We’re heading into a season where everyone’s thoughts turn to food – tasty, traditional, tried and true recipes! Newfoundlanders are known for their hospitality – and much of that revolves around food – especially among the older generation!
Healthy Eating is important for everyone, and as people age, it becomes even more important to help maintain good health and independence. As an older adult, the benefits of healthy eating as part of a daily routine are endless.
Enter the provincial government’s new Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging resource.
It’s a valuable resource based on Canada’s Food Guide that includes practical, easy-to-read information to encourage healthier eating choices from the planning stages – to putting meals on the table.
It also offers ideas to make mealtimes more pleasant and satisfying and includes handy tips on:
- planning for, shopping for and cooking healthy meals;
- eating alone;
- using leftovers;
- having an emergency food shelf; and
- providing nutritious recipes that were kitchen-tested right here in Newfoundland and Labrador.
And Eastern Health’s Regional Nutritionists have been putting it to the test!
On October 20, 2014, the Placentia West area welcomed Regional Nutritionist Melissa Caravan to introduce Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging. Twenty one ladies, representing local groups such as the Placentia West 50+ Club and the Parkers Cove Ladies Social Club, came out to the session in Rushoon, sponsored by the Placentia West Heritage Committee and the Parker’s Cove Recreation Committee.
All women who certainly know their way around a kitchen – but who are also open to new ways of doing things – given they or others they know, may be working with a limited budget.
Once in the kitchen – armed with recipes from Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging, the ladies prepared three versions of a Newfoundland classic – the bread pudding – along with a delicious tuna melt!
While the pudding was cooking, Melissa led a group exploration of the Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging Resource. Using a ‘treasure hunt’ format, the group learned some key things, including:
- the factors that contribute to healthy eating;
- the importance of Canada’s Food Guide in meal planning; and
- how to eat healthy on a budget.
Many of the ladies remarked on the cost of healthy eating and the difficulty in getting good quality foods, especially fresh fruit and vegetables that will last for a reasonable period of time.
The section on the creative use of leftovers showed how a return to some of our old traditions can help deal with this issue – and the delicious bread pudding proved that using leftover food can lead to some tasty options.
The food preparation activity highlighted two key characteristics of the recipes in the guide:
- they’re easy to prepare, and
- they’re created especially for one or two persons and economical because they do not call for large numbers or quantities of ingredients.
The opportunity to sample the recipes at the end of the session proved one more important thing: these simple and economical recipes are very tasty as well!
There was lots of interest from the participants as they discussed ideas of how to make eating a social occasion: such as having a Souper Supper Club, eating with neighbours, inviting friends and family to come for supper and making the effort to go out to special community meals.
All of the ladies present received a copy of the resource and some took extra copies for members of their group. Everyone had a good time and thanked Melissa for a highly informative and enjoyable session.
Since the release of the Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging resource, Melissa Caravan and her colleague Christina Tucker have been promoting the resource with older adults throughout the Eastern Health region.
If you are a community group leader and would like to discover ways to share this resource with your group, contact your regional nutritionist:
- St. John’s and area, Lesley Burgess, 752-4422, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rural Avalon and Peninsulas, Melissa Caravan, 229-1605, email@example.com
We encourage you to get copies to share with your groups – just in time for Christmas – or your very next meal!
For an online copy of Healthy Eating for Healthy Aging, visit: http://www.health.gov.nl.ca/health/publications/Senior’s_Healthy_Eating_Resource_Web.pdf
OR – you can order hard copies (free of charge) from Eastern Health’s literature depots at the following email addresses:
- St. John’s and Area: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rural Avalon & Peninsulas: email@example.com
For more information on healthy eating and aging, check out Eastern Health’s website at Healthy Living A to Z. ■
Written by Melissa Caravan and Christina Tucker, Regional Nutritionists with Eastern Health, and Burin Peninsula resident Elizabeth Murphy.