Learning to eat healthy isn’t just about understanding calories or what foods to avoid because there is too much salt.
Eating healthy is a carefully crafted balance that every person, regardless of age, should understand. But many of us don’t know how to eat healthy, especially seniors who might not have access to healthy fruits and vegetables in their area.
This is one area that Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa and our partners are working to help seniors with. “Eat better, feel better” is one of our mottos since we want to not only provide healthy foods to our senior clients but also educate them about healthy eating.
What Does it Mean to Eat Better?
When seniors eat better, they notice the difference.
What we eat can affect our immune system, energy levels, and even our mood. Sticking to a plan to eat better foods can help seniors maintain their health as they age. The key to eating better is a rounded healthy diet. This can be achieved by remembering that the body needs nutrients to thrive. Nutrients include carbohydrates, protein, fat, water, vitamins, and minerals.
Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, proteins, low-fat dairy, and oils are excellent choices. And since there is plenty of variety in each of those categories, seniors can choose the food they really like.
Eat Better Feel Better
There are many ways to make healthy food choices. Understanding what makes a balanced diet is vital when looking at meal planning. It is recommended that women get between 1,600 and 2,200 calories a day and men get between 2,000 and 2,800 a day, depending on activity level.
The number of carbohydrates a senior needs per day should be about 45 to 65 percent of the daily calories. Some good sources of carbohydrates include sweet potatoes, starchy vegetables, and whole grains.
The amount of protein needed in a diet should be 10 to 35 percent of daily calories. Some good sources of protein include poultry, seafood, and dairy products. Fat should account for 20 to 35 percent of the calories in a diet, which can come from meat, dairy vegetable oils, nuts, and salmon.
Calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B12 are all critical as we age. Calcium and vitamin D can be found in green leafy vegetables, yogurt, and milk. Vitamin B12 can be found in seafood like clams and crab, but also in tofu and fortified cereals. Some minerals that are important for seniors include potassium and sodium.
Potassium comes from fresh fruits, vegetables, milk, and milk products. While getting the proper amount of sodium is essential, getting too much sodium daily can negatively impact long-term health.
The nutrient levels needed by each person are different depending on their activity level, so it is helpful to talk to a doctor or dietitian to determine what you should be eating daily and what nutrients you may be lacking.
Have a Meal Plan
Having a meal plan is a great way to help seniors eat healthier. When planning out food in advance, seniors can pick the best choices and create a balanced plan for the week, ensuring they get all the necessary nutrients to lead a happy and healthy life.
One way to make sure that seniors get the nutritious food they need is with a meal delivery service. With a meal delivery service, there is no meal preparation or shopping, both activities that might be difficult for a senior actually to perform due to limited mobility.
But, for many seniors in Contra Costa county, getting the correct nutrition or having access to an affordable meal delivery service is challenging. That’s where Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa and our partners can help.
Your Healthy Meal Delivery Service
Meal on Wheels provides a meal delivery service for seniors 60 years old or older who cannot obtain healthy food themselves. Many seniors cannot travel the long distances it may take to buy healthy food at a reasonable price. The closest food available is often at gas stations or mini markets with little selection and low-quality food.
Our partners use prepared meal delivery to make food available to seniors that are nutritionally balanced and rotated on an eight-week cycle so that there is variety. Each meal includes a protein, vegetables, fruits, a bread or grain, a low-fat milk or milk alternative, and a dessert. All meals are low in sodium! Each meal also includes the daily recommended intake values for seniors, including minerals, vitamin A, vitamin c, magnesium, potassium, fats, sodium, and fiber.
These meals are prepared to the highest nutritional standards, meaning that if a senior wants to recreate our meals to supplement their diets, they are getting the best nutrition possible. We know that not everyone can afford to make their meals, and that’s ok. By applying for help from Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa and our partners, seniors are learning more about their own nutrition and how to eat healthy.
Getting Started with Meals on Wheels
If a loved one like a parent or grandparent, another family member, or even a friend might need help with their nutrition, we are here to help.
The signup process with our partners is individual to each organization, and the requirements for each partner can be found here.
Meals on Wheels of Contra Costa is always available to answer your questions, so give us a call at (866)- 669 – 6691!