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Cooking for your health

Senior Wellness | Jul 10, 2015

As we age, our nutritional needs may shift. It is important to adhere to your dietary guidelines while still being able to enjoy flavorful meals. Learn how to create healthy meals, expand your knowledge and address your unique dietary needs.

Enhancing flavor
The American Heart Association noted that in some instances, a diet with a high volume of sodium may place heightened stress on your heart. This can raise your blood pressure. Nutritionists recommended that a healthy diet contain less than 1,500 milligrams of sodium each day.

Unfortunately, salt is an appealing ingredient because it enhances the taste of food. Luckily, you can add flavor to your meals in a variety of other ways. A Place for Mom, a senior living blog, noted that adding vinegar, citrus or wine to meals can help intensify flavor without the negative health risks associated with too much salt.

Incorporating healthy ingredients
Comfort Keepers, a publication associated with the food service provider Sodexo, emphasized that you should incorporate colorful and fresh fruits and vegetables into your recipes. In addition, you should turn to whole-grain options and low- and non-fat dairy ingredients when cooking.

For healthy protein options, select lean meats. Eliminate fatty poultry, fish and beef from your grocery list and invest in more nutritional alternatives. Also, incorporate eggs and dry beans into your diet to boost your protein intake.

Reconfigure your recipes
Take a look at some of your favorite recipes and evaluate the nutritional value of each one. Swap less healthy ingredients for better alternatives. For example, if you make a casserole that includes white rice, replace it with brown rice to increase nutritional value.You can even replace ingredients like cream, which is high in fat, with peeled and pureed potatoes. They offer the creamy texture you love in these types of dishes without the excessive fat and calories.

Reconfiguring your current recipes is an easy way to keep your favorite meals on the menu while continuing a healthier lifestyle.

Keep the comfort foods
Remember that in moderation, you can still enjoy comfort foods that are not as healthy. In some instances, incorporating these meals in your diet is actually beneficial. According to a study published in the Journal of Aging Research, participants indicated that their past experiences influenced their current food and meal preferences.

If you feel that you lack an appetite or are uninterested in cooking yourself meals, consider cooking a meal that you enjoyed during your childhood. This can help stimulate your appetite and improve your eating habits. Making sure you get enough nutrients is crucial to your health.

Take a cooking class
A Place for Mom suggested enrolling in a class to learn new recipes, tricks and dishes. Not only is it a fun way to enhance your skills, but you can also find classes specifically designed to teach students how to meet the nutritional needs of older adults. You may also think about taking a class that can help you understand nutrition on a deeper level. Check out local colleges and find out if you can enroll in a nutrition class.

You can even turn cooking into a hobby if it isn't already. Check out advanced cooking classes available in your area or even consider traveling to another location or city and experiencing a cooking class for dishes native to specific regions. Learn how to cook lobster in Maine or become the master of Creole-style cooking in Louisiana. Do some research and find fun options.

Cooking for your health can be fun and interesting. Open yourself up to learning about nutritional cooking and how you can easily ensure that you incorporate proper ingredients in your meals and recipes.