Snacking tips to build strength in seniors
Young or in your Senior years, snacking is common. But as an elderly, special attention is needed for what they eat so that they are getting the required daily nutrients, vitamins, and calcium. Let us say you have got your regular big meals planned, but how about the in-betweens? The snacks?
Here are a couple of tips to help you out. Changing is hard so doing it little at a time makes the world of difference and sets you on a path of good health. If you as a senior needs help, never feel troubled to ask for assistance from friends, family, or even at care services.1
Three Meals a Day, well not really
This type of 3 meal plan may work for some, but not all. As a senior, you should try a four-to-six-bit size meal every few hours for better health results. That means to not eat more than the required, it is just dividing what you would eat in 3 into smaller and frequent meals. This will look like snacking and it could be good because who doesn’t love snacks? This type of meal eating with supervision or advised by the physicians or related health care providers can sustain blood sugar levels, maintain weight, metabolism improvement, overall cholesterol lowering, and prevent heartburn.3
Eating before workouts
Your body’s fuel is carbs and it is important that you get enough. Because a senior’s digestive system may not be as good as it was when they were half the age, it is best to not eat a lot before working out. A pre workout snack should be eaten about one to 3 hours before that is easy to digest. Don’t be fooled by energy drinks, most have way too much sugar. Try a nice fruit, toast with honey or jam, yogurt, or even Ensure.2
What to get snacking on
When snacking, being nutritionally dense as possible is key. While stocking up on groceries, try finding salmon, dark greens, chickpeas, whole wheat items, blueberries, mixed nuts, pumpkin, and a few cheeses. Take any of those ingredients and add a bite sized portion onto lightly toasted French bread to make High Tea snacks or even pack after workout snacks when going out for a jog. Instead of grabbing sodium ridden chips, why not go for crunchy veggies with hummus? If you don’t like veggies, why not make do with yogurt with a selection of cubed fruits or have a hard-boiled egg with your choice of low sodium seasoning. A cheaper way to snack is to make some from leftovers. When eating out, don’t eat your whole order, pack some away and eat portions of it as a snack when you want to within a week. Leftover turkey or chicken can be mashed to make spreads or added to a salad in another meal. Or if you are wondering if you can use meal replacement items or supplements in place of snacks, yes you can, but keep an eye out for your daily calories and protein needs and adjust.
With the recommendation of a Nutritionist or your Medical Professional, you can enjoy one glass of Ensure, complete with vitamins, minerals, protein, and unique ingredient HMB (Hydroxyl methyl butyrate, for preserving muscles), at snack time to fill nutritional gaps.1, 2, 3, 4
4 steps to healthier nutrition habits
A habit comes from doing something on a regular basis and can be developed at a young age or much later. And there are habits we wish we could change into something better, especially when concerned with health, but it can’t be done in an instant. Even if we are not aging backwards anytime soon, the key is to age well. Here are a couple of suggestions to look into if you want to develop healthy habits in your 40s or over.1
- Do you know what you are eating?
Does your taste palate find fulfillment in sweet things and rich foods? The thing about those is that they are ‘guilty pleasures’ and most often than not have empty calories and fats to make it taste good. If you really want to work at it, you will be surprised by healthier options that taste as good.
- Healthy Replacements
Instead of that mousse dessert, why not try a baked apple or bananas? How about steamed crab for fried chicken? Or have fried rice with brown instead of the standard Jasmine rice. If you really want carbs, try air frying sweet potatoes to limit greasy food intake.
- Anytime or anywhere, preparation is key
A new habit may get hard getting used to and will take time. Until you find one that will become second nature to you, have many options on hand. The easiest way to do it is buying a variety of fruits instead of many of one type and add a supplement or two. A supplement option a senior can have been any product of Ensure or Ensure Gold. Rich in vitamins, calcium, Omega 3, and HMB (Hydroxymethylbutyrate), a key ingredient in muscle preservation of muscle loss in seniors.
- Patience is a Virtue
In certain teachings it says ‘enduring patience is the highest austerity’ so give yourself a few weeks to months to get used to a healthier habit. Start small like eating less junk food, eat fruit instead of cake, wake up early, sleep at a good time, add 30 minutes of walking or workout outside and see how everything goes. Perhaps try a couple of flavoured Ensure drinks or replace milk with Ensure in shakes. 2 3
How Vitamin D Supports Senior Health
“The sun is so beautiful today! Let’s walk outside to brighten up and get Vitamin D!” is something you hear during summer or good sunlight days. Technically the sunlight does not directly provide you with the vitamin, it is rather your body that produces it when it is exposed to Ultraviolet Rays.1
The D and Your Bones
In your body, the liver and kidneys convert the inert form of Vitamin D to a form your body can use for better calcium absorption for your bones. Why do seniors need better calcium absorption? Because as you age, bone replacement becomes less efficient and becomes brittle that you get the Osteoporosis bone disease (porous bones). So the more active Vitamin D a senior has in their blood, it improves muscle function, your skeletal muscles. If you don’t get enough, cause calcium and phosphorus levels in the blood to decrease, leading to your body over-mining calcium from bones to help maintain the levels.2
When Do You Know You Don’t Have Enough of the D? How Do You Get More of it?
Not enough sunlight isn’t the only thing that causes Vitamin D deficiencies in older adults. Here are a couple of things to watch out for:
- Weakened Muscles
This is strongly linked to when you don’t have a sufficient amount of Vitamin D. Here, you will often feel heaviness in the limbs, mainly the leg, have a hard time going up the stairs, and become at risk for falls and fractures that can be detrimental. Because Vitamin D is needed for good circulation and calcium absorption, you need it for properly functioning muscles, bones, and teeth.3
- Mood Changes, Cognitive Functions & Fatigue
When a senior or just about anyone feels tired, they often think of it as they have not eaten enough or slept enough or not enough hydration, but not how they might not have enough Vitamin D. This vitamin is converted to an active hormone in the body and regulates the immunity functions and influences moods (dopamine and serotonin levels). So if there is insufficient amount, a senior may lose cognitive function, pain in joints, stabbing pain in ribs, and always feel tired. If going outside often is not an option, get Vitamin D through food.
- So How Do You Get the D?
No, you can’t just sit by the window for sunlight. You need UVB to trigger the synthesis of Vitamin D because commercial glass on windows blocks it. You need direct sunlight so about 10 minutes a day outside is about adequate. As for food, you can get some of it from salmon, egg yolk, exotic swordfish, and fortified food like dairy, juices, cereals, or supplements like Ensure Gold. 5 , 5 and HMB (Hydroxyl methyl butyrate) for preserving muscles and all to fill in the nutrition gaps in adults. Along with strength and resistance training as recommended by a Medical Professional to keep the physical health in shape, a sufficient amount of Vitamin D will significantly keep a senior healthier overall. 1, 3 , 4 ,
Roles Muscles Play in Getting Older
Everything you do since the day you were born involves a certain amount of movement. You can say you moved around in your mother’s womb, but that is not what we are talking about today. But first, ask yourself, “How much have I moved today?” One thing in common to all that are your muscles. What roles do muscles play in getting older? It’s because as you age, the maintenance of your muscles becomes very important and can make a difference in your daily quality of life.1
Level of Energy
It is a common feeling to not feel as active as you did when you were younger. You might not actually notice each individual muscle’s function because you have 600 muscles in your body. Starting from 40, 8% of your muscles’s masses decline and that rate will nearly double by the time you reach 70. You begin to feel like it takes you more time to complete a task or find it more taxing to do such things as walking to the store or even as simple as lifting a coffee mug. Even if you have no problem doing daily tasks, you will find that it takes you longer to recover back from strenuous exercises. Since muscles play a collective role, with the gradual degradation, watchout for falls and sudden laps in movement. How to prevent this? The answer is a daily regime of exercise and nutrition.2
Nutrition’s Role is Directly Linked to Muscle Health
Investing now for a better tomorrow is what you should do with muscle health as you age. Although not getting the right amount of nutrition is bad for anyone, it hits harder for seniors. Why? It is because there is a natural protein compound called beta hydroxy beta methylbutyrate or HMB for short. It is a chemical that is produced when your body breaks down amino acid (Leucine), which is an essential building block of protein for muscle health. It helps the slowing of muscle breakdowns. The amino acids that need to be broken down for your body to produce HMB are in yogurts, red meat, poultry, and also found in grapefruits and catfish, foods commonly found in SE Asian diets. But for seniors it would be hard for them to actually get the appropriate amount to support their muscle decline so they have to look towards nutritional supplements. Ensure Gold has a unique formula that includes Calcium HMB, along with a high percentage of triple protein complex, it can help seniors maintain muscle health. With a recommended serving of two glasses a day, Ensure Gold gives you up to 1.5g of HMB and if consistent, you may see an improvement in strength in eight weeks. Besure to check with your Medical Professional before you or your elderly begins an exercise plan with servings of Ensure Gold incorporated into it.3
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