Meal plans for bone and eye health

Meal PlanningNUTRITION CORNER: Planning Meals for Strong Bones and Good Vision

May is Osteoporosis Month and June is Cataract Awareness Month. So in this edition, we are sharing nutrition information tied to bone and vision health. Then, to help you take action, we have included some powerful tips on meal planning. As always, work closely with your medical provider to create a care plan that’s right for you.

Nutrition for Healthy Bones and Eyes

Calcium, vitamin D and magnesium all help to maintain strong, resilient bones. fortified juices, canned salmon and tofu. Other excellent sources are figs, cooked bok choy, sardines, almonds, sesame seeds and cooked white beans. Dietary sources of vitamin D include milk, some yogurt, eggs, mushroom and some fortified foods. You can get magnesium from leafy green vegetables, whole grains, beans and nuts.

When it comes to vision, studies have shown that some nutrients may help prevent age-related macular degeneration, a common eye condition and the leading cause of vision loss in people over 50. Supplements are one approach, but experts agree that the best method is to consume a varied diet that’s rich in antioxidants, lutein and zeaxanthin . Recommended sources are egg yolks, dark green vegetables and some yellow-orange fruits and vegetables such as corn, nectarines, oranges, papaya, squash and sweet potatoes.

Meal Planning 101

A weekly menu is the most important step to consistently eating healthy meals! Try these tips to make your meal planning a success for strong bones, good vision and overall health.

  1. Make a weekly menu in advance. Your menu doesn’t need to be fancy. Just aim for a basic framework of meals. Choose a regular time each week to make your plan. Overwhelmed? Start with planning one or two meals in advance.
  2. Choose meals that have leftovers. Leftovers are perfectly legitimate for another day’s lunch or dinner! For example, baked salmon on Monday can top a salad or go in a tortilla wrap on Tuesday.
  3. Use ingredients that are versatile. Select a few ingredients that work across various dishes. Sautéed kale can be eaten with olive oil and seasoning at dinnertime, or added to scrambled eggs. Hardboiled eggs are an easy breakfast item or can be part of a Cobb salad for dinner.
  4. Keep it simple. You don’t need exotic or elaborate dishes each night. Instead, imagine a plate that is half vegetables/fruits, one-quarter grains and one-quarter protein. Example: Swiss chard, sweet potatoes, brown rice and chicken.
  5. Cook in bulk. Put that freezer to work! When buying and cooking, double the recipe and then put half in the freezer for when life gets busy. Try making two quiches and freeze one. You can also freeze cooked grains and marinated meats.
  6. Keep your plan visible. Whether on the counter or hanging on the fridge, having your plan accessible will keep you focused on upcoming meals.
  7. Chop and cut once. Cleaning and prepping ingredients can take up precious time. Consider chopping all your veggie and meats at the start of the week. Store each recipe’s portions in separate containers in the fridge, ready to go.
  8. Keep a list of successes. Was one meal easy to prepare and enjoyed by your family? Maybe it worked well for leftovers? Keep a list of those meals for easy repeats!

PacMed has dietitians who can help you meet your nutritional needs. Learn about the dietitian services at PacMed. Or call to make an appointment: 206.505.1300.