Lexington Health Network

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Tips for picking healthy food as you get older

1. Know what a healthy plate looks like You might remember the food pyramid, but the USDA recently unveiled a simpler way to help people see what they should eat each day. It’s called MyPlate. The simple graphic above, also found at https://www.choosemyplate.gov/ shows exactly how the five food groups should stack up on your plate. These are the building blocks for a healthy diet.

2. Look for important nutrients Make sure you eat a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Your plate should look like a rainbow—bright, colored foods are always the best choice! A healthy meal should include: Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans) Fruits and vegetables (think orange, red, green, and purple) Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta) Low-fat dairy (milk and its alternatives) Remember to choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt. Also, look for Vitamin D, an important mineral as we age.

3. Read the Nutrition Facts label The healthiest foods are whole foods. These are often found on the perimeter of the grocery store in the produce, meat, and dairy sections. When you do eat packaged foods, be a smart shopper! Read the labels to find items that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium.

4. Use recommended servings. To maintain your weight, you must eat the right amount of food for your age and body. The American Heart Association provides recommended daily servings for adults aged 60+. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/

5. Stay hydrated Water is an important nutrient too! Don’t let yourself get dehydrated—drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. Tea, coffee,
and water are your best choices. Keep fluids with sugar and salt at a minimum, unless your doctor has suggested otherwise.

6. Stretch your food budget Buy local and on-sale in season items. It offers a variety to your diet, but also can save a lot on the pocket book.

Also other tips
Stay away from the inner aisles…
Don’t be afraid of coupons…
Put the toiletries down…
Don’t be tempted by brand names…
Look up and look down, because it’s the eye-level
shelves that stock the priciest items…
Remember rain checks…
Consider dried beans…
Don’t go to the store hungry.

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