Articles and Information from GA Foods

Does your grandpa have the meal support he needs after a hospitalization?

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on May 26, 2017 9:46:06 AM

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Food Insecurity in the United States

In the US, 48.1 million people live in households with food insecurity - meaning they do not have access to enough food for an active, healthy life. Of those people, 20% or 9.6 million are seniors. Seniors with food insecurity tend to have more medical and mobility challenges. Older adults above the poverty level can also be at risk for food insecurity, particularly if they are unable to shop for and prepare foods.

Many confuse food insecurity with hunger, but food insecurity is a social, cultural or economic status, while hunger is a physiological condition – the physical pain and discomfort someone experiences. Hunger doesn’t describe the scope of food insecurity. The scope is more than most realize. Here is a breakdown by state:

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In the News - Clarence Blackmon

One example of food insecurity is the story about Clarence Blackmon. Mr. Blackmon, age 81, was discharged from a rehab facility where he had spent many months battling cancer. When he returned to his apartment, his refrigerator was empty. He had money to pay for food, but not enough strength to shop for or prepare food. He didn't have any family in the area. Not knowing what to do, he called 911 and asked the dispatcher to bring him food. The dispatcher brought him food and even made him sandwiches for several meals. Unfortunately, many senior adults experience food insecurity after a hospitalization.

Food Insecurity after a Hospitalization

Food insecurity also has an impact on hospital readmissions. One study interviewed 40 adults with three or more hospitalizations within a 12-month period. They found, that like Clarence, 75% were unable to shop for their own food and 58% were unable to prepare their own food.

Last fall, the Food Forum of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a workshop on Nutrition Across the Life Span for Healthy Aging. One of the presenters, Mary Ann Johnson, emphasized the need to think about nutrition interventions when someone is discharged from a hospital and sent home without meal support. Many end up in acute or long-term care. She “mentioned an ongoing national conversation on how the medical health and social services health systems can work together and suggested that meals are an important link between the two.”

After a hospitalization, patients generally have decreased energy, pain, weakness, and a poor appetite, putting those with food insecurity at an even greater risk for malnutrition, and associated poor outcomes.

Meal Services after a Hospitalization

Connecting food insecure patients with resources such as home-delivered meals (HDM), decreases their need for shopping and cooking after a hospitalization. HDMs provide a regular source of nutritious food for those that need it for their recovery, reducing medical costs and the risk of a hospital readmission.

Many Medicare Advantage health plans, provide post-discharge meals for members after a hospitalization. Members who receive home-delivered meals after a hospital stay regain their strength and energy faster.

To learn more about nutrition care after a hospitalization, download our free white paper:

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Topics: Senior Health, Food Insecurity, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior health plans, Senior Nutrition,

Does Your Patient's Health Plan Offer Post-Discharge Meals?

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 17, 2017 11:50:33 AM

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Case managers and discharge planners have many things to consider before their patients return home after a hospitalization.  You may not be aware that some healthcare plans now offer nutrition care benefits for post-discharge patients.

Benefits of Nutrition Care

 Post-discharge patients can benefit from nutrition care in several ways:
  • Promotes faster, more complete recoveries
  • Reduces risks of complications
  • Reduces hospital readmissions
  • Provides crucial support to patients with poor access to healthy foods
  • Increases overall health and quality of life
  • Decreases odds of further hospitalizations due to injury
  • Enhances management of chronic disease

After discharge, patients experience symptoms such as decreased energy, pain, weakness, poor appetite and health-related dietary restrictions. These symptoms can make preparing nutritious meals difficult. Home-delivered meals allow patients to have nutritious easy-to-prepare meals and remain independent in their homes.

Reduce Readmission Rates

A recent study shows low food security has a big impact on hospital readmissions. The study indicates the cause of food security for post-discharge patients includes:

  • 75 percent were unable to shop for food on their own
  • 58 percent were unable to prepare their own food
  • 30 percent were low or very low food secure
  • 25 percent were marginally food secure

Discharge Planning

Many transitional care plans are missing an important component – nutrition care. Providing access to food allows the frail and elderly to regain their strength and energy faster. Proper nutrition for those at risk improves patient outcomes following surgery or a hospitalization. Studies show nutrition assistance with home-delivered meals can reduce the occurrence of falls in the frail and elderly by up to 60 percent.

Many health plans are adding home-delivered meals for seniors to the supplemental benefits.

Post-Discharge meals can help in several ways:

  • Improve patient's long-term health
  • Impact patient's short-term recovery
  • Maximize patient outcomes
  • Reduce costs

For more information, download our whitepaper, Transitional Care: is Your Model Missing a Key Component? 

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Topics: Healthcare Cost Reduction, Medicare, Post Discharge, Care Managers

No Place Like Home - Aging in Place for Seniors

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 10, 2017 10:22:19 AM

Senior Couple at home.jpgAccording to  The National Aging in Place Council (NAIPC), more than 90 percent of older adults prefer to stay in their homes rather than move to a senior facility. One of the challenges you face as a case manager is helping seniors to age in place. People want to stay in their homes because they are most comfortable with what is familiar. 

Senior Nutrition

Malnutrition affects approximately 50 percent of older adults. Malnutrition in older adults can lead to higher healthcare costs, more frequent hospital admissions, and longer hospital stays. Since appetites can decrease with age, many seniors skip meals. This can make them more at risk for malnutrition. Health issues like diabetes and cardiovascular disease can be the result of a poor diet.

Aging causes the metabolism to slow down, resulting in the need for fewer calories. Seniors need to eat wholesome, balanced meals daily. They should also avoid processed foods that are high in sodium, sugar and fat.

Home-Delivered Meals 

Preparing meals may be difficult after a hospitalization or for those with chronic disease. This can be especially hard for those suffering from fatigue or limited mobility. Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, helps older adults live more independently. Seniors will have the reassurance of receiving nutritious meals delivered right to their home.

  • Home-delivered meals, after a hospitalization, may significantly reduce nutrition-related complications. 
  • Home-delivered meals can reduce the occurrence of falls in the frail and elderly by up to 60 percent.
  • 92 percent of home-delivered meal recipients reported these meals allowed them to remain independent and living in their own homes.

Studies show that home-delivered meals significantly improve diet quality, nutrient intake, and reduce food insecurity and nutritional risk.

As a home-delivered meal provider, GA Foods does more than deliver meals. They can be a second set of eyes and ears for case managers and care coordinators.  Field Service Representatives (FSRs) are trained to recognize potential issues when delivering meals to your members. If they identify any concerns, they contact the Customer Care Team with the information you need for follow-up. If it is an emergency situation, they will call 911 and make sure the Care Team contacts you immediately.   

Home-delivered meals may already be a benefit on your members' health plan. Home-delivered meals provide not only nutrition, but can increase the quality of life for those who wish to continue to be aging at home.

For more information, click on the image below to download our Aging in Place infographic:

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Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Nutrition Care, Care Managers, Aging Well, Senior Nutrition,

Home-Delivered Meals - Safely Delivered!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on May 4, 2017 9:34:09 AM

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As a caregiver, you have many things to worry about. Food safety shouldn’t be one of them. When choosing a home-delivered meal provider, food safety and quality should be top priorities Selecting a provider that uses extensive food preparation safety procedures with a safe delivery model will provide peace of mind. 

Cold-Chain-Infographic_FINAL.jpgDon't Break the Chain

The “cold chain” process is one of the most effective and reliable methods of assuring food safety. This process ensures that food is maintained at temperatures that prevent the growth of harmful bacteria that can make you sick.  

The cold chain process transports perishable foods without using harmful preservatives and additives. This continuous cold chain ensures seniors will receive safe and healthy meals.

Here are some questions to ask when comparing home-delivered meal providers:

  • Is the food prepared fresh in an USDA-inspected facility?
  • Are the meals flash frozen to -19° F?
  • Is the food maintained in a cold storage at -10° F until delivery?
  • Is the food delivered to homes in specially-designed freezer trucks?
  • Do they have specially-trained drivers unpack meals and store them in freezer until ready to eat?

In-Home Meal Delivery

Some meal providers use third-party carriers, while others use their own employees. According to Consumer Reports, the number one complaint Americans had about meal delivery services was food that arrived spoiled, melted, or inedible.  When exploring home-delivery options, you may want to think about who will be making the delivery:

Here are some things to look for:

  • Drivers who wear uniforms and ID badges to readily identify themselves.
  • Drivers that undergo extensive background checks.
  • Delivery people who perform basic in-home observations. Some are trained and will alert case managers if they observe any unusual or life-threatening situations.
  • Frozen meals should never be left at the door. A reliable company will make arrangements to redeliver the food at a more convenient time. 

 GA Foods has been providing nutrition to seniors for over 40 years. They maintain control of the entire food preparation and delivery process. This further ensures the quality and safety of the food, and provides additional assurance to caregivers and families. You may also want to ask if the meals are suitable for diabetics and those with heart conditions. Meals that are low in sodium, sugar, and fat are best.

Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, helps older adults live more independently. Seniors will appreciate receiving nutritious meals delivered right to their home by a familiar and friendly face!

Download this eBook to learn more about how to choose a home-delivered meal provider. 

 Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Nutrition, Home Delivered Meals, The Cold Chain, Food Safety, Caregivers, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Senior Nutrition,

How Baby Boomers are Changing the Way We Plan Menus

Posted by Chef Michael Thrash, CEC, CCA, WCEC, PCII on Apr 20, 2017 11:20:21 AM

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Meatloaf with Sofrito Sauce

Boomers and Food
Baby boomers grew up eating meat and potatoes. Their families ate dinner together at the table. Frequently, dessert was served. When they started their own families, they shifted to fast, convenient meals, often consumed on-the-go, leading to the popularity of fast food chains, drive-thrus, and eating in cars. Their diets contained too much fat, sugar, and salt.

Now baby boomers have become more focused on eating healthy meals. They still want convenience, but want more portion-controlled and ready-to-eat meals. They are interested in foods that are low carb, trans fat-free, sugar-free, and non-GMO. Planning menus for baby boomers can be a challenge. Here are some strategies used by GA Foods for planning menus for our boomer clients that may be helpful for your program.

Bold Flavors
Baby boomers want “real cuisine” with more pronounced, bold flavors. Plan menus that utilize the tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salt, and umami. As one ages, the sweet and salt taste buds tend to be the most reliable, so meals should showcase sour, bitter, and umami. If you aren’t familiar with umami, it is a savory taste. Umami has a pleasurable effect on the overall satisfaction and enjoyment of a meal. Evidence shows that umami not only stimulates appetite, but may also contribute to satiety. Foods rich in umami components are meat, fish, tomatoes, soy sauce, mushrooms, cheeses, and fermented products. Include items like steak with mushroom gravy or cheesy potatoes on your menus.

International Flair
Baby Boomers are more well-travelled than previous generations.  They are also more aware and educated when it comes to foods and ingredients. Baby boomers want more pronounced flavors, but they are not necessarily adventurous diners. The challenge is to transform an “exotic” menu item into something approachable and recognizable. In other words, when planning menus for baby boomers, provide them with an interesting dining experience using foods that are familiar. Several meals offered by GA Foods follow this strategy:

  • Meatloaf with Sofrito Sauce
  • Chicken with Thai Ginger Red Sauce
  • Macaroni and Cheese with Chicken Chorizo

Savory Infusion
While boomers are traditional meat-and-potato lovers, they do not want to eat monotonous meals. Spice up menus with a variety of savory herbs and bold seasonings. For example, GA Foods includes side items like Rosemary Potato Wedges, Cheesy Spinach, and Green Beans with Almonds in their meals to round out the flavor profile.

To learn more about meals from GA Foods or to see our menus, click here.

For more information about baby boomers and the services they want when they retire, download our free white paper, Baby Boomers - How to Meet Their Demands.

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Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Aging Well, Senior Nutrition,, Baby Boomers, Menu Planning

Reducing Child Hunger with Summer Food Service Programs

Posted by Jessica Fleigle on Apr 13, 2017 10:10:26 AM

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Millions of low-income children will lose access to breakfasts, lunches, and snacks during the summer when school is not in session. According to the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), only 1 in 6 low-income children who ate school lunch during the 2014-2015 school year were reached by Summer Nutrition Programs in July 2015.

The Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) is a federally funded, state-administered program that provides nutritious meals to children in low-income areas during the months when school is not in session. SFSP serves free meals to children and teens ages 18 and younger. 

It is one of the most underutilized government programs. According to FRAC, for every lunch that an eligible child does not receive, states and communities miss out on more than $3.50 per child in federal SFSP funding. That can mean hundreds of millions of unused dollars and five million or more unfed children. 


SFSP Promotion Strategies
 

It is important to promote the Summer Food Service Program in your area in order to maximize the number of children served. We’ve created some strategies that will help you to inform and excite your community. 

  • Gather a group of volunteers and coordinate blitz days to raise awareness and go into the community to educate people about the program. Word of mouth from concerned parents in the community is a great way to inform people of the SFSP in your area. Local high school sports teams are also great volunteers. If high school students support and participate in the program, the younger children may be more inclined to participate as well. 

  • Create informational flyers and distribute them to parents and children during the last week of school. Many times parents are unaware that this program is available at no cost. Have volunteers distribute the flyers to parents who are picking their children up from school and have teachers distribute the flyers to students to share with their parents. 

  • Send a press release to local newspapers and media. Press releases are a great way to reach multiple audiences. Sharing your newsworthy Summer Food Service Program story with local newspapers, radio stations, magazines, and television stations is a great way to generate buzz about your program.  

  • Make your site stand out by serving meals on weekends. Funding is provided for meals served at eligible sites on anyday of the week. Most summer programs only offer meals Monday through Friday, so offering meals on weekends would make your SFSP stand out. Consider advertising weekends as family days and allow parents to participate in the activities

  • Schedule a neighborhood kick-off party to generate interest in the launch of the program. Children are more likely to participate in your SFSP if their friends are participating. Adversiting the first day of SFSP meals as a summer kick-off party will  entice more people to attend.

  • Have a bring-a-buddy day. Word of mouth is a great way to involve more children. Notify the children of upcoming "buddy days" where they are encouraged to bring a friend. Offer prizes or some sort of incentive to those who actually bring a friend. Once the friends attend, encourage them to return. 

Marketing the Summer Food Service Programs in your area can be time consuming, so we created a customizable press release and flyer, as well as a tip sheet for parents/guardians. To download these marketing materials, click here.


SFSP Success Stories

Successful Summer Food Service Program expansion involves intense planning and coordination efforts from the community. We’ve put together a couple success stories from other summer programs. These are excellent examples of using promotional strategies to help increase child participation.

  • Break for a Plate in Alabama is a successful multimedia campaign. The Alabama Department of Education partnered with a design firm to develop a website, logos, advertisements, billboards, yard signs, and other marketing materials. The Break for a Plate campaign significantly increased sites, sponsors, and child participation in Alabama. What you can do: Just like the Break for a Plate campaign, you can use marketing materials to promote your summer program. Creating a unified theme across all marketing platforms made Alabama's campaign successful and memorable. Try to make your marketing materials look unified so that people can easily recognize them. Utilize multiple media forms to spread the word, including handing out flyers outside schools and grocery stores, creating yard signs and placing them throughout the community, and forming partnerships with the local media. 

  • Browning, Montana uses a food truck with oversized pictures of fruits and vegetables on the outside along with the tagline "Kids Eat Here Free". Music blasts from the speakers sitting on the cab of the truck so children know that healthy meals have arrived. An awning and picnic tables fold out from one side of the truck. Incorporating a food truck that made multiple stops improved the child turnout in Browning. Before the mobile feeding model, children had to cross many busy streets to get to summer program sites, which their parents felt uncomfortable with or did not allow. What you can do: If you are located in a rural, urban, or suburban area, the mobile feeding model may work best for you. It eliminates the stress of children crossing busy streets, while providing them with healthy meals. Schedule a community meeting and discuss this option with parents in the area. It takes some planning to get the mobile feeding model up and running, but once everything is in place, the amount of children fed will increase. Try to incorporate music on your truck as this generates excitement (think ice-cream truck!). 


SFSP Meals

Sponsors may prepare their own meals, purchase meals through an agreement with an area school, or partner with a vendor. Sponsors will only be reimbursed if the meals they are serving meet federal nutritional guidelines, so we suggest partnering with a food service company. 

GA Foods offers frozen and shelf-stable meals that are perfect for summer programs. SchoolFuelTM, our frozen meals for kids, are compliant with federal NSLP and CACFP requirements. They can be delivered frozen, or hot and fresh daily. Super PowerPackTM, our shelf-stable meals, are CACFP and SFSP-compliant. These pre-packaged meals require no kitchen and little to no preparation. 

Both SchoolFuelTM and Super PowerPackTM meals take the stress of nutrition planning off your plate. They come in fun packaging and kids love the taste! Contact our experts to learn more about menu options. 

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Topics: Nutrition, Child Nutrition, Summer Meals, SFSP

Can Post-Discharge Meals Improve Patient Outcomes?

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Apr 5, 2017 11:00:00 AM

discharge-meals.jpgWhen patients go into the hospital, one thing they may not expect is to leave malnourished. But, that is exactly what occurs to one-third of patients admitted to hospitals. Malnutrition is not always recognized and often goes untreated during hospitalization. Weight loss and poor nutritional intake can delay the healing and recovery process. This may lead to more challenging recoveries, and in many cases, relaspse and readmission.

Disease-associated malnutrition is a common and widespread problem. Older adults are especially at risk. Clinical evidence shows that solid, well-balanced nutrition is essential to health. The effects of poor nutritional status are evident in those who were recently hospitalized and recovering from an acute illness. Malnutrition in the frail and elderly is an important area of concern. Poor outcomes related to malnutrition, may occur:

  • Increased risk of pressure ulcers
  • Impaired wound healing
  • Increased infection rate
  • Muscle wasting
  • Functional loss, resulting in more falls
  • Longer hospital stays
  • Higher readmission rates
  • Higher treatment costs
  • Increased mortality

Nutrition Care and Patient Outcomes

Research shows that nutritional intervention has a positive impact on patient outcomes. Benefits include:

  • 25 percent reduction in pressure ulcer incidence
  • 14 percent fewer overall complications
  • 28 percent decrease in avoidable readmissions
  • 2-day reduction in average length of stay

The Alliance to Advance Patient Nutrition recommends taking action to improve patient outcomes. Here are some steps: 

  • Recognize and diagnose all patients at risk for malnutrition.
  • Rapidly implement nutrition interventions and continue to monitor patients..
  • Develop a discharge plan for patient nutrition care and education. 

Post-Discharge Planning

Many transitional care plans are missing an important component – nutrition care. Providing access to food allows the frail and elderly to regain their strength and energy faster. Proper nutrition for those at risk improves patient outcomes following surgery or a hospitalization.

Many health plans are adding home-delivered meals for seniors to the supplemental benefits. Post-discharge meals significantly impact both short-term recovery results and the long-term health of patients. 

For more information, download our ebook, The Impact of Nutrition Care and Patient Outcomes.

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Topics: Malnutrition in Elderly, Home Delivered Meals, Healthcare Cost Reduction, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Post Discharge

How to Reduce Healthcare Costs with Home-Delivered Meals

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Mar 29, 2017 3:50:26 PM

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Malnutrition is a surprising problem in America. One out of every three patients admitted to the hospital suffer from malnutrition. If untreated, two-thirds will become severely malnourished during their stay. Approximately one-third of patients who are not malnourished will become so by the time they are discharged.

Increased Risk of Complications 

Malnutrition in older adults affects clinical outcomes and increases complexity of care. Poor nutrition status impairs the immune system in several ways and can lead to other negative outcomes:

  • Delays wound healing and causes unhealthy changes in body composition
  • Reduces muscle strength
  • Decreases the function and efficiency of vital organs, potentially affecting the kidneys, respiratory, and cardiovascular systems
  • Can lead to fatigue, apathy, and depression
  • Longer recovery times and increased risk of complications compared to well-nourished patients

Malnutrition Leads to Longer Hospital Stays

Malnutrition can impact more than patients. It can also have financial consequences to hospitals and managed care organizations. Malnutrition can increase the length of hospital stays and complications. This can lead to higher costs for hospitals and health plans.

Higher hospital readmissions and poorer patient outcomes are other results of malnutrition. For many, readmissions can occur within 30 days of discharge. Higher readmissions can reduce reimbursement rates under the Affordable Care Act. Per the Advisory Board, Medicare will reduce reimbursements for 2,597 hospitals in 2017. The readmission penalty results in a combined loss to hospitals of $528 million. Malnutrition-associated diseases in adults cost the U.S. $15.5 billion each year. 

Home-Delivered Meals Improve Patient Outcomes

Home-delivered meals after a hospitalization can help reduce malnutrition and improve results in managing chronic diseases and conditions.  Read this article to learn how a nonprofit organization addressed this widespread problem. MANNA, based in Philadelphia, reduced costs by providing home-delivered meals to their clients. Home-delivered meal recipients also had 50 percent fewer hospital stays, and those admitted to the hospital, had a 37 percent shorter stay.

To learn more, download our paper, Reduce Healthcare Costs and Improve Patient Outcomes with Post-Discharge Meals.  It explains how nutrition care during the post-discharge period can maximize patient outcomes, and lower costs for hospitals, managed care organizations, and health plans.

Download White Paper - Reducing Healthcare Costs and Improve Patient Outcomes

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Topics: Malnutrition in Elderly, Home Delivered Meals, Healthcare Cost Reduction, Nutrition Care, Post Discharge

Make Long-lasting, Healthy Changes

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 22, 2017 1:50:58 PM

healthy-lifestyle.jpgAs the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics continues to celebrate National Nutrition Month® with the theme, "Put Your Best Fork Forward", they encourage everyone to make long-lasting, healthy changes that will lead to renewed energy and help you age well.

The Academy recommends following a Total Body Diet lifestyle to help you reach your health and wellness goals. There are three principles to follow:

  1. 1. Balance your diet with foods from all food groups.
  2. 2. Get active every day with enjoyable movement.
  3. 3. Make your mental health a priority by fostering a positive attitude.

Total Body Diet

Foods that are high in sugar tend to be low in fiber, protein, and fat. For continuous energy throughout the day, eat meals that are high in fiber, lean protein, and healthy fats. Space your meals and snacks about three to four hours apart. Here are more ideas to help you follow the Total Body Diet:

  • Plan at least one meatless day into your week. Pile your plate with colorful vegetables!
  • Fuel your brain with foods like fruit, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, fish and avocados.
  • Clean out your pantry, fridge, and freezer - get rid of foods with a lot of added sugar, solid fat, and salt.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Make physical activity a routine part of your day. Do activities that you enjoy!
  • Sit less! Stand while working with a standing desk and walk during your breaks.
  • Aim for 7-9 hours of restful sleep every night!

For more details on the Total Body Diet read Total Body Diet for Dummies by Victoria Shanta Retelny, RDN, LDN and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Nutrition for Seniors

Seniors have unique nutrition needs to consider. The most obvious difference between meals for seniors and meals for younger adults is portion sizes. As people age, their caloric requirements decrease, so senior meals should be smaller. Many restaurants now offer smaller menu options, though eating proper portions at home can still be a challenge! A great solution for perfectly portioned meals is to consider a meal delivery service. Home-delivered meals are pre-portioned, nutritionally balanced, and are tailored to meet the special dietary needs of older adults.

Download 9 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Home-Delivered Meals Provider

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Topics: Nutrition, Healthy Home Delivered Meals, National Nutrition Month, Healthy Meals for Seniors, Aging Well, Best Fork Foward NNM

Put Your Best Fork Forward for Healthy Meals

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Mar 15, 2017 2:00:16 PM

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Each year, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics celebrates National Nutrition Month® in March. This year's theme is "Put Your Best Fork Forward" and the Academy encourages everyone to make small, healthy changes when eating.

Choosing a variety of healthy foods across all food groups will help reduce your risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. Making small changes, one forkful at a time, will prevent diseases before they occur. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Make Half of Your Plate Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and vegetables are full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that your body needs to be healthy. For many people, eating enough fruits and veggies each day is difficult. Try eating cut up vegetables for snacks. Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter so your family can easily grab a piece. Add grated vegetables like zucchini or carrots to sauces, meatloaf, and pasta dishes.

Cut Back on Added Sugars

Foods and drinks with added sugars contribute empty calories and often lack nutrients. Read ingredient lists and choose foods that don't have sugar or other sweeteners listed as the first ingredient. Quench your thirst with water instead of sugary drinks.

Make Family Meal Time a Priority

Studies show that family dinners have a positive impact on children's values, motivation,  and confidence. Involve your kids in meal planning and cooking family meals. Use this time to teach them about good nutrition.

Power Up with Breakfast

Mom was right - breakfast is the most important meal of the day. A healthy breakfast gives you the energy to start your day. Include a lean protein like eggs or low-fat dairy like yogurt, cheese, or milk. (Don't forget to fill at least half of your plate with fruits and vegetables!)

Be Adventurous

When food shopping or dining out, select a fruit, vegetable or grain that you have never tried. Foods like jicama, broccolini, purple potatoes or quinoa are tasty and nutritious. Also, explore other options for preparing foods. For example, broccoli roasted in the oven has a very different taste and texture than steamed broccoli.

Home-Delivered Meals

For healthy meals that are perfectly portioned, nutrient dense, and ready to go when you need them, try out a meal delivery service like GA Foods. Many health plans, including Medicare Advantage, offer home-delivered meals as a benefit. Check with your plan to see if you are eligible for GA Foods' home-delivered meals.

Want more healthy eating ideas?  Read this article.

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Topics: Nutrition, Chronic Disease Management, Senior Health, National Nutrition Month, Best Fork Foward NNM

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