Nutrition for retirees: Age 64 to 75
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Healthy Eating Advice for Retirement

By Andrea Holwegner, Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc., For the Calgary Herald, Calgary Herald  November 3, 2010

healthy eating advice for retirement

If you are between the ages of 64 and 75, it is now more important than ever to maximize your nutrition to protect your long term health. With decades of habitual eating habits, it can be challenging, but the results to boost your quality of life are worth the effort.
Here are four challenges to meet to get the nutrition you need:

1. Focusing on calcium and vitamin D

Statistics Canada in the Canadian Health Measures Survey showed that 79.7 per cent of men aged 50 to 70 and 67.7 per cent of women aged 50 to 70 are falling short in calcium from calcium-rich foods, beverages and supplements. Low calcium intake is associated with osteoporosis, high blood pressure and colon cancer. This study also showed that two-thirds of the population has vitamin D levels below the amounts research is associating with reduced risk of chronic diseases such as cancer, while one in 10, or more than three million people, have such low readings that they don’t have enough for good bone health.

If you consume three or more servings of calcium rich foods daily – such as one cup milk or soy milk, 1/2-cup yogurt and 1.5 ounces of cheese – you will consume enough calcium from food alone. To achieve an optimal amount of vitamin D for health, consume vitamin D rich foods such as milk and fatty fish and take a vitamin D supplement.

Health Canada recommends all adults over 50 take a vitamin D supplement of 400 IU per day. Osteoporosis Canada recommends daily supplements of 800 to 2,000 IU for adults over 50 and the Canadian Cancer Society recommends Canadians take in 1,000 IU of vitamin D every day.

2. Lowering heart disease, cancer and diabetes risk

The risk of heart disease, cancer and diabetes increases with age. Be sure to get more of the heart healthy fats such as vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, avocado and fish fats and limit saturated fats by choosing leaner cuts of meat and lower-fat dairy. Eliminate trans fats found in deep fried and packaged foods containing hydrogenated oils. Plan your meals with healthy carbohydrates such as whole grains, beans/legumes, fruits and vegetables and also balance each meal with a source of protein such as meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, dairy, nuts or legumes. Protein is very important to provide fullness and prevent a rapid spike in your blood sugars.

Of particular importance in reducing your cancer risk is being sure to eat enough vegetables and fruits per day. Adults over 50 years of age require seven servings of vegetables and fruits per day. One of the easiest ways to make sure you are getting enough is to be sure that your breakfast and snacks have fruit and your lunch and supper have loads of vegetables.

3. Remembering all foods can fit

After years of conflicting media messages and many diet fads, you may be confused and frustrated about what to eat. Refuse to buy into quick fix solutions such as diet pills or revolutionary eating plans that highlight a long list of forbidden foods. I shake my head when someone tells me that their weight loss plan does not allow them to eat bananas or white rice. Has anyone actually become overweight because they ate too many bananas? I wonder if people that refuse to eat any white foods had stopped to ponder why the whole continent of Asia was not overweight eating a high-carb diet based on large quantities of white rice.

The truth is there are no good and bad foods. While you may want me to highlight forbidden foods you should never eat and golden foods that you should always eat, remember all foods can fit. Look at your diet as a whole versus analyzing every single food choice you make.

4. Downsizing your food and nutrition habits

Understanding how to downsize your food and nutrition habits is an important way you can watch your calories as you age to help you manage a healthy weight.

Stockpiling, bulk buying or buying colossal family-sized packages can make it difficult to maintain a healthy body weight. Research has shown that if you have more, you eat more.

For example, if you have four boxes of crackers sitting in the pantry you will likely eat more than if you have only one box. If you purchase large bags of nuts you will likely eat bigger portions than small bags of nuts.

Visibility and convenience can also cause you to overeat. The more times you see something and the easier it is to get to, the more likely it is that you will eat it. You can tell yourself a dozen times that you don’t need to eat the cookies you pass by in the large glass jar on the counter, but after a few more times of seeing it you will likely give in and eat some. The old saying out of sight out of mind will serve you well.

You may also want to portion out your food on the counter rather than eating “family style” with bowls on the table. You will also eat less if you portion out foods into bowls rather than eating them directly from the bag or carton. Consuming food on a smaller plate or from a smaller container can also help.

For comments on this article and to ask Andrea your top nutrition questions visit her blog at healthstandnutrition.com/blog/.

Roasted Vegetables

Here’s a great way to include more vegetables in your diet. Preparation is extremely simple and the result is delicious and flavourful.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (healthstandnutrition.com).

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil

salt & pepper (to taste)

3 cups (750 mL) of your favourite vegetables, such as green, yellow or red peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, asparagus, green/yellow beans, squash, snow peas

Preheat oven to 475°F (245°C).

In a large bowl, combine the cut-up vegetables.

Add olive oil and toss vegetables until they are coated.

Spread vegetables evenly on a large roasting pan.

Roast for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, stirring every 10 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through and browned.

Optional: when ready, sprinkle vegetables with salt and/or pepper to taste.

Makes 6 Servings.

Nutrition information per serving: calories 83, carbohydrates 9g, protein 3.2g, fat 4.9g, dietary fibre 3.1g.

Red Pepper & Italian Sausage Frittata

Try this for supper with whole grain toast and a mixed green salad. Reheat the leftovers for lunch the next day.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (healthstandnutrition.com).

(400 g) Italian Sausage (your choice of chicken, turkey, pork or vegetarian soy sausage)

1/2 cup (125 mL) onion, chopped into small pieces

3 cloves garlic, minced

1 red pepper, diced into small pieces

8 large eggs

1/4 cup (50 mL) skim milk

1/4 tsp (1 mL) dried thyme

3 tbsp (50 mL) fresh parsley, finely chopped

Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

In a non-stick skillet that has a handle that is ovenproof, cook sausage until completely cooked. Remove from skillet and cut into small bite-sized pieces.

In the same skillet, cook onion, garlic, and red pepper until soft. Add cooked sausage.

In a large bowl beat eggs, milk, thyme and parsley. Add this egg mixture to the skillet and cook over medium heat until egg mixture begins to set. Lift edges to allow uncooked egg to flow underneath. Cook until top is almost set.

Preheat your oven to broil and broil the skillet for 1 to 2 minutes or until top is set.

Cut into wedges and top with salt and pepper to taste or alternatively serve with salsa.

Makes 6 Servings.

Nutrition information per serving (analysis done with Italian turkey sausage): calories 219, carbohydrates 7.2 g, protein 19.3 g, fat 12.6 g, dietary fibre 1.3 g.

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup

Foods rich in colour such as butternut squash are good sources of carotenoids – compounds, which are cancer and heart disease preventive.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (healthstandnutrition.com).

1 can evaporated milk

3 lbs (1.5 kg) butternut squash

3 garlic cloves

2 medium apples

8 cups (2 L) chicken or vegetable stock

salt and pepper

pinch of cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)

fresh thyme or savory (optional)

Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C). Cut squash in half and scoop out seeds. Brush the cut side of the squash with olive oil and place cut-side down on baking sheet.

Without removing skin, cut the hard end of the garlic off and place the exposed end on the baking sheet next to the squash. Peel and core the apples and add to the baking sheet.

Bake in oven for 45 to 50 minutes or until the squash is tender.

Scoop out the squash and squeeze the processor or blender, puree. Transfer puree to medium saucepan.

Add enough stock to give soup the desired consistency. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg to taste.

Heat soup gently over medium heat. Serve topped with chopped fresh thyme or savory if desired.Makes 6 servings

Nutrition information per serving: calories 222, carbohydrates 46 g, protein 9 g, fat 2 g, fibre 5 g.

Berry Bundt Cake

A yummy cake that is also a source of fibre and phytonutrient rich berries!

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (healthstandnutrition.com).

1 cup (250 mL) flour

1 cup (250 mL) whole wheat flour

1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder

1 tsp (5 mL) baking soda

tsp (1 mL) salt

1 cup (250 mL) sugar

1/4 cup (50 mL) canola oil

3/4 cup (175 mL) buttermilk

3 eggs

2 cups (500 mL) frozen unsweetened raspberries

2 cups (500 mL) frozen unsweetened blueberries

Combine sugar, oil, buttermilk and eggs and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix just until moistened. Fold in raspberries and blueberries. Pour batter into a sprayed Bundt pan. Bake at 350°F (180°C) for about 1 hour.

Optional: Glaze cake with 1 cup (250 mL) icing sugar thinned with 2 tbsp (25 mL) of water.

Makes 12 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: (without glaze) calories 226, carbohydrates 39 g, protein 5 g, fat 6 g, dietary fibre 3 g.

Orange Infused Basa Fillets

Basa is a tasty fish with a delicate texture and meaty flesh.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (healthstandnutrition.com).

2 large basa fillets (approx. 500g)

½ cup (125 mL) water

4 large oranges cut into thin slices

salt and pepper (to taste)

Completely cover the bottom of a large frying pan with orange slices. Pour water into pan and bring to a boil. Place thawed basa fillets on top of orange slices. Cover pan and let cook on medium heat for approximately 5 to 8 minutes or until the basa fillets are completely cooked throughout.

Serve immediately and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste

Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: calories 112, carbohydrates: 0 g, fat 5 g, protein 16 g.


A fresh and flavourful appetizer or serve on a pizza shell topped with cheese for supper.

Recipe from Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. (healthstandnutrition.com).

3 in (8 cm) wide whole wheat french baguette, cut into 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick disks

4 large tomatoes, diced into small pieces

1/2 cup (125 mL) fresh basil leaves, chopped into small pieces

fresh ground pepper and salt to taste

2 green onions, diced into small pieces

2 to 4 cloves fresh garlic, minced

1 tsp (5 mL) balsamic vinegar

2 tbsp (25 mL) olive oil

In a bowl combine diced tomatoes, chopped basil, salt, pepper, green onions, garlic, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.

Optional: Meanwhile, slice whole wheat French baguette into disks and place on a baking sheet and bake in the oven until toasted. Remove bread from the oven and transfer to a large serving platter.Spoon tomato mixture over the bread and serve.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutrition information per serving: calories 170, carbohydrates 25 g, protein 5 g, fat 7 g, fibre 4 g.

Andrea Holwegner, the Chocoholic Dietitian, is founder and president of Health Stand Nutrition Consulting Inc. Visit healthstandnutrition.com and chocoholicdietitian.com for tips, articles and recipes, and to subscribe to a free monthly e-zine, or phone 403-262-3466  for nutrition counselling, seminars and resources.

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"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

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