It is May!! When I think of May I think of the May pole (did anyone else have a May pole when they were kids?) AND Older American’s Month (OAM). Well, to be honest, I also think about North Carolina strawberries! Yummy! This year the theme for OAM is (drum roll, please), Unleash the Power of Age! What are you doing to unleash your power?
When I think about the theme the idea of super-heros immediately comes to my mind. Can you tell I’m a parent of a 7 year old? Ha!
All joking aside, very soon many states we will have more seniors than they do school aged children. Those seniors will be (and are) critical to the success of every community! My hope is that we will continue to see older adults teach younger adults about canning, healthy cooking, freezing, gardening and nutrition. The younger generation will need older adults to unleash the power of food and nutrition knowledge to keep them healthy. I also hope that we can work together to take the idea of “farm to school” and apply it to be “farm to nursing home.” Older adults in nursing homes should have access to better food. Food that is local and food that is healthy. It will take all of us to make that a reality!
So, get ready for May and think about how you can unleash your super powers!!
Yes, you read correctly, the title of my post this week is encouraging you to play with your food. What I really mean is I want you to get excited about food!
This year’s Older Americans Month slogan is “Never Too Old to Play.” I think for most of us the slogan conjures up ideas of exercise, playing with kids and playing games. I think we’d all agree that these are great ways to play, but we must not forget the role of good nutrition as we “play” and that we can also “play” with our food.
Eating throughout life should be fun and involve some play. Here are a few ideas to help you:
1. Try pairing foods together that you’ve never thought of before. I recently put cottage cheese on oatmeal and LOVED it!! I got some extra protein and the slight saltiness made my somewhat boring oatmeal delicious.
2. Eat like a kid. Kids are notorious for making finger foods fun. Ants on a log, apple peanut butterflies, and vegetable creatures are just some ideas. These same ideas work great with folks who may want to eat on the go, wander due to dementia or who need an activity that is healthy that will involve the grandkids.
3. Take easy to prepare snacks with you on the go. Dried cherries mixed with white chocolate chips and walnuts, cheese cubes and whole grain crackers, celery with Nutella. These are just a few ideas of quick snacks that can add protein to your diet.
4. Eat in a new/different location. Try moving away from eating near the TV and enjoy eating outdoors or in a new room. You’d be surprised how much more you can enjoy your meal. Adding natural light and fresh air can help wake up your senses.
5. Try different types of protein. I know, I know, I’m always talking about protein…but it is important when you are over 70! Here are a few of my favorites: dry milk (1-2 tablespoons) mixed into smoothies, peanut butter on frozen fruit and cottage cheese with strawberries. Yum!
Enjoy the month of May as you remember we are “never too old to play”… outside or with our food. Have a great week!