Articles and Information from GA Foods

What are the Nutrition Strategies for Baby Boomers and Wellness?

Posted by Maureen Garner, MS, RD, LD on Aug 30, 2017 11:00:00 AM

This is the fourth article in a 4-part series on the role that nutrition plays in the health of Baby Boomers. Click here to read more articles about Baby Boomers.

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Often, the terms "health" and "wellness" are used interchangeably. Do these terms mean different things? As a matter of fact, they do. Whereas most of us have a pretty good grasp of what it means to be healthy or fit, wellness is a bit more elusive and hard to pin down. How do you know you've achieved it? 

The Difference Between Health and Wellness 

To start from the beginning, the term "health" means that your body is free from chronic diseases like diabetes or arthritis.

The term "wellness," however, sets a much higher bar. Wellness means that you've found balance between your physical, emotional, and social needs. Some experts also include occupational or lifestyle balance and spiritual fulfillment under the umbrella of wellness.

Select Functional Foods that Help in Multiple Ways 

Baby boomers face a unique set of challenges when it comes to optimizing their health. Having good health is a baseline for creating a foundation of wellness or well-being throughout the different areas of your life.

Fortunately, many of the health issues that baby boomers might face - like diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, osteoporosis, and joint pain - can be improved with the right nutrition and fitness regimen. Functional foods can be one of your main allies in promoting a lifetime of health and wellness. For example, the antioxidant known as lycopene in tomatoes may reduce the risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease.

In learning more information about functional foods, you'll quickly see that one food can have multiple health benefits to different parts of the body. For instance, fatty fish like salmon have the omega-3 fatty acids DHA and EPA, which help to reduce your triglyceride levels, lower your chance of coronary heart disease, improve your mood, and help sharpen your memory. 

Oatmeal and Fiber for Better Cholesterol 

Oats and oatmeal are beneficial foods for reducing your total cholesterol numbers, and particularly lowering your LDL, or "bad" cholesterol levels. Eating oatmeal a few times a month could also help lower your blood pressure. Considering the fact that the CDC says one in three adults has high blood pressure, adding oatmeal to your diet may reduce your risk. 

Getting your blood pressure under control is very important for seniors because doing so takes stress off the heart and blood vessels, and improves circulation. Lower blood pressure levels could also translate into improved circulation, allowing for more nutrients from these wonderful foods to be delivered to your brain. The soluble fiber in oatmeal known as beta glucan, though, directly benefits your cholesterol and overall heart health. 

You can get these same benefits from other oat products, including: granola bars, whole oat bread, and oat flour that you can put in various foods. Oats may have special benefits for baby boomers since research shows oats could help older individuals fight infection, control their blood sugar levels, and provide significant heart benefits to postmenopausal women. 

Leafy Green Vegetables Boost Your Immune System 

Your doctor was right. Healthy foods like leafy green vegetables - especially cruciferous vegetables like broccoli and cauliflower - boost your immune system and aid your cells in the fight against cancer. That might sound like an impressive claim, but the carotenoids in carrots, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, and dark leafy green vegetables also block carcinogens and keep them from harming your body's healthy cells. 

Wellness-promoting antioxidants known as lutein and zeaxanthin in kale, spinach and eggs, work to promote healthy vision as you age.

Foods That Could Improve Your Mobility 

The fact that nearly half of seniors (49.7%) have been diagnosed with arthritis, according to the CDC, should be a wake-up call for anyone wanting to attain optimal wellness as they age.

Arthritis is characterized by a breakdown of your body's own cartilage tissue, which can create or worsen joint pain and pose serious barriers to mobility and quality of life. Since arthritis generally is caused by inflammation, eating vegetables rich in antioxidants and fatty fish and omega-3 fatty acids to fight the body's inflammation, may help.

Eat well to live well. For more information on nutrients that help keep baby boomers healthy, download our free eBook:

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Topics: Nutrition, Chronic Disease Management, Aging Well, Senior Nutrition, Baby Boomers

Want a Faster Recovery? Ask for Help!

Posted by Mary O'Hara on Jun 22, 2017 11:53:54 AM

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According to Kaiser Health News, 28 percent of patients (many being older adults) who are offered home health care services when they are discharged from the hospital, refuse the services available, which could lead to delayed recoveries, and reduced independence. Studies indicate that those who refuse post-discharge services may have higher rates of readmission to the hospital and a lower quality of life.

Time to Think About You!

After spending a lifetime supporting families and caring for others, many baby boomers find it difficult to ask for help. They may feel that accepting help is a weakness, and may lead to loss of control of their lives. In reality, accepting services can actually improve the recovery process, and help seniors to get better faster. 

Loss of independence is the number one fear among seniors. What many don’t realize are that the services available can help them to recover better in their own homes.

There are several services that Medicare may cover to help discharged patients get better at home.  A sample include skilled nursing, speech therapy, and physical therapy. Some Medicare Advantage plans may cover home-delivered meals as well.

The Role of Nutrition

One out of every three adults admitted to the hospital suffers 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.

If you have concerns that you, or a loved one, may be suffering from malnutrition, here are some things to look for:

  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Loss of appetite
  • Not eating or only eating small amounts
  • Weakness and/or fatigue

Several health plans offer home-delivered meals to their members after a hospital stay. These meals can significantly impact both short-term and recovery and the long-term health of patients. Weight loss and poor nutrient intake can delay the healing and recovery process, resulting in longer, more challenging recoveries.

Home-Delivered Meals

After returning home from the hospital, it may be difficult to prepare meals. This can be especially hard for those suffering from fatigue or limited mobility. Nutrition care, in the form of home-delivered meals, help older Americans to 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.

Get Back Out There!

Today's active adults want to return to their normal activities as soon as possible. An illness or hospital stay doesn’t mean the end of a normal life for many. Sometimes a little help can go a long way to a faster, smoother recovery.

To find out if you, or a loved one, qualify for home-delivered meals, contact your health plan. Even those with chronic illnesses may qualify for home-delivered meals. Visit www.eldercare.gov to learn more.

Even after your recovery, remember eating nutritious foods can improve your overall health and give you the energy you need to stay active!  

Download our eBook for more information.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Home Delivered Meals, Medicare, Nutrition Care, Malnutrition, Post Discharge, Aging Well

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

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

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

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