Archive for the ‘Nutrition’ Category

Seniors at Risk: Dehydration

Posted on: July 11th, 2014 by Kim McCreery No Comments


Water makes up over 60% of our body. Water is vital to life. You can go weeks without food but only about 3-4 days without water. Unfortunately, many seniors suffer from poor hydration. The challenges of aging including a lack of thirst–our sense of thirst decreases as we age; mobility limitations that make getting to the bathroom and using the toilet more difficult; and incontinence cause some seniors to avoid drinking adequate amounts.

Best Beverages for Hydration
The best liquid to drink is water followed by beverages like unsweetened, decaffeinated tea and coffee, milk, and low sodium soups. Diluted fruit juice can be another option too. Make it half and half. Fruits and vegetables high in water content including melons, cucumbers, and berries help us stay hydrated as well. If eating is an issue, try a simple fruit smoothie made with fruit, ice, and milk. Avoid excess caffeine and concentrated high sugar beverages.

Monitor Your Beverage IntakeIce-Cold-Water1-265x300
8-10 8 ounce glasses a day is advised for most people. Keep track of your intake. Sometimes we don’t know how much we are drinking unless we monitor it. Keep a chart OR set up 8 glasses, grab a permanent marker, number them 1-8 and drink them in order throughout the day. Put each glass away once you finish the beverage inside.  Follow your doctor’s advice if you have a condition that affects or limits fluid intake.

The consequences of poor hydration include low energy, dry skin, poor circulation, constipation, medication concerns, and other potentially serious health issues.  Keeping hydrated is one of the best things we can do for our health. Make it a daily goal to drink up!

If you are concerned about a loved one, read more about the causes and effects of dehydration.



Easy & Beautiful Holiday Dessert

Posted on: December 23rd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Easy & Beautiful Holiday Dessert. Feeds a crowd!

Jello Pudding Tiramisu serves a crowd ages 1 to 92!Showcased in a beautiful glass bowl, this dessert can be easily modified for those with diet restrictions. Just use low-fat, sugar-free, lactose-free, or gluten-free ingredients.

Ingredients: Kraft Tiramisu Bowl

  • 1-8 ounce package cream cheese
  • 3 cups cold milk
  • 2-3.4 ounce boxes of vanilla instant pudding
  • 1-8 ounce tub of non-dairy whipped topping like Cool Whip
  • 48 vanilla wafers or lady fingers
  • 1/2 cup of strong coffee (reg or decaf) cooled
  • 2 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate coarsely grated
  • 1 cup of fresh raspberries.

Instructions: In a mixing bowl, beat soften cream cheese until creamy. Add milk and dry pudding mixes. Stir in 2 cups non-dairy whipped topping. Line a 2 1/2 quart glass bowl with 24 wafers or lady fingers. Drizzle 1/4 cup of coffee over wafers or lady fingers. Top with 1/2 the filling mixture and 1/2 the grated chocolate. Repeat another layer then top with remainder of filling, raspberries, and chocolate. Refrigerate for 2 hours-24 hours.

Serves 14 -16.

Source: Tiramisu Bowl Recipe

Best Wishes for a wonderful holiday with family and friends!


Senior Nutrition Series: Go for the Fiber

Posted on: October 21st, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments


Plants such as fruits and vegetables are fiber-rich carbohydrates. Filber Rich Foods

Fiber is vital for good health. Studies show decreased risk for heart disease when adults consume enough fiber. Evidence also suggests that fiber in the diet can help prevent colon cancer and promote weight control. Other benefits include improved bowel function and lower blood cholesterol levels.

Fiber Recommendations according to

  • Men over aged 50 should get 30 grams of fiber a day.
  • Women over aged 50 should get 21 grams of fiber a day.

Beware of Fiber Poor Carbohydrates including white bread, baked goods, white rice, and sugar. We call these bad because these products contain little or no fiber, easily convert to glucose and raise your blood sugar FAST! Also,
these foods contain little or no nutritional value.

Seek out Fiber Rich Carbohydrates including fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain products (wheat, oats, rye, quinoa, barley, brown and wild rice). Note: pasta should be consumed al dente, meaning don’t over cook the pasta. It should be firm not soft.


Harvard School of Public Health: Carbohydrates: Good Carbs Guide the Way

U.S. Department of Agriculture: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010: Foods and Nutrients to Increase


Senior Nutrition: Good Fats, Bad Fats

Posted on: October 3rd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments
Good Fats

Good Fats

If you grew up eating a lot of real butter, shortening, and lard, this post is for you!

Dietary fat is a nutrient that helps your body absorb essential vitamins, maintains the structure and function of cell membranes, and helps keep your immune system working.  We need fat, however, some types of fat may increase your risk of heart disease and other health problems. Fat also has a lot of calories, increasing the risk of weight gain.  Source: Mayo Clinic

The Good Fats

Monounsaturated fats: These heart-healthy fats are typically a good source of the antioxidant vitamin E, a nutrient often lacking in American diets. Sources: olives, avocados, hazelnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, and olive, canola, and peanut oils.

Polyunsaturated fats, Omega 3 and 6:  Found mostly in vegetable oils, these help lower both blood cholesterol levels and triglyceride levels— especially when you substitute them for saturated fats.  Sources: Soybean and canola oil, walnuts, flaxseed, cold water fish (cod, crab, lobster, scallops, tuna, trout, and salmon).

 The Bad Fats

Saturated Fats: Saturated fats are the solid fats. They are linked to chronic diseases, especially heart disease. Sources: High-fat cheeses, high-fat cuts of meat, whole-fat milk and cream, butter, ice cream, palm and coconut oils  **Low-fat versions of these foods usually still contain saturated fats, but in smaller quantities than the regular versions.

Trans Fats: Partially-hydrogenated oils — the dirty word to look for on a list of ingredients.  Sources: It’s a semi-solid fat commonly found in commercially baked goods and some hard margarines.

Bottom line, avoid those fats you grew up with…real butter, lard, and shortening. Take it easy on the baked goods and go low-fat in the dairy section when you can!


Nutrition Series: Protein Recommendations

Posted on: April 22nd, 2013 by Kim McCreery No Comments

Good nutrition is one of the pillars of good health. This week we start a 6 week series of simple, straightforward posts on different components of nutrition to help seniors, adults with disabilities, and caregivers make informed food decisions. As a bonus, each week we will include a recipe based on the topic. Week one: Protein Recommendations. Remember to consult your doctor before you make major changes to your diet especially if you are on medications and/or have a medical condition.


Protein Recommendations

1. Mix it up. Most reasonable diets provide enough protein for healthy people. Eating a variety of foods will ensure that you get all of the amino acids you need.

2. Go low on saturated fat. Beans, fish and poultry provide plenty of protein, without much saturated fat. Steer clear of fatty meats and use whole-milk dairy products sparingly.

3. Limit red meat—and avoid processed meat. Research suggests that people who eat even modest amounts of red meat have a higher risk of developing colon cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, and a higher risk of dying from heart disease, cancer, or any cause. There’s also substantial evidence that replacing red meat with fish, poultry, beans, or nuts, could help prevent heart disease
and diabetes—and could lower the risk of early death. So make red meat (beef, pork, lamb) only an occasional part of your diet—no more than two 3-ounce servings a week—if you eat it at all. And skip the processed stuff—bacon, hot dogs, and deli meats—since that’s linked even more strongly to cancer, heart disease, and diabetes risk.

4. Eat soy in moderation. Tofu and other soy foods are an excellent red meat alternative. In some cultures, tofu and soy foods are a protein staple, and we don’t suggest any change. But if you haven’t grown up eating lots of soy, there’s no reason to go overboard: Two to four servings a week is a good target.

5. Balance carbs and protein. Cutting back on highly processed carbohydrates and increasing protein improves levels of blood triglycerides and HDL, and so may reduce your chances of having a heart attack, stroke, or other form of cardiovascular disease. It may also make you feel full longer, and stave off hunger pangs.


Protein Packed Peanut Butter Chocolate Balls Recipe

  • 1 cup of low-fat peanut butter (creamy or crunchy)
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 cup of Instant protein shake mix (found in the health section of your grocery store). Recommended brands: Aria Protein Shake Mix 50% whey/50% soy chocolate flavored; Gensoy Soy Protein Shake chocolate flavored.)

In a microwave safe bowl, heat peanut butter and honey for about 30 seconds to soften. Stir together and gradually add the protein. Mix well. Form into balls and place on wax paper. Cool and refrigerate. Variation: roll balls in chocolate chips, coconut, granola.