(50PlusPrime) SOUTHFIELD, MICHIGAN --
I am often tempted to make less healthy food choices. What can I do to make my diet healthier?
Making a transition in your daily routine can be enhanced when these changes work for you to spend time where it is needed most. Keep healthy foods on hand that are visible stored in clear containers, cut into bite size pieces ready- to- eat. Prepare foods ahead or freeze meals for extra busy days. Fill a bowl of fresh fruit that’s in season to brighten your kitchen and cut favorite veggies for a tempting snack. Keep meats, cheeses and vegetables on hand that can be stuffed into pitas, tortillas or served as a finger food for a quick bite.
My mother lives alone since my father passed away and I worry about her eating too many meals alone?
Since socialization is an important part of healthy living, take time to get to know the variety of resources in the aging network that can benefit your mother. Most communities offer a congregate meal program during the lunch hour. Or have her schedule a date with a friend to explore the local community senior center. There are many older adults that share similar experiences and can be of support in times of need.
I am on a special diet and find it difficult to follow when eating out so I have been avoiding going out with my friends.
Don’t hesitate to ask your server or the grocer how meals are prepared when dining or taking out. Many restaurants and senior nutrition programs will accommodate your request to prepare foods to your liking with less salt, fat or sugar or adjust the portion. Inquire about specific ingredients if the menu or container is not descriptive and you have a question. Often sharing a meal from a restaurant can cut portions to the size you need and add variety with a different salad, soup or appetizer selection added.
My father recently got quite ill after eating some cheese at my house. No one else is the family was affected. Are seniors more vulnerable to certain types of foods?
For seniors, certain foods may pose a significant health hazard because of the level of bacteria present in the product's uncooked state. In some cases older adults have self-diagnosed foodborne illness as "the flu."
The US Food and Drug Administration warns that seniors should avoid these products:
- Raw fish and shellfish
- Raw or unpasteurized milk or cheese
- Soft cheeses such as Brie, Camembert, blue-veined and Mexican-style cheese
- Raw or lightly cooked egg or egg products
- Raw meat or poultry
- Raw alfalfa sprouts
- Unpasteurized or untreated fruit or vegetable juice
To help consumers identify unpasteurized or untreated juices, the Food and Drug Administration is requiring a warning label on these products. The label says:
This product has not been pasteurized and therefore may contain harmful bacteria that can cause serious illness in children, the elderly, and persons with weakened immune systems.
When should I refrigerate cooked leftovers?
My mother traditionally waited until they were somewhat cool before putting them in the fridge.
Refrigerate leftovers immediately. Divide large amounts of food into several shallow containers so they cool quickly in the refrigerator. Label with a date if food is not consumed later that day. Most often harmful bacteria cannot be smelled, tasted, or otherwise detected. But the consequences, that can include abdominal cramping, diarrhea, fever, headache, nausea, vomiting, and even death, are all too apparent.
Are food supplements beneficial?
It’s the official position of the American Dietetic Association that most healthy people can get all the nutrients they need from food in a well-planned diet. Consult with your physician or a registered dietitian about supplements before using them. Consumers need to pay a great deal of attention and do some research before buying supplements. The Food and Drug Administration does not regulate supplements as it does prescription and over-the-counter medications. There are no government regulations that require warning labels on potential side effects or dangers. Look for the following red flags to help you spot questionable practices and avoid supplements that may not be safe:
- Promote quick fixes or guaranteed cures
- Tout “all natural” aspects. Many harmful compounds are “all natural.”
- Lack research to support products claims
- Attempt to impress you by using hard-to-understand medical terminology
- Announce special deals or products are available for a limited time only
- Make unrealistic claims