Healthy holiday eating urged

Darryl Plecas, parliamentary secretary for seniors, is emphasizing the importance of healthy eating over the holidays.

Enjoying the holidays can have an impact on the waistline.

Darryl Plecas, parliamentary secretary for seniors, is emphasizing the importance of healthy eating over the holidays.

“For many of us, a highlight of the holidays is the food. Though we  may be tempted to overindulge on rich dinners and desserts, it’s  important to remember that healthy eating should always be a priority, especially for seniors,” he said.

“Research shows seniors have higher rates of heart disease, high cholesterol and blood pressure than the rest of the population, so making healthy choices even when faced with temptation can go a long way toward preventing these chronic conditions.”

Plecas added that healthy eating can also keep seniors well by preventing falls.

“Getting enough iron, vitamin D and  protein can help seniors prevent muscle weakness, while calcium is important to keep bones strong and avoid fractures,” he said.

“Balanced nutrition is the key. Aim to fill half your plate with  fruits and veggies and include whole grains in your meals. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean filling your plate with scalloped potatoes and apple pie. Loading up on fresh or lightly cooked vegetables, choosing lean proteins like turkey breast, and going easy  on gravy, will ensure your meal is nutritious while being lower in  fat and sodium.”

Plecas says small steps can make a big difference to ensuring  health.

“Add an extra fruit or veggie to meals and snacks, like a mandarin orange with breakfast and a side salad with dinner,” he said.

““Of course, it’s also important to enjoy yourself and share favourite  foods with friends and family. I know the holidays wouldn’t be the same for me without grandma’s Christmas pudding.”