Six Ways to Develop a Healthy Eating Habit
“Tell me what you eat, and I will tell you what you are,” Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 18th-century French lawyer, cum epicure, and gastronome.
It’s been a long time since he said those words, but it was as true then as it is now. The increasing problem of obesity and chronic diseases more than says it all.
While it is an embarrassing fact that in some parts of the world, malnourishment and hunger face the people each day, in the more developed countries food scarcity is no problem. The problem is what to do with all the food available to them.
The most convenient solution is to over eat; go on binge eating and drinking.
While there is nothing wrong with that per se, over the long haul, your health will suffer.
Especially when you are an elderly.
Why is overeating bad for seniors?
Overeating, at any age, is always bad for health over the long haul. It is disastrous for seniors because they are no longer capable of going an extra mile. You take life one day at a time and consider each a blessing.
You are no longer capable to handle an increase in weight, blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Or the mood swings like anger, sadness, distress, disappointment – negative feelings caused by too much eating.
While it is almost like a cliche, old age is an age of temperance.
You mellow down a bit. Be more discriminating with friends, social involvement, lifestyle, etc. You get rid of old habits and form new ones – including eating habits.
How to develop a healthy eating habit:
Developing a new habit is always difficult. I never liked raw tomatoes and onions. But I persisted until they became a part of my daily meals.
It requires dogged perseverance in doing things over and over again until they become a part of your system.
Here’s how to do it.
1. Make a weekly menu:
Yes, a menu. It is not as ridiculous as it looks. In fact, it will make your life easier.
It will allow you to plan ahead, i.e. what ingredients to buy, and what to prepare on a daily basis. It removes the guesswork out of what to eat, minimizes errors and assures that you only eat nutritious foods.
Make it a point to have foods that support good health. You may include one or two that may increase your uric acid or sugar levels to provide variation. But they should not occupy a large part of your menu.
2. Cook them yourself:
Home cooking is always better than pre-cooked foods bought from a restaurant or diner.
You can either do it yourself or have someone prepare them for you. That way you have full control of what you eat. I have someone cook for me but she doesn’t do anything except what I tell her to do.
Prepare just enough to cover the next meal, never beyond that. Foods reheated multiple times lose their flavor and ruin their nutritional value.
3. Be creative:
These days it is easy to provide variation to the food you prepare even if you are not a culinary expert. Just Google it.
The Internet is full of sites devoted to cooking all kinds of meals. You can have as many variations you want for a healthy breakfast, lunch or dinner. Even snacks.
I do it the old-fashioned way – asking from friends who know how to cook – of which I have many.
4. Don’t glut yourself:
Don’t eat as if it were your last meal. Just eat enough to last you until the next meal, not two meals ahead. Overeating is just as bad as undereating.
If this means you have to take a snack, then go for it (I always do). Snacks are good for seniors because the reinforce the sugar content in your blood. They keep you going between major meals.
5. Avoid sodas:
It is very tempting to grab a glass of soda after a hearty meal. Resist it as much as you can. Behind its sparkling sweetness and taste, lurks a lot of dangers to your health.
Sodas contribute to obesity and diabetes. The sugar in soda coats your teeth which attract teeth-damaging bacteria, they can damage your bones and, according to some research, they can damage major organs like the kidneys and liver.
So far nothing beats the good old water to flush your meals down your stomach.
6. Drink lots of water:
There are a couple of good reasons why you should drink lots of water.
First, you won’t overeat because it makes you feel full.
Second, to avoid dehydration.
Seniors are prone to dehydration because age causes the body’s water content to decrease, it also causes a diminished thirst sensation. This is further exacerbated if you are suffering from incontinence, or taking drugs for heart disease of depression.
Dehydration can precipitate emergency hospitalization and has been associated with higher mortality rates among elderly people.
Having a healthy habit is crucial for you to have a happy and exciting retirement life. It can help maintain a healthy weight, stamina and a good hedge against developing chronic diseases like arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, etc.
According to statistics, 1 in 4 senior Americans has poor nutrition. Don’t be one of them.
Believe me, eating healthy makes a lot more economic sense than being sickly.
Please share with others so they will know how to do it, too.