Our latest post in the Telecare Tips series looks at healthy eating in older people. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be costly or boring and many older people find that they see significant improvements in their standard of living from eating well.
Benefits of healthy eating in older people
It’s never too late to change your eating habits and improve the way you feel. Eating a well-balanced diet can lower your risk of developing chronic health conditions as you get older so that you can live longer and remain stronger.
Not only does eating a considered diet keep your body strong, but it enhances your mind. Eating food rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as nuts and oily fish can improve concentration and decrease the risk of diseases such as Dementia. Eating well also makes you feel better in yourself, giving you more energy and boosting your mood.
- 65% more GP visits
- 82% more hospital admissions
- 30% longer stay in hospital
Ultimately, healthy eating is about eating a wide range of food rather than limiting yourself from certain food groups or treats that you enjoy. You don’t have to make huge changes, just a few small alterations to your diet can go a long way.
Make simple food swaps
The simplest way to make a change to your diet is to swap some of your regular food choices for healthier options.
Swap white for brown – When doing your supermarket shop, choose brown or wholemeal instead of white. This goes for bread, pasta, and rice. White is less nutritionally rich than brown or wholemeal alternatives.
Cauliflower – Using cauliflower in new and innovative ways is one of the latest trends in the food world and can be the perfect solution to cutting down carbs. You can make ‘cauliflower mash’ instead of mashed potatoes, cauliflower ‘rice’ instead of standard rice, and you can even make a cauliflower pizza base! This article on how to use cauliflower as a substitute is a good way to get started and has some more weird and wonderful ideas too.
Swap out red meat – Eating too much red meat can be detrimental to our health and increase the risk of diseases such as bowel cancer. Current NHS advice suggest that we should eat less than 70g of red meat a day. There is no need to make huge changes here. You can use turkey or Quorn mince in your spaghetti bolognese and lasagna. Have roast chicken with your roast dinner rather than beef or lamb. Swap the ham in your sandwich for tinned tuna. You could even try eating meat-free for one day a week and try some vegetarian recipes out.
Eat fewer sweets – Normally enjoy biscuits with your tea? Next time, try and swap them with some fruit. Fruit is perfect for a sweet tooth. Frozen grapes are a delicious sweet treat, particularly in the summer, or you could try something newer and more exotic like passion fruits, lychees, or dates.
Healthy eating on a budget
Healthy eating doesn’t have to cost you the earth and if done properly can even save you money.
Plan – One of the most expensive ways to food shop is with no plan or list. Always write a meal plan of your healthy meals for the week and make a shopping list from that. Make sure that you only buy what you know you will use so that you have no waste. If you do have unused food, such as bread, freeze it.
Choose wisely – Choose to cook with pulses such as lentils and beans as they are some of the cheapest foods but are also low in calories and high in fibre and vitamins. You should also choose to replace some of your meat and fish with hearty vegetables such as sweet potatoes or butternut squash – still filling and delicious but much cheaper!
Use your freezer – Cooking in batches helps to keep costs down. If you’re following a recipe, double the quantities and freeze half to eat later. After a while, you will have a stock of healthy ready meals in your freezer for days when you don’t have time to cook. It is also a good idea to buy frozen fruit and vegetables as they are often cheaper, last for a long time, and have the same nutritional content.
If you have any tips for healthy eating in older people please tweet us @TelecareChoice or leave us a comment on our Facebook page. If you would like any more information about who we are and the services that we provide, please visit our Telecare alarms page.