Shop wisely at the grocery store.
As we grow older, we look for ways we can improve our lives. One is adjusting
the time and attention you give to your most important asset in life: Your body. As your body changes over the years, so do your nutritional needs.
The risks for heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes — among many other health issues — increase as we reach 50 and beyond. Eating the right foods and making lifestyle choices that align with your changing body can improve your odds of healthy aging to continue living a dynamic, active lifestyle.
Adapting and managing eating habits doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Here are some strategies to keep you on track as you place your food choices in the shopping cart:
Preplanning ensures you buy the right groceries, prevent food waste, and keep tabs on your health goals daily. It can also help save money by avoiding quick-fix meals that may cost more and are not as nutritious.
Skip the Soda Aisle
Avoiding soda helps you avoid the pitfalls of sugary beverages: Heart disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain, and obesity. When you choose to drink water, you consume fewer empty calories and are more efficiently hydrated. If you need to start slow, swap one sugary drink for water each day, working your way up to cutting sweet beverages out completely.
Check Off Calcium-Rich Foods
Bone density lowers as you age, so calcium-rich foods help rebuild bone density to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, prevent fractures and injury, and keep bones strong and stable. The calcium-rich foods are often on the perimeter of the grocery store. Keep your eyes out for milk, cheese, Greek yogurt, fortified non-dairy kinds of milk, eggs, and leafy greens, all excellent sources of calcium.
Select Smart Snacks
Snacking is a natural part of life. Focus on healthy fat when snacking and pay attention to the ingredients. Dips with less fat and sodium are often avocado-forward, yogurt-based, or made with chickpeas. Other healthy fats for snacking include nuts and seeds.
To satisfy the calling of a sweet tooth on the candy aisle, it’s a good idea to choose dark chocolate rather than milk chocolate. Look for dark chocolate that is at least 72% cocoa, as it has more antioxidants.
Aim for Antioxidants
Antioxidants increase the circulation of oxygenated blood flow to your brain cells. Many mental health issues, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s, can be attributed to oxidative stress.
Foods with antioxidants also boost your immune system by increasing antibodies, white blood cells, and natural cell production — all key players in fighting bacteria and infection and maintaining a healthy body. Strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and carrots are all excellent sources for your snacking urges and also excellent examples of whole foods. Whole foods are paramount to good nutrition. Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables with all the colors of the rainbow. Whether fresh or frozen, they’re full of nutrients and vitamins making you healthier and helping ward off cancer and other diseases.
Pick Minimally Processed Foods
While at the grocery store, look for minimally processed whole foods like yogurt, canned beans, fish, fortified breakfast cereal, and natural peanut butter.
When searching the aisles, avoid ultra-processed foods that are usually high in calories, salt, saturated fats, and sugar, and low in fiber, vitamins, and minerals. High intake of these foods contributes to an increased risk of weight gain, heart disease, and other chronic conditions.
Remember: You are in control of your food choices.
Aging is inevitable, but getting older doesn’t mean you must feel old or sacrifice your favorite things. Making the best food choices at the store and at home can support a healthy lifestyle during the 50 plus years.