Food for Thought
There are a lot of great reasons to take nutritional supplements. For seniors on the go, they can be a practical option for a snack, or to make sure you’re rounding out the amounts of nutrients your doctor is recommending for you. However, sometimes the scale can begin to tip where we start to rely on nutritional supplements (like shakes and bars) over food -- and that’s something we should all should seek to avoid.
A proper meal has many benefits over a nutritional supplement. There are, of course, health reasons, but there are also happiness reasons. Meals can offer us a more well-rounded assembly of micro and macro nutrients, while also providing us a wonderful opportunity to take time out of our days and enjoy something delicious. No matter how tasty a nutritional shake might be, there’s only so many you can have before they become, well, a bit boring!
Here’s why you should focus on a well-rounded diet to maintain your health and happiness:
Food Can Help Keep You Healthy
In many ways, a well-rounded diet full of whole foods can act as preventative medicine. While it should never replace what your doctor prescribes, eating healthy meals can build a healthy foundation for your body, making it less susceptible to sickness, which is particularly important as a senior. Complete meals have a holistic combination of nutrients that even high-quality nutritional supplements can’t replace, which work together to maintain your health.
Jillian Kubala, Registered Dietician and writer for Healthline said it perfectly in her article Can Food Act as Medicine? All You Need to Know:
“Eating whole, nutritious foods is important because their unique substances work synergistically to create an effect that can’t be replicated by taking a supplement.”
There are so many different vitamins, minerals and macro nutrients our bodies need, it can be difficult to account for them all, particularly if you’re attempting to do so through premade nutritional supplements. A well-balanced meal has these nutrients working in sync, making them more effective and easily absorbed by your body.
If your focus is on eating well-balanced meals, it can have important health benefits as well. As we noted in our blog on diabetes and renal disease, a proper diet is essential for prevention of some common illnesses seniors frequently face. Type 2 Diabetes, for example, can often be prevented with simple diet maintenance like managing your intake of refined sugars and carbohydrates, and spreading them evenly throughout the day instead of eating lots all at once. One of the problems with many nutritional supplements is the high amounts of sugar they may contain, which can make intake management tricky if you rely on them heavily.
It’s important to remember that food can never replace medicine that your doctor has prescribed. Instead, think of eating nutritious meals as a way to keep your body as healthy as possible so hopefully your medicine will be even more impactful, and you might even reduce your chances of needing additional medications in the future.
Food Can Keep You Happy
The saying “variety is the spice of life” is one that bares a lot of truth. While there is undoubtedly comfort in routine, doing the same thing day in and day out can get a little boring. Nowhere is this more true than with nutritional supplements. Sure, you might have shake options that range from vanilla to chocolate, but even the tastiest of flavours can get tiring over time.
There’s also a lot more to diversity than just flavour. With a proper meal, you have a range of smells and textures that combine for an interesting and pleasurable experience. Every meal can be different, with larger portion sizes for bigger appetites and more modest portions if you’re feeling less hungry. The “one size fits all” model of many nutritional supplements means they’re not tailored to every individual.
Looking forward to meal time can be a real bright spot in your day. And for many seniors, it’s important to maintain a healthy body weight by eating enough calories. If nutritional supplements are boring, or their portions are inadequate, it might be hard to reach for one -- or easy to say “I’ll get one later.” With food to look forward to, eating enough can be a lot easier.
Heart to Home Meals for Food You Can Look Forward To
At Heart to Home Meals, we believe that every senior is entitled to food that makes them healthy and happy. If you’re looking for some nutritional meals that you can look forward to, consider these options:
There are few things more delicious than Sweet and Sour Meatballs, and Heart to Home Meals offers a tasty and nutritious version! With 20 grams of protein and 7 grams of fibre, it’s a healthy option you can look forward to.
If you're a fan of white meat, we’ve got just the dish for you. Our Hunter’s Chicken is another tasty option packed with nutritional value with 240 calories, 27 grams of protein and only 25 grams of carbohydrates. It’s also low in saturated fats and low in sodium.
Nutritional supplements can be a handy way to round out a diet. If your doctor thinks they’re a good idea, go for it! But remember, food provides nutrition in a more holistic way that supplements alone cannot. And if the convenience of a shake or bar appeals to you, there are wholesome options like Heart to Home Meals which are equally convenient. We flash-freeze our meals at their peak freshness and deliver them right to your door (and even right to your freezer if you’d like!)