3/13-National Nutrition Month

Nutrition Month: Care Connection offers 8 tips for healthy eating

Care Connection for Aging Services is celebrating National Nutrition Month in March in all of its 22 senior center dining rooms in West Central Missouri.

The area agency for aging cooks more than 550,000 meals annually; 189,000 meals are served in the senior center dining rooms and another 361,000 are delivered to the homebound seniors.

The menus are devised to be tasty as well as nutritious.  Besides providing the meals, the agency staff provides education on healthy eating for people 60 and older.

As people age, their nutritional needs change. Here are some tips from choosemyplate.gov to help you make healthy food choices as you age:

Drink plenty of liquids. With age, you may lose your sense of thirst. Often drink water, low-fat or fat-free milk, or 100 percent juice. Limit beverages high in sugar or salt.

Make eating a social event. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Care Connection senior centers offer hot lunches in a friendly atmosphere on weekdays. Visit goaging.org to see the schedule or menus.

Plan healthy meals. Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eat, how much to eat, and which foods to choose, based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Know how much to eat. Control portions. MyPlate’s SuperTracker shows amounts of food you need. When eating out, take some home. One restaurant dish might be enough for two meals.

Vary your vegetables. Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients and good sources of fiber.

Eat for your teeth and gums. People with dental problems sometimes find it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Eating softer foods can help. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.

Use herbs and spices. Foods may seem to lose flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may be that your sense of smell, taste, or both has changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.

Keep food safe. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid certain foods, such as unpasteurized dairy products, that are always risky for an older person. Other foods, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat, or poultry, can be harmful to you when they are raw or undercooked.

Care Connection for Aging Services, a non-profit area agency on aging serving West Central Missouri, operates 23 locations in 13 counties — including Bates, Benton, Carroll, Cedar, Chariton, Henry, Hickory, Johnson, Lafayette, Pettis, Saline, St. Clair and Vernon. Its mission is to provide resources and services that empower people to create healthy aging experiences. For more information, call 1-800-748-7826 or email us at information@goaging.org