Written by: Jennifer Larson MS, RD, LDN, CNSC (Registered Dietitian at Sheridan Memorial Hospital)
March is “National Nutrition Month.” Each year we celebrate healthy eating with a theme. This year’s theme is “Celebrate a World of Flavor!” By trying to incorporate foods from a variety of different cultures, you can incorporate new flavors into your healthy eating pattern. Many different cuisines offer beverages, sides and meals rich in fruits, vegetables, and protein which are increasingly more important for seniors. By including some of these items in your meal plan, you are able to plan meals that are full of nutrition and full of delicious flavor. Many of them are simple to prepare!
Breakfast, often thought of as the “most important meal of the day,” is a great place to add some alternative ingredients to create an amazing beverage or meal. It could be as simple as creating a smoothie with low-fat yogurt and tropical fruits such as mango, papaya or pineapple. Another great option is to make a Spanish omelet filled with potatoes, onions, bell peppers and a small amount of cheese. It is also easy to make a skillet if you prefer. If it is a cold day and you are looking for some hot cereal, try some Scottish oatmeal with low-fat milk topped with fruit and unsalted or lightly salted nuts.
For a meal starter, try to incorporate seasonal ingredients and healthful recipes from a variety of cultures. If you are interested in a hot soup, try Mexican Sopa (soup) Azteca (tortilla soup) with vitamin C-rich tomato and potassium-rich avocado. Another great soup is Tuscan bean soup which is rich in fiber, promoting healthy cholesterol levels. If you are looking for a tasty salad, try a Greek Horiatiki Salad, which consists of tomatoes, cucumber, onion, feta and olives with a garnish of oregano, salt and olive oil – providing heart-healthy fats. Another tasty salad is Jicama salad which has jicama, tomato, avocado, lime and feta cheese. Jicama is a delicious low carbohydrate vegetable.
Perhaps most exciting is to plan a lunch or dinner entrée that you haven’t tried before. Or you could try Arroz con Pollo which consists of chicken thighs, rice, tomatoes, green olives and spices. Another great choice is Lamb Tagine, an African lamb dish traditionally served with couscous – a protein-rich grain. Lamb is a lean protein that easily fits into a heart-healthy diet. Another tasty choice is Egyptian koshary which consists of rice, macaroni, lentils and spices. Lentils and rice form a complete protein making it an excellent meatless meal!
Many people like to end a meal with a sweet treat. Try making a parfait with Skyr (Icelandic yogurt), granola and strawberries-higher in protein and fiber than a standard sundae. Another option is Marak Perot, an Eastern European Jewish dessert consisting of apples, dried plums, dried apricots and raisins – rich in vitamin A and C (recipe can be modified to reduce or eliminate added sugar).
Options outside of the home
Some people may be excited to try these ideas but have physical limitations that prevent them from spending a lot of time shopping, preparing and cooking the foods. However, Sheridan has quite a few options in town that can remedy that problem. Here are a few suggestions:
The Hub at 211 Smith Street: Creamy Tuscan Pork Pasta, chicken enchiladas, carrots with leeks
Frackelton’s at 55 North Main : Vindaloo salad (originating from India), edamame, mushroom udon (Japanese inspired noodle and pork dish). Soy products like edamame are high in protein and low in fat. Curry, found in the Vinadloo salad, also has anti-inflammatory properties.
The Daily Grind at 169 ½ Coffeen Ave: Chai tea latte- this beverage includes natural cinnamon, clove, cardamom, anise and ginger for the perfect spiced chai flavor (originating from East Asia). Many of these spices also have anti-inflammatory properties.
Celebrate National Nutritional Month with us by trying something new. Invite some friends or family to join you. Celebrate a world of flavor!
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our dietitians, please call 307.675.2640.