Ogdensburg’s Claxton-Hepburn offers healthy food ideas for seniors
Sunday, June 15, 2014 - 5:47 pm

OGDENSBURG -- “Food just doesn’t taste the same anymore.”

“I can’t get out to go shopping.”

“I’m just not that hungry.”

These are a few common reasons some older people don’t eat healthy meals, according to Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center. But choosing healthy food is a smart thing to do, no matter one’s age.

The Ogdensburg hospital and the National Institute on Aging recommend the following tips to get started:

• Eat many different colors and types of vegetables and fruits.

• Make sure at least half of your grains are whole grains.

• Eat only small amounts of solid fats and foods with added sugars.

• Limit saturated fat (found mostly in foods that come from animals) and trans fats (found in foods like store-bought baked goods and some margarines).

• Eat seafood twice a week.

• Stay away from “empty calories.” These are foods and drinks with a lot of calories but not many nutrients—for example, chips, cookies, soda and alcohol.

So with the knowledge of what to eat, how much should one eat? That depends on one’s activity level. If a body east more than it uses, it gains weight. Calories are a way to count how much energy is in food. The energy you get from food helps you do the things you need to do each day. Try to choose foods that have a lot of nutrients you need, but not many calories.

Just counting calories is not enough for making smart choices. Consider this: a medium banana, one cup of flaked cereal, one-and-a-half cups cooked spinach, one tablespoon of peanut butter, or one cup of one-percent milk all have roughly the same number of calories. But the foods are different in many ways. Some have more essential nutrients than others. For example, milk gives you more calcium than a banana, and peanut butter gives you more protein than cereal. Some foods can also make you feel fuller than others.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), eating the smallest amount suggested for each food group gives about 1,600 calories. The largest amount has 2,800 calories.

How many calories do people over age 50 need each day? A woman who is not physically active needs about 1,600 calories a day. A woman who is somewhat active needs about 1,800 calories a day and a women who has an active lifestyle needs between 2,000 and 2,200 calories per day. A man who is not physically active needs about 2,000 calories a day. A man who is somewhat active needs between 2,200 and 2,400 calories a day and a man that has an active lifestyle needs about 2,400 to 2,800 calories a day.

To be active, persons should aim for at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Ten-minute sessions several times a day on most days will work.