Returning to our homes after a long Greek summer, it is truly difficult for all ages to get back to their daily routine. From toddlers to retired people, we often find it ‘weird’ to get back to ‘normal’ – specifically for food.
My rhetorical question aside, I can say that we Greeks are all ‘kalofagades’. The translation ‘good eaters’ doesn’t do the word justice, however. Kalofagades means searching for good quality food, recognizing something special, and always pursuing new experiences for the palate.
After a certain age, this may not be a good nutritional foundation, because of the special nutritional needs of our later years. Often, it is not easy to change food habits even if it is a matter of health after the age of 65. Most people do not even know where to start.
First of all, start to eat foods with lots of nutrients that do not have a lot of calories. Focus on colorful dishes of veggies and fruits. Prefer more whole grains like oat, brown rice, pasta from legumes. Add some dollops yogurt to your fruit salads for extra protein.
Remember that as you age, you need more protein: seafood, lean meats, poultry, and eggs. Do not prefer low fat dairy products but consume smaller quantities of the ‘originals’.
Pick food low in cholesterol and rich in Omega-3 fats. Saturated fats and trans fats are the worst things you can put into your system. There is a huge difference between a big horiatiki salad with an extra quantity of olive oil and a small croissant from your freezer.
Choose wisely, but give yourself a treat once a week. I have an uncle doctor always whispering in my ear “eat your tourlou and after that, some chips” (tourlou is a summer ‘ladero’ dish made with a great variety of veggies).
As you age, the sense thirst is weakened. If you feel hungry for a snack, remind yourself to first drink some water. Have a bottle or two of water as a daily goal. Also, some medicines need more water. Use herbal teas, cold or hot, if you are not a big fan of water – but avoid sugar. Sugar and salt are truly ‘white toxins’.
Be realistic with your plans! Try to buy groceries ahead for the week ahead of time in order to avoid ‘quick and easy choices!
* The above is not medical advice but mere suggestions for improving your diet. Before reach herbal use you should consult your doctor, especially those who have health issues, are pregnant or are under the age of 6.
Evropi-Sofia Dalampira holds a PhD in Agricultural Economics and an MSc in Botany-Biology.