who do the same, you have the opportunity to make a real difference in the world — regenerating the soil, providing a safe haven and food for the pollinators and other beings we share the planet with, contributing to the reduction of global warming, as well as building community with your neighbors as you create beauty and abundance, having a blast and improving your mental health while you do it. Enjoy!
In the spirit of ultra-simple snacks/healthy eating Basil-Wrapped Stuffed Dates
This simple and delicious dish can be served as an appetizer or as a dessert.
When Alex and I took Lovena Galyide’s Raw Food Chef course at her wonderful restaurant, the Indigo Food Café in Vancouver, she taught us this recipe.
We loved the surprising experience of the multiple and intense flavor dimensions—and how easy it was to make. I have had fun extending the possibilities for different fillings and encourage you to do the same—let your creativity soar!
Thank you, Lovena, for allowing me to include this here.
Makes 8 Ingredients 8 large fresh Medjool dates savory fillings of your choice (eg whole cacao beans, nuts, bell pepper slices, soft or hard vegan cheese) 8 medium-to-large basil leaves 8 toothpicks
Slice each date lengthwise, remove the pit and fill with the savory item of your choice.
Wrap a basil leaf around each date, securing it with a toothpick.
Serve immediately or chilled.
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About Steve Erickson
DELTA CHAMBER OF COMMERCE