Foods seniors should be eating

Healthy foods seniors should be eating

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KETO, no-fat, grapefruit and cabbage soups - hands up if you've ever tried a fad diet to lose a few kilos.

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KETO, no-fat, grapefruit and cabbage soups - hands up if you've ever tried a fad diet to lose a few kilos.

New research commissioned by Uncle Tobys has found a quarter of Aussies over 60 have tried an eating program that promises fast weight loss.

But according to nutritionist Kathleen Alleaume, we should ditch the diets and focus instead on healthy eating as a whole.

"We eat food, not nutrients - so it's important that we continue to focus on eating whole foods, getting the right balance, and including lots of variety to suit our lifestyle and activity levels," Kathleen told The Senior.

"Some of the more popular diets myths that are often shared focus on demonising nutrients - whether that is fat, protein or carbs. Common examples include, 'carbs make you fat', 'a low-fat diet is best', or 'eat more protein'.

"While there is no one size fits all, we now know that food is much more than the nutrients it contains, therefore no one nutrient deserves demonising as this leads to perpetual confusion and doubt."

Healthy eating is important at any age, but becomes even more so as we reach midlife and beyond. So what nutrients should we focus on as we age?

"It's still important to maintain a balanced diet, including lots of variety and based on the five food groups," Kathleen said.

"However, as we get older our bodies may have varying dietary requirements, so certain nutrients become especially important for good health. This includes calcium and vitamin D for bone health and healthy teeth and gums; fibre for good digestive balance; as well as keeping an eye on alcohol and the type of fats you're consuming for a healthy heart."

Kathleen recommends swapping out refined grains for whole-grain carbohydrates, such as oats, barey and multi-grain breads plus eating whole fruits, vegetables and legumes for added fibre as well as essential vitamins and minerals.

She also recommends eating high-quality protein with every meal to maintain muscle mass, maintain bone health and decrease risk of injury. Protein rich foods include yoghurt, nuts, lean meat, fish, eggs, tofu and whole grains.

"To meet calcium requirements, aim for a minimum of three servings of dairy products each day and selecting calcium-rich foods and beverages, such as dark green leafy vegetables, nuts, canned fish, and making sure to include fortified milk alternatives, if you choose not to eat dairy-based foods," she said.

"As for vitamin D, good sources include fatty fish, such as salmon, eggs and mushrooms. Getting at least 10 minutes of direct sunlight, especially during the winter months, is also recommended to help with achieving vitamin D requirements."

But what if we do have some kilos we'd like to shift? Kathleen encourages us to make small changes to our daily eating habits instead of dieting

"Over time they can add up to big health rewards. For example, switching to whole grains, swapping biscuits for nuts, swap a meat-heavy dish for legumes at dinner and quenching your thirst with water first," she said.

"Apart from a balanced diet, it's important to keep up regular physical activity to prevent muscle loss and maintain a healthy metabolism. You don't need to go the gym. You can stay active by taking regular walks or increasing every incidental opportunity to move more.

"This includes getting up to change the channel (instead of the remote), doing lunges while you wait for the kettle to boil, or parking the car further away. All the extra steps add up to staying active and keeping the muscles and bones healthy."

Recipe: Oat Banana Bread

Often find your eyes are little bigger than your belly when it comes to making porridge and end up with more than you can eat? Rather than wasting food, use up any prepared porridge you have from brekkie and some overripe or frozen bananas by making this simple banana bread, developed by chef Hayden Quinn.

Prep: 15 minutes

Cook: 50 minutes

Makes: 1 loaf (6-8 serves)

Ingredients

  • 2 1/4 cups (330g) wholemeal flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup (250g) butter
  • 1 1/4 cups (280g) coconut sugar*
  • 3 large eggs
  • 3 large super ripe bananas
  • 2 tbsp (30g) Greek or natural yoghurt
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 1/2 cup pre-prepared porridge made using UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Rolled Oats
  • 1 tsp UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Rolled Oats, for topping

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 175C. Grease and line with baking paper the inside of a large loaf tin and trim the edges so sit just above the edge of the tin. In a large bowl add the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and cinnamon together.

2. Melt the butter and place in a medium sized bowl. Add the sugar and whisk till combined. Slowly whisk in the eggs one at a time until completely incorporated then whisk for a further 30 seconds.

3. Mash the three bananas together. Add the yoghurt, one tablespoon of milk, mashed banana and leftover porridge to the wet ingredients and stir until everything is well incorporated in the batter. If the batter looks like it is too dry, then add another tablespoon of milk to the batter.

4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three equal portions, stirring after each addition. Be sure not to over mix, the batter is ready once the dry mixture is completely incorporated.

5. Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf tin and top with UNCLE TOBYS Traditional Rolled Oats. Place in the oven for 45 to 50 mins or until an inserted skewer comes out clean and the loaf is golden brown on top.

*Coconut sugar can be found in most health food stores or wholefood markets. It can be substituted easily for brown sugar.

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