Whether you’re recovering from surgery, injury or illness, trying to manage a health condition, or striving to achieve a healthy lifestyle, nutrition is a critical ingredient for overall health. As the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports & Nutrition explains, “Combined with physical activity, your diet can help you to reach and maintain a healthy weight, reduce your risk of chronic diseases (like heart disease and cancer), and promote your overall health.”
Those returning home from a hospital or who are managing chronic conditions can find shopping, preparing meals and cooking tiring. Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. home health aides can assist with these tasks and ensure clients eat well-balanced meals that follow prescribed food plans.
The following general nutrition tips are the result of our extensive research and experience in home health care, but it’s important to discuss your individual nutritional needs with your care management team as well as your physician.
General Nutrition Tips
- Swap Out Salt
Sodium increases blood pressure and fluid retention. This additional fluid results in added pressure on blood vessels and forces the heart to work harder. It can be challenging to cut back on sodium levels when relying on packaged foods (such as frozen dinners), which is common for those with reduced energy levels.
Some people hoping to reduce sodium, but still achieve the flavor of salt when preparing food, turn to salt substitutes. These often use potassium chloride as a substitute, which can be dangerous for those who have kidney problems and are on certain medications. Another option is to create a flavorful blend of spices in place of salt. These can include powdered paprika, mustard, garlic, oregano, sage, thyme and onion to taste. Developing your own blend of flavors can help ensure that food is tasty without the added sodium.
- Bring on the Veggies
The American Heart Association recommends eight or more servings of fruit and vegetables daily. Eating vegetables can help reduce weight and lower blood pressure. We suggest swapping out typical entrees that are high in saturated fat with roasted vegetables instead.
“Eating a Rainbow” has become a popular way of advising people to consume a variety of fruits and vegetables that will ensure that diverse minerals and nutrients become part of daily diets. Diversifying veggies and keeping plates colorful is also a great way to keep meals visually interesting and appetizing.
- Choose Fruit for Dessert
Much like swapping vegetables for fattier entrees, choosing fruit instead of foods heavy on fat and sugar are a healthier choice. Naturally sweet fruit also contains vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber the body needs.
To help some fruit feel like even more dessert-like, try roasting pears, apples, peaches and/or plums. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg for an added treat.
- Keep Grains Whole
Choose whole grains instead of processed grains, or brown instead of white, when it comes to wheat and rice. Opt for “sprouted grains” in breads and other forms of whole grains as well. Terms to look for:
- Brown rice
- Whole oats
Flax, for example, is a grain that is high in omega-3, which may have benefits for heart health and in preventing strokes.
- Choose Water
The best way to quench thirst and stay hydrated is to drink water. Avoid the sugar, caffeine or artificial flavors or sweeteners of other popular beverages and choose a glass of water. Saying “no” to sweeter beverages will not only reduce caloric intake, but can help reduce the risk of tooth decay and also improve dental health, which is an important component of overall well-being.
Concerned about the quality of water in your home? As the experts of This Old House explain, there are a number of filtration systems that can be used. These include sink-mounted filters, whole house filtration systems and simple pitcher filters. Your Premier home health aide can assist in changing filters in pitcher or sink-mounted systems.
“The simplest way to filter tap water is with a pitcher-style water filter, which has a granulated carbon filter that improves taste and odor, and removes some chlorine and sediment,” writes Richard Trethewey.
Learn more about how Premier Home Health Care Services, Inc. can help you with meal preparation to follow these nutrition guidelines, or keep to a nutrition plan your medical team has developed. Call us today at 1-866-668-4429.