Vitality - Healthy Aging NewsletterFall 2011

Seniors Share Favorite Nutrition Tips

Jewel LaPorte of Edmonds admits she's still after her grown children to eat right.

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"I can't help it," she says. "A good diet is so important to our health. I'm always learning new things from my doctor, articles, and Group Health workshops."

When our doctor tells us to cut out salt, sugar, and all those bad (yummy) fats that we've been eating all these years, we need to get creative and gather inspiration from food magazines, cooking shows, farmers markets, and fellow seniors and friends.

Louise Boice of Bothell is a fan of fresh greens. After a lifetime of gardening, she now shares a garden with her son and daughter- in-law. "I love walking outside to pick this and that," she says. "Fresh lettuce for a salad, a tomato, maybe some kale. If you don't have a garden, find a store that has fresh produce or go to farmers markets."

Boice preps for her daily yoga routine with oatmeal and "delicious toppings" like raisins, chopped walnuts, and spices. She still makes her own yogurt. "I've been making it for decades and now my doctor tells me to eat plenty of it. I'm getting kind of ancient, so these things go back a long ways."

Dolores Young from Seattle eats light meals about every three hours. "For lunch, I'll have a romaine salad with celery, red pepper, and onions and for supper, a little meat, veggies, and sweet potatoes," she says. "And I love my heavy-duty blender. Every time I try something new — it's my favorite."

Young's openness to new ideas is a good lesson for us all. Miss salt? Look for tasty, salt-free blends. Have sensitive teeth? Make smoothies with fresh fruit, yogurt, and vanilla. Lost your appetite? Ask your doctor for possible culprits — and then try fresh herbs, garlic, onions, flavored vinegars, and pungent spices like cinnamon, cloves, ginger, and turmeric.

Find it hard to whip up a healthy dinner every night? Take it from LaPorte and put your freezer to good use. "When I'm inspired, I double recipes of soups, stews, casseroles, and even cobblers, and then freeze small portions," she says. "Then when I'm tired or don't have time to cook, I just go to my freezer."

If you have healthy food on hand, you'll be more inclined to eat well. LaPorte keeps her refrigerator and pantry well-stocked for easy meal preparation, and always has plenty of healthy snacks around —nuts, little carrots, cheese, peanut butter, yogurt, cottage cheese, and a fruit bowl filled with oranges, bananas, and apples.

When it comes to sweets, it helps to know your habits. "If I have a pound of chocolate around, I know I'll eat it in one or two days," says LaPorte. "But I don't want to deprive myself completely. I love milkshakes but only allow myself to drink them on Sundays."

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