Did you know snacking could eventually be a matter of life or death? Good nutrition has everything to do with the way we snack. This is especially with baby boomers and seniors. As we age our appetites may increase from all kinds reasons, including hormones, mood swings, stress, and medications. We might feel like snacking a lot more. On the other hand, our appetites may decrease. From hormones, mood swings, stress, and medications. Or perhaps we’re too busy. Or are bored and not busy enough. Or our senses change too. Maybe there’s less money. Or a disinterest in cooking. Problems with teeth. On and on. Maybe we just don’t feel like eating a full meal anymore, and what used to be appealing, isn’t. Snacking happens. But what we choose to snack on is the real clincher.
As we age we may tend to eat smaller meals, even forget to eat sometimes, or just snack throughout the day.
This, of course, can cause big-time elderly nutrition problems. Malnutrition, in fact, is one of the main reasons seniors who live alone or who feel isolated are admitted to the hospital. But it’s not just elderly. Snacking has almost replaced regular meals, and nowadays people tend to snack on all the wrong stuff. Snacking has become practically a national pastime, and in conjunction with other pastimes as well…watching TV, sitting at the computer, grabbing something on the fly, going to a game, visiting friends, going to a party, club meetings, talking on the phone, even nibbling at work if we work. Snacking is pretty much taken for granted.
Yeah, yeah. We’re heard or read all the hype on bad carbs, bad fats, bad sugars, bad calories, bad snacking. And we all know how these ingredients can seriously impact our health, and lead to death-causing diseases such as high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, plus cancer.
But we still do bad snacking. It’s just simply really convenient. And our taste buds are conditioned out of habit to want such foods. These are emotional reasons, of course, and defy the logic of healthy eating vs. death threat eating. But habit and emotions are not logical. Despite all the information out there, people still ask, why is nutrition important.
It’s obvious, especially to baby boomers and seniors whose bodies are changing and possibly developing health issues, that we need to take a close look at our snacking and re-think our options. Even small changes can help.
Here are a couple of easy and yummy healthy snack recipes to help get you started. I’m sure you’ve heard of free radicals in our bodies and how they cause disease. And that antioxidants in certain foods combat these free radicals. But who wants to eat all that broccoli, spinach and garlic. So … make a really great trail mix snack that has a ton of the antioxidant foods in it. You can get these ingredients in the natural food section of your store. Any combination of them will do. You can find a lot of them in the bulk food bins. And really try to get ingredients without added sugar!
Antioxidant Trail Mix: — Walnuts, pecans, filberts, pistachios, dried cranberries, dried goji berries, dried red cherries, dried blueberries, raisins. Mix it together, put it in a canister, and munch away! You may even find an already-made antioxidant mix in the bulk bins. Some natural food companies sell them.
Deluxe Grilled Cheese — It’s important to use a hearty whole grain bread and low-fat cheese. Very lightly butter the two pieces of bread as usual for making grilled cheese. Or olive oil can be spread on instead if you prefer. Add two slices of the low-fat cheese of your choice. Add a slice of tomato, a few spinach leaves or romaine lettuce, a sliced ring of red pepper, and optional avocado slices. Try a few pieces of walnuts or pecans (big in antioxidants) for a little crunch – it’s great! You can also spread on a little salsa. Or include a slice of lean meat. Grill the sandwich in a pan on both sides, as usual. Serve with pickles and whole-grain tortilla chips.
We have loads of healthy snack recipes for you and your loved ones (of any age – kids love them too). Just check out the special page on our website at http://www.elder-one-stop.com/healthy-snack-recipes.html . Also take a look at our Activities pages that have other great recipes and party ideas. Enjoy! Mary Schulte is the founder of ElderOneStop, LLC and http://www.elder-one-stop.com specializing in one-stop resources and information for seniors and baby boomers — including health, caregiving nutrition, activities, retirement, housing, travel, and more. A free newsletter is available, as well as a web site subscription.