Heart disease is still one of the leading causes of death for adults in Canada, and many of these deaths are entirely preventable. We all know that we should eat healthy, but for seniors this can especially difficult, with many barriers including difficulty shopping or cooking for one, or disinterest in ‘new’ foods. Making big changes to a diet at this age can be an uncomfortable change, so we’ve thought up easy ways to be more heart healthy:
- Switch the fat. There are good fats and bad fats, and while cooking with no fat can be quite, well, terrible, it’s important to nix that bad stuff. Try swapping recipes to use extra virgin olive oil instead of butter. On a sandwich, try spreading avocado instead of mayonnaise.
- Cut down on red meat. Can’t live without your steak? We get it. But it should be a rare (no pun intended) treat, and accompanied with a large salad to fill you up, instead of fries.
- Go for a leaner breakfast. A cooked Canadian breakfast is a heart-warming – and heart-filling – classic. Most grocery chains and even restaurants now offer bacon and sausages made from leaner meat, or even vegetarian sources. Watch how many egg yolks you’re having too – while they do fall into ‘good fats’, there’s still a limit on how much a senior body can digest.
- Fill up on fruit and vegetables. With their high fibre contents, fruit and vegetables are more filling than you think. Try starting every meal with a starter of fresh produce, to fill the stomach with the ‘good stuff’ first.
- Pick Light labels. While a lot of products that claim to be ‘light’ or ‘low fat’ have got a bad rep for containing too much sugar, it’s still important to pick items with less fat. Learn to read labels carefully, to avoid both bad fats and too much sugar. At the end of the day, the best bet is something homemade!
- Limit the butter. For most seniors, the biggest culprit tends to be butter. On toast, on sandwiches, in your cooking, and in baked goods… The amount of butter going through a senior household can simply be too much. Swap to a lower-fat version, and limit the amount you purchase so you can’t take more than you need.
- Measure intake. The best way is often the hardest way, but it doesn’t have to be a pain! Measuring the amount of fat and cholesterol you are consuming can be easily done by many online apps. Take a look at favourite food items and keep a list on the fridge of what they all contain, so you can plan your days accordingly with some healthy meals and some unmissable ‘cheat’ ones.