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MHC for Seniors: Keep in Mind


February 1, 2021 - Author: Erin Powell

Making Healthy Choices for Seniors: Week 14

Keep in mind

Habits aren’t made overnight. Building healthier habits can help you have more energy to do things you love and reduce your risk of chronic disease. This newsletter revisits some of the key information from earlier weeks in the series. Hang it on your fridge as a quick guide.

  • Remember to eat a variety of foods within each food group. Different foods contain different nutrients.
  • Include more vegetables in your meals by trying a variety and preparing them in different ways. Natural sugars in fruit are paired with vitamins, minerals and fiber, which help the body process sugar. If you’re trying to eat less sugar, avoid foods with added sugar such as cake and candy.
  • Whole grains can be cooked, cracked, crushed and rolled without losing their nutritional value. Refined grains such as white flour and white rice lack many of the nutrients, such as iron and fiber that whole grains have.
  • Many plant-based foods as well as meat, fish and poultry can provide your body with protein and a range of other nutrients. Processed meats such as hot dogs, and deli meats such as salami and bologna, have been linked to an increased risk for cancer. They also often contain high amounts of saturated fat and sodium.
  • Many foods made from dairy can be a great source of calcium and other nutrients for you and your family. Other sources of calcium include canned fish with bones, such as salmon or sardines, calcium-fortified orange juice, almonds, white beans and navy beans.
  • Fat is an essential part of every cell in your body. A source of energy, fat aids in the absorption of certain vitamins and minerals. There are many types of food that are high in fat but also full of nutrients. Examples
    include avocados, nuts, seeds, and fatty fish such as salmon or mackerel.

Just a reminder

  • Make meals social.
  • Store chopped veggies in your refrigerator for easy access for recipes or snacks.
  • Drink water.
  • Beans and nuts provide protein, vitamins and fiber.
  • Fresh, frozen and canned produce are all good options.

Weekly Recipe

Remember to wash your hands and prepare food safely.

Charred Summer Salad (serves 2)

  1. Chop the ends from 2 medium zucchini; slice each into 4 long sticks. Shuck (remove outer covering of) 2 cobs of corn. Lay the zucchini and corn on a baking tray; rub with 1 tablespoon olive or vegetable oil, making sure they’re well coated. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  2. Broil (or barbecue) for 2 to 5 minutes, depending on how powerful your broiler is. Turn the corn over to make sure it cooks evenly. The zucchini should start to blacken in some spots. Broil for another 2 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly charred.
  3. While the vegetables cook, mix juice from 1 lime, 1 tablespoon olive oil, ½ teaspoon chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste in a large bowl.
  4. Chop the zucchini into bite-sized pieces and slice the corn kernels from the cob. Transfer the vegetables into the bowl with the dressing. If desired, add 2 ounces feta cheese and mix.
  5. Sprinkle 1 cup of cooked popcorn over top, then dust with a little extra chili powder, salt and pepper.

Recipe adapted from Brown, L. (2014). Good and cheap: Eat well on $4/day. Workman.


MSU Extension programming

Michigan State University Extension helps people improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge and resources of MSU directly to individuals, communities and businesses.

To help you be healthy at every stage of life, MSU Extension delivers affordable, relevant, evidence-based education to serve the needs of adults, youth and families in urban and rural communities. Programs focus on helping you gain the skills you need to buy and prepare nutritious, budget-friendly foods, increase your physical activity and stretch your food dollars.

MSU Extension’s children and youth programs address needs and issues from birth through age 19, providing parents with educational resources related to your child’s development and giving youth the opportunity through 4-H programs to build leadership and teach practical life skills.
With a presence in every Michigan county, Extension faculty and staff members provide tools to live and work better. From a personal meeting to information online, MSU Extension educators work every day to provide the most current information when people need it to ensure success – in the workplace, at home and in the community.

For more information or to join a class, visit To find your local county office, visit


Adapted by Krystal Avila, Heather Dyer, Ashly Nelson, Yolanda ThrashAmanda Huletand Karen Barbash from the original family newsletter set developed by Erin E. Powell, MS, RDN; Tom Cummins; Elizabeth Dorman and Denise Aungst, MS; for MSU Extension. Based on a concept created by Denise Aungst and Layne Schlicher for MSU Extension. Originals were produced by ANR Creative for MSU Extension. Adaptations for the senior series were produced by the MSU Extension Educational Materials Team.

This material was funded by USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program – SNAP.




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