Food Swaps Can Save 200 Calories

If the past year of being home-bound has resulted in some unwanted weight gain or with age, the digits on the scale are creeping upwards, there is one simple thing older adults can do to shed weight that requires no expensive gym membership, radical fad diet, or long-term fasting plan.  

Because the number of calories the body requires drops as we grow older, if people continue to eat the same amount at 50 they did at 40, it’s easy to gain weight in middle age. By shaving off just 200 calories from your daily diet, focusing on eating whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and lean protein, middle-aged and older adults can avoid weight gain and reduce their risk for chronic illnesses. 

By staying away from added sugar in baked goods and fried and processed foods, it’s easier to slim down without suffering or going hungry.  Most adults don’t get nearly enough fiber in their diet which helps people feel fuller and in turn consume fewer calories.  While it might be easy to scarf down three or four cookies, it’s unlikely that adults will eat three or four pears or apples in a sitting.  By snacking wisely, and cutting out late-night eating, it’s not hard to trim those 200 calories. 

According to a recent AARP Healthy Eating report, weight or resistance training is important to help preserve muscle mass and physical function in older age.  To support muscle mass retention, adults over the age of 50 need to ensure they get enough protein in their diet.  Healthy sources of protein include lean poultry, fish, eggs, brown rice and beans, or a cup of low-fat cottage cheese. 

While cutting a few calories, older adults should also focus on eating enough bone-building calcium and vitamin D.  Unsweetened Greek yogurt, almonds, dark leafy greens, fatty fish and egg yolks are all good sources of calcium. Spending time outdoors in natural sunlight not only boosts mood, but it also helps the body produce vitamin D naturally.  By eating whole, unprocessed foods in a variety of rich colors, the body also receives antioxidants that help to protect heart function. 

Follow this link to Eat This, Not That!  for some easy and satisfying food swaps that will make cutting 200 calories from your daily food consumption a snap.  Pro tip?  Don’t forget to watch what you are drinking; soda, alcohol, and flavored coffee drinks can be loaded with sugar and empty calories.