82,125. That sounds like a lot. It would be if it were the price of a car, but probably a nice entry-level price for a condo, right? That number isn’t dollars, however. It is the number of meals an average person has in their lifetime. Now it does sound like a lot and no wonder we’re all getting fatter!
Luckily most of those 82,000 plus meals we haven’t had to prepare for ourselves. We’ve had parents and partners prepare them for us. We’ve been to restaurants or eaten at the sandwich cart at work. Some of these meals we’ve even skipped either out of necessity or because we’ve been out of time.
As we age, our bodies may require fewer calories, but our nutrient requirements remain high and can even be higher than when we were younger. This is especially true if we are still quite active into our seventies and eighties. The problem is, as we get older we may not be so interested in preparing a few thousand more meals. Am I right?
Counting calories? Checking nutrient labels? In our later years, it may be comforting to simply sit on the couch and enjoy a snack and a glass of Merlot in peace. Yes, Merlot. Red wine. And snacks – potato chips! Perhaps salt and vinegar? You loved them as a kid.
You’ve lived a good, long life. It’s time to relax a bit. Responsible relaxing, however – perhaps half a bag of chips and some carrot sticks wouldn’t go amiss. If you come to think of it, there are a lot of healthy snacks we can enjoy instead of cooking another meal. What about a bowl of unsalted nuts like almonds, or chia seeds? You’re right – you’d need a big bowl of those!
“There are plenty of easy ways to help seniors eat healthily. Swapping out dried fruit for fresh fruit, ‘hiding’ vegetables in a tasty smoothie, and snacking on fiber-filled foods are just some of the ways seniors can get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.” A Place for Mom
Now, a glass of Merlot or Pinot Noir means just that. One glass equals 3 ounces. Alcohol can act differently in older adults than in younger people. It can also be dangerous together with certain medications. However, if your doctor has okayed this, then there is no reason not to enjoy the occasional glass of healthy, good quality, red wine. Yes, it should come in a bottle with a cork. Invite your son, daughter, or caregiver over to help open the bottle and watch a movie together. However, get them to bring their own snacks!
“While it is true that seniors are recommended to stay away from wine, there are actually health benefits that seniors can enjoy only if they drink wine moderately.” Sage Home Care
Haha! No, I don’t mean Captain Crunch right out of the box for dinner. I mean, Thinking out of the box. If you’ve lived through 82,000 meals, this may take some creativity on your part, but if you read our earlier post, even cooking for one can be fun. And, it rhymes.
It’s important not to rely completely on meal replacement shakes or other processed foods. If you prepare healthy, wholesome, and ultimately tasty foods, you’re much more likely to try and enjoy them.
There are a lot of alternatives to having to cook. How can you make it less of a chore?
If you're concerned you aren't getting enough nutrition, there may be many reasons. Perhaps grocery shopping or cooking is too difficult, or meals just aren't as fun to eat alone.
Care.com has some great tips and ideas, too.
Whatever you decide to make or eat, just remember to include the Fabulous Five. Fruits and veggies, complex carbohydrates, protein, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy products. Sounds complicated. Nope! How about a shake? Banana, mango, oatmeal, flaxseed, and greek yogurt in the blender. That sounds good to me! Enjoy your meal!
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