There is so much information out there regarding what we should be eating, and it can be a confusing and frustrating decision process. I just finished looking at a small publication given out complimentary at a food store. Each article extolled the wonderful benefits of mineral or vitamin supplements and then right beside the article was an advertisement from a manufacturer who made these same minerals and vitamins. Where does one turn?

Canada’s Food Guide is a good resource for maintaining a healthy diet.

If you are a senior or have an elder parent who could eat better, try small steps.

Striving to eat at least 7 servings of fruit and vegetables each day may seem like a lot of food, but a serving is smaller than you think.

Examples of one serving:

1 medium sized fruit

½ cup of fruit or cooked vegetables

1 cup of salad

One of my favourites is to add berries or sliced bananas on top of cereal. It adds sweetness and variety. Add a green salad to your lunch with your favourite dressing. Using frozen or low sodium canned vegetables for easy preparation at dinner. Choose dark green or brightly coloured vegetables and fruit more often.

Seniors need 2-3 servings of protein per day. It doesn’t need to be saved for meals. Some protein makes a delicious snack (nuts, seeds, peanut butter)

Examples of one serving:

75 g (2.5 oz.) of meat, fish or poultry

55 g (1/4 cup) of nuts or seeds

2 large eggs

½ can of salmon or tuna

175 ml (3/4 cup) cooked legumes or tofu

Try to keep the meat lean and try for two servings of fish per week. A salmon sandwich with a small salad makes a lovely lunch.

It is suggested to have 6-7 grain products a day and to make half of those whole grain. Try for a variety such as barley, oats, or whole grain breads. Look at the labels and choose grains that are lower in fat, sugar or salt.

Examples of one serving:

1 slice of bread

125 ml (1/2 cup) of cooked pasta or couscous

125 ml (1/2 cup) of rice

Milk and alternatives are important for vitamin D and calcium. 50g (1.5 oz.) of cheese or 175g (1/4 cup) of yogurt are tasty snacks.

Examples of one serving:

250 ml (1 cup)

125 ml (1/2 cup) of canned milk (evaporated)

Watch the labels for lower fat and sugar options.

As you read these suggestions you can see how easy it can be to group healthy foods together. An example might be whole wheat cereal with low fat milk and fruit, or sliced apple with peanut butter for a snack.

Maintaining a healthy weight is important as you age. Instead of trying to lose weight, make wise food choices. Try watching portion sizes and being active instead. It is recommended to have three meals a day and two snacks. Losing weight can affect one’s overall health, including muscle loss.

Try limiting foods and beverages that are high in calories, fat, sugar or sodium such as cakes and pastries, candies, doughnuts and fried foods.

Some of the benefits of eating well and being active include better overall health, lower risk of disease, feeling and looking better, more energy and stronger muscles and bones.

Bon Appetit!