Seniors Face Unique Challenges Achieving a Healthy Diet

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Classic Residence by Hyatt Provides Summer Cooking Tips to Help Older Adults Reintroduce Fresh, Healthy Fare to their Tables.

Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the key lifestyle choices for older adults who want to stay independent and active

A balanced diet low in sodium, rich with essential nutrients and a controlled amount of calories is important at any age, but for the more than 36 million Americans over age 65, healthy eating presents unique challenges. As people grow older, their nutrition requirements change. Their rate of metabolism declines, their bodies require fewer calories and the risk of weight gain increases. Taste buds begin to deteriorate and with them the ability to appreciate subtle flavors, which may potentially draw older adults to sugar, unhealthy fats and salt-laden prepared and packaged foods instead of delicious and nutrient-dense fresh fruits and vegetables.

How Does Healthy Eating Get Off Track as You Age?
Many older adults may only prepare meals for one and therefore worry about wasting wholesome ingredients, like fresh fruits, vegetables, meats or dairy, which can spoil quickly and may require more frequent restocking. Seniors may find themselves choosing what is quick and easy-- a frozen, prepared or take-out meal that is high in fat, salt and calories--rather than taking the time and labor to prepare fresh, nutritious meals. An unbalanced diet can complicate existing health problems or put older adults at risk for obesity, heart disease and Type-2 diabetes which could jeopardize their ability remain independent over the long term.

"Maintaining a healthy diet is one of the key lifestyle choices for older adults who want to stay independent and active," said Jon Benson, director of culinary operations at Classic Residence by Hyatt. Chef Benson. "I encourage older adults to take advantage of all the delicious fruits and vegetables at the peak of freshness this time of year."

Fresh and Healthy Summertime Fare
Summer is an ideal time for older adults to reintroduce themselves to fruits and vegetables that are surprisingly delicious, convenient, packed with vitamins and minerals, and naturally low in fat, calories and sodium. Many fruits and vegetables reach their peak freshness during the summer and have a versatile range of low fuss preparation methods such as eating them raw or microwave cooking. During the summer months, fresh, locally grown produce is readily available at the area farmer's markets making healthy meal planning even easier for older adults.

Summer Cooking Tips for All Ages
Certified Executive Chef Jon Benson recommends the following cooking tips to make the most out of the summer season.

  •     Shop at the farmers' market: Visit a local farmers' market and choose a new vegetable you have never prepared before. You can also be more selective about the amount of food that you buy, for example, choosing two large carrots for a meal versus a whole bag of carrots from the grocery store.
  •     Fire up the grill: Countless vegetables and even some fruits can be grilled for an easy one-person meal. Grilling requires less cleanup than stovetop cooking, and you can easily marinate meats and vegetables in a plastic zipper bag. A piece of salmon or chicken breast can be grilled and served on top of mixed green salad with vinaigrette dressing.
  •     Season to perfection: Add flavorful herbs from the garden such as rosemary, basil, dill or lavender to your cooking.
  •     Build your plate: Portion the food on your plate to include approximately one-fourth portion of fruits, one-fourth portion of vegetables, one-fourth portion of a meat or protein and one-fourth portion of a whole grain. Add a small portion of low fat dairy and you have a perfectly balanced meal.
  •     Mix refreshing drinks: Stay cool by making your own smoothies or fruit-infused water. Adding cucumber or watermelon to ice water is a refreshing alternative to high calorie sodas.
  •     Freeze your fruits: Fruits such as strawberries, blueberries and raspberries can be frozen for use at a later time, reducing food waste.

How a Retirement Community Promotes Convenience and Wellness
Many older adults reach a point at which they do not want to spend their time cooking every meal at home and cleaning up afterward, but they still wish to enjoy delicious and interesting cuisine. Retirement communities are a good option for seniors who want to enjoy the convenience of on-site dining venues, featuring a selection of chef-prepared menu options.

"Older adults looking to enjoy successful aging proactively should consider moving to a senior living community that offers nutritious menu selections and an environment rich with lifestyle opportunities," said JoAnne Carlin, MS, RN, NHA, who as vice president of resident care at Classic Residence by Hyatt oversees the senior living community's lifestyle programs, assisted living, Alzheimer's care, and skilled nursing care venues. "For the benefit of residents at Classic Residence by Hyatt senior living communities, we have engaged The Culinary Institute of America to help us develop the latest nutritious menu options inspired by international cuisine."

For more information about the culinary program at Classic Residence by Hyatt or to interview Chef Jon Benson or JoAnne Carlin, please contact Will Byrne at 312-803-8604. Additional recipes can be found at

About Classic Residence by Hyatt
Classic Residence by Hyatt is a national leader in senior living that develops, owns and operates communities for older adults in Scottsdale, Ariz.; Monterey, Calif. (owned by Pacifica Companies and managed by Classic Residence by Hyatt); Palo Alto, Calif.; San Diego, Calif.; Highlands Ranch, Colo.; Aventura, Fla.; Boca Raton, Fla.; Hollywood, Fla.; Lantana, Fla.; Naples, Fla.; Plantation, Fla.; Pompano Beach, Fla.; Glenview, Ill.; Chevy Chase, Md.; Reno, Nev.; Teaneck, N.J.; Yonkers, N.Y.; Hilton Head Island, S.C.; and Dallas, Texas. Classic Residence by Hyatt's newest continuing care retirement community is under development in Scottsdale, Ariz. A major expansion has just been completed in San Diego, Calif. Classic Residence by Hyatt communities have earned honors for being among the nation's finest, including Platinum, Gold, and Silver Achievement Awards from the National Association of Home Builders 50+ Housing Council. The company's Web site is at

Classic Residence by Hyatt is a privately held company and is independent from Hyatt Hotels and Resorts.

Hyatt is a registered trademark of Hyatt Corporation.

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William Byrne
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