Healthy Take

Healthy Take ... For Seniors

Healthy Snacking

Many people think snacks are junk food, though it doesn’t have to be that way. Snacking can be part of a balanced diet. Eating small portions between meals provides your body with energy to keep you going throughout the day.

Try to keep your snack portions small and less than 250 calories. Spacing out meals and snacks can help prevent weight gain. The Nutrition Facts Label on packaged foods will help you figure the calories and nutrients that are in one portion size.

More foods are now being packaged in single-serving portions, making it easier for you to keep track of how much you’re eating. But you still want to be careful about what kinds of food you choose to snack on!

Sugary and fattening sweets like cookies and candy lack nutrients. Many salty foods – like chips – can dehydrate you. These foods should be eaten in moderation.

For healthy and filling snacks, try:

bullet

Fresh or frozen fruit, or a handful of dried fruit, such as raisins.

bullet

Raw vegetables – carrots, celery, red and green pepper – cut and portioned in small plastic bags. Try filling celery with peanut butter or low-fat cottage cheese, or dipping your vegetables in low-fat dressing.

bullet

A whole-wheat English muffin with apple butter and a cup of herbal tea.

bullet

A slice of angel-food cake with non-fat whipped topping.

bullet

Whole-grain crackers (could be topped with cheese or peanut butter).

bullet

Non-fat cottage cheese or yogurt with honey.

bullet

A handful of nuts, dried fruit or trail-mix (or make your own mix by buying the ingredients you like).

bullet

A smoothie (blend nonfat milk and/or yogurt with fruit).

So forget the bag of chips or candy bar and reach for a handful of nuts and raisins. You'll get extra fiber, vitamins, and minerals, all for about 50 calories.

With proper portions and healthy food choices, snacking can enhance, rather than hurt your diet.

Source: AARP

How Walking Buffs Your Brain

You lace up your walking shoes, stretch, and set out on a brisk walk … all with the goal of being fit and healthy. What you might not know is that your walk benefits your mind just as much as your body. Recent research finds that physical activity is good for mental skills, too.

Simple forms of steady exercise, such as walking, give you the best mental boost. Walking improves your ability to make decisions, solve problems, and focus. Even small doses of walking, like a 15-minute trek, can increase your brain power.

These benefits are not just short term. The mental perks continue long after your body has cooled down from a walk.

Perk Up by Walking

When life gets you down, walking can ease some of the burdens and relieve sadness or anxiety. Here’s why:

bullet

Aerobic activity releases hormones like adrenaline in your body. These hormones are key players in your nervous system and in boosting your mood.

bullet

Endorphins also release in your body during activity. They help relieve pain and create a sense of well-being.

Try to find time for brain breaks each day by walking. Remember, you can break your treks up into several short walks.

Expand Your Outlook

Many people use walking as a time to pray, meditate, or just think. Alone time spent walking can help you gain perspective and balance.

If you walk with a friend or family member, you also can enrich your mind by talking about issues of interest. Intelligent banter sharpens your wit; this, in turn, increases your mental skill. It’s enjoyable to plan what topics the day's walk will explore.

Walking beefs up your mind in many ways. Here are more benefits:

bullet

Exercise helps you sleep better. Restful nights are essential for clear thought processes.

bullet

As you continue to walk, you’ll deepen your self-motivation and personal will. This can help you muster the mental drive you need each day.

The point is this: Any time you can dedicate to walking is time your brain and mind need for clarity and strength. When you feel overwhelmed, find the time to walk. You’ll get quick relief from your mental load and long-term enhancement to your mental health.

Source: AARP

 

Home ] Up ] Cover Story ] Down Home ] Editorial ] Feathered Friends ] Food For Thought ] Happenings ] [ Healthy Take ] Reader Recipes ]