Diet and Exercise Are Equally Important

Timely Advice for Us Amazing Seniors

We’re nibbling like crazy, but still maintaining our gorgeous shape and weight.  I look in the mirror and I see my 50-year old self.  APRIL FOOLS!!!  It’s not happening folks, but I’m trying like crazy to maintain and not have to try to fit into a larger size.  YIKES!

While I was scanning the internet for helpful topics on the coronavirus pandemic, I came across an excellent article on the importance of your diet, especially for us boomers and seniors who by all accounts are trying to age gracefully.   By staying at home, and being sheltered as we are, we’re simply are not getting the amount of movement and exercise that we would normally get on a daily basis.  For example, you may only go the grocery once a week, if that often.  You’re not shopping because the stores are closed.  You’re not out meeting friends for lunch or dinner.  We are becoming a sequestered society, and now we have new federal guidelines telling us to self-quarantine through the end of April.  Ugh.  

So, what do we do?  Well, as I have proposed in my many blogs to-date, get your body up and moving and take a walk, get on your bike, get on your treadmill, but most of all, get outside and experience the wonderful fresh air and abundance of mother nature, making sure all the while to socially distance from others.  Aside from that, focus on your diet which is equally important.  During this time, the last thing you want is to pack on the pounds by eating the wrong things out of anxiety or frustration, or larger amounts out of stress-eating.  At our age, it’s way too difficult to take it off. 

As I said, I did discover what I thought were absolutely terrific ideas on what you can do for snack foods while you’re sheltering at home.  Come on, who doesn’t want snack foods to fill your munchie cravings during the day.  In fact, I’ve found they actually replace the large meals that you might normally consume.  I discovered that “Chowhound” is an excellent online source for foodie suggestions of all kinds.  Particularly, I found their views on what we seniors could and should be eating during this time as quite fun and resourceful.

The following are some of their recommendations for snacks, which are mostly non-perishable items, so to buy them and put them in your pantry doesn’t mean they will go to waste if all are not eaten right away.  In no way, should these replace your fresh fruits, vegetables and meats, but you will find they are storable for long periods of time.  Next time you do go out, stock up at Costco, Trader Joes, Sprouts, Walmart and your ‘go-to’ grocery store. Also, these all fall in the category of healthy foods, which should be at the top of your list, and I’m so sorry folks, I omitted the ooey-gooey candies, fudges, cookies and ice creams. So here goes.

DRIED AND CANNED BEANS.  Not only do they have a long shelf-life but are an excellent source as a high nutrient content for fiber, protein, magnesium which we all need as we age, B vitamins, iron, phosphorous, zinc and copper.  The best part—they can be paired with virtually all foods.  My personal favorite is cannellini beans.

NUT BUTTERS.  Natural peanut butters don’t contain preservatives, so they can last up to 3 months with almond butters up to one year.  They are a great source for healthy fats, protein, vitamins and minerals.  I enjoy them over a waffle or simply by the spoonful.  

DRIED FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.  Fresh fruits are quite perishable, but dried are considered non-perishable.  Select your favorites from the list of dried berries, apricots, apples, tomatoes, and carrots.  Enjoy them as a snack or add dried veggies to your soups and stews.

CANNED FISH AND POULTRY.  Tuna and chicken are packed with essential nutrients and both are easily stored and are portioned perfectly for one or two people.  Mix them with your favorite mayo or butter combination and serve as a salad or on a piece of toast.

NUTS AND SEEDS.  Who doesn’t get the munchies.  These are wonderful snacks during the day.  They are nutrient-dense and a dominant source for protein.  Pick up some cashews, pistachios, almonds, pecans, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds and enjoy throughout the day.  A small handful goes a long way.

GRAINS.  Probably one of the smartest options during our days of coronavirus sheltering.  Whole grains such as oats, rice and barley can be added to soups, salads and casseroles, and may minimize your risk for type 2 diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers.  I’m really big on lectin-free white rice.

CANNED VEGETABLES AND FRUITS.  Again, a most convenient way to eat healthy with such items as potatoes, carrots, beets and spinach, along with a variety of fruits like apples, peaches, pears berries and pineapple.  Here’s a pro tip from Chowhound:  try to choose canned fruits packed in water or 100% fruit juice rather than heavy syrup.  Also, read the labels carefully to opt for low sodium canned vegetables.

JERKY.   The process of curing and preservation provides both delectable meats, such as beef, salmon, and chicken and vegetarian options like coconut, banana and jackfruit.  The healthiest alternatives to any of these are not packed with added sugar, artificial flavors or preservatives.  They can be a bit chewy, so be careful.

GRANOLA AND PROTEIN BARS.  Always pick the ones packed with heart friendly ingredients such as oats, nuts and dried fruit, without added sugars and artificial substitutes.  I often eat my granola dry just as a snack—a handful or two is perfect.  

CHIPS AND CRACKERS.  Well, I threw this one in on my own, only because I have a soft spot for potato, corn, and wheat chips.  Frito Lay’s brands are my favorites.  They come in small bags and can be safely stacked in your pantry, and opened and eaten in one sitting, or maybe we should try two.  They may rank slightly lower on the healthy index, but they sure are good.

As I look around in my pantry, that pretty well covers it.  I have most of these items lining my shelves and ready to be eaten without going to the trouble of preparing a five-course meal.  Oh, and don’t forget about your freezer.  I always keep a supply of frozen berries ready for topping on my granola and yogurt, or just as a snack after lunch or dinner.  One other food group that I do keep handy is a good cut of cheese—just a small slice or two during the day satisfies my cravings and pumps me full of protein.  

As your number one BoomerGal, I hope you found a few take-aways that will enhance your days of sheltering in place with a mindful eye toward your diet.  I look at this as a time to explore new ideas and the foods that go along with them.  Reinvent yourself.  Try something new for goodness sake, and don’t fall prey to the coronavirus doldrums.  

Editorial content by www.chowhound.com

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