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Food Facts for Older Americans
Human Nutrition Information Service
Home and Garden Bulletin 251, USDA, 1993.
70 pages
Issued April 1993

Archive copy of publication, do not use for current recommendations.

The PDF file was provided courtesy of the National Agricultural Library.

Scroll down to view the publication.
Agricultural Network Information Center

Information on How to Use the
\\ Dietary Guidelines
United States
Department of
Human Nutrition
Home and
Garden Bulletin
Number 251

Section 1
What You Should Know About Fat, Cholesterol, and Sodium
Section 2
Special Advice for Older Adults 15
Section 3
Making Healthy Food Choices When You Shop and Cook 27
Section 4
Maintaining a Healthy Weight 35
Section 5
Questions Older People Ask 47
Section 6
Tips and Recipes 55
Section 7
Want More Information??? 67
April 1993

Food Facts
for Older
What should you eat to stay healthy?
New information about nutrition seems to
come out each day. Often, the informa-
tion does not address the concerns of
older adults. Sometimes the advice is
confusing. This bulletin focuses on nutri-
tion topics of particular interest to older
adults and gives suggestions on how you
can improve your diet by following the
Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
• Eat a variety of foods
• Maintain healthy weight
• Choose a diet low in fat,
saturated fat, and cholesterol
• Choose a diet with plenty of veg-
etables, fruits, and grain products
• Use sugars only in moderation
• Use salt and sodium only in
Sorting out information on nutrition, figuring
out what it means for you personally, and
making changes in how you eat are well worth
the effort. What you eat may affect your risk
for several of the leading causes of death in
the United States, such as coronary heart
disease, stroke, diabetes, and some types of
cancer. More importantly, healthy eating and
regular exercise can give you the energy and
strength to enjoy an active, independent
lifestyle as long as possible.
Americans of all ages need to eat healthier.
Making changes doesn't have to be difficult.
You don't have to give up your favorite foods
or stop eating out. With some basic informa-
tion and a look at your current eating habits,
you can begin to make gradual changes that
can help you improve or maintain your
This bulletin provides information and sug-
gestions that can help you follow the guide-
lines, including—
1. facts about fat, cholesterol, and sodium;
2. a discussion of the special needs of older
adults, including getting enough nutrients,
fluids, and fiber, and precautions when taking
• If you drink alcoholic beverages, do
so in moderation

3. tips on making healthy food choices when
you shop and cook;
4. how to maintain a healthy weight;
5. questions older people ask about nutrition;
6. a roundup of tips and recipes for preparing
foods Dietary Guidelines style; and
7. a list of resources for more information.
Please note that this information is for people
who are generally in good health. If your
doctor has prescribed a special diet for you
because of a health conditon, follow that
advice. However, this bulletin will help you
better understand current nutrition informa-
tion and may raise questions for you to discuss
with your doctor or dietitian about your
special nutrition needs.

Food Facts
for Older
What You Should
Know About Fat,
Cholesterol, and
Every day you hear some news items
about fat, cholesterol, or sodium. What
should you know about them, and what
should you do about them when making
food choices?
Should You Be Concerned?
Easy Ways to Cut Fat
Some Facts about Sodium
Tips on Reducing Sodium
A Food Choice Checkup
Some Facts About
Fat and Cholesterol
are the most concentrated source of food
energy (calories). Fats are mixtures of three
kinds of fatty acids—saturated, monounsatu-
rated, and polyunsaturated. A fat that con-
tains a lot of saturated fatty acids is usually
firm, like butter or lard. Some vegetable fats
like coconut oil, palm kernel oil, and palm
oil are also high in saturated fatty acids.
Vegetable oils such as olive oil, canola oil,
corn oil, or soybean oil contain a lot of
monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty
acids. When vegetable oils are hydrogenated
to form solid shortenings or margarine, some
of the unsaturated fatty acids become satu-
rated, and the fat becomes firm.
Some fat is necessary in the diet.
It provides energy, helps your body
absorb vitamins such as A, D, and E,
and provides essential fatty acids
needed by everyone in small amounts.
;l*at: also helps make food taste good*
livor, aroma, and texture.

is a fatlike substance found in
almost all your body cells. Your body can
make it, but it also comes from the food you
eat. Cholesterol is present in all animal
foods—meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, and
egg yolks. Both the cholesterol that comes
from your food (dietary cholesterol) and the
cholesterol made by your body circulate in
your blood (blood cholesterol). Cholesterol is
used by your body to make hormones, sub-
stances needed for digestion, and new cells.
a quick arid easy cooking||if||
i method that requires very little fat. Heat a
heavy skillet or a wok and add just enough
oil to lightly coat the bottom of the
pan— about 1 or 2 teaspoons. Then add
the food and stir constantly while cooking.
Start with thin strips OT diced portions of
f meat, poultry, or fish. When the meat is
ialmost done, add small pieces if vegetables
; such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini,
lsprouts, carrots, mushrooms, tomatoes, or
green onions. Cook just until vegetables
are tender, but still crisp and bright in
color. For a slightly softer texture, add
about 2 tablespoons of water, cover the
pan, and steam for a few minutes, ^iilllllllll
Why Be Concerned
About Fat and
If you have a high blood cholesterol level, you
have a greater chance of having a heart attack
or a stroke. Eating too much saturated fat,
cholesterol, and too many calories can in-
crease your blood cholesterol. A diet contain-
ing too much total fat and too many calories
may increase your risk for certain cancers.
The way diet affects blood cholesterol varies
among individuals. However, blood choles-
terol does increase in most people when they
eat a diet high in saturated fat and cholesterol
and excessive in calories. Of these, dietary sat-
urated fat has the greatest effect; dietary
cholesterol has less.

Should You Be
A blood cholesterol level of 200 mg/dl or less
is considered desirable for adults. The relation
of blood cholesterol to the risk for heart dis-
ease is less clear in older adults than in mid-
dle-aged people. However, heart disease is still
Fat is not the same as cholesterol. Some
foods contain a lot of cholesterol, but are;
low in fat, like liver; and some foods
have no cholesterol, but are high in fat,
like nondairy creamers, vegetable oi!
;0| ;
margarine. A food that says "no choles-
terol" can still be high in fat. Read the
label to see how much and which kinds
of fats are included in the product before
you buy it.
All types of fat have the same number
of calories—both butter and margarine
have about 36 calories
i all fats and foods made with a
lot of
the number one cause of death in older Amer-
icans, both men and women. Smoking, high
blood pressure, diabetes, lack of exercise,
heredity, and being overweight are other risk
factors. If you don't know what your blood
cholesterol level is, ask your doctor to check it
the next time you go for a visit. Your doctor
can help you evaluate your risk and determine
whether your cholesterol level is too high.
Your doctor can also explain the different
kinds of blood cholesterol (HDL and LDL),
triglycerides, and other blood lipids and ex-
plain how they affect your risk for heart dis-
Most of us eat too much fat. Even if your
blood cholesterol level is not high, you may
want to make some changes in your food
choices to reduce the amount of fat and satu-
rated fat you eat. If you're like most Ameri-
cans, 36 percent of your calories come from
fat. A diet with 30 percent or less of calories
from total fat (and less than 10 percent of
calories from saturated fat) would be healthier.
Reducing fat may help you control your
weight if necessary. This is important because
obesity increases your risk for high blood pres-
sure, stroke, high blood cholesterol, and dia-
betes and also aggravates arthritis by putting
added stress on your joints.

Easy Ways To Cut Fat,
Saturated Fat, and
Cholesterol in Your
At the Store:
• Choose lean cuts of meat, such as beef
round, loin, sirloin, pork loin chops, and
• Consider fish and poultry as alternatives;
they are somewhat lower in saturated fat.
• Buy lowfat versions of dairy products.
• Read the food label and choose those foods
that are lower in fat, saturated fat, and
At the Table:
• Use less of all fats and oils, especially satu-
rated fats such as butter, cream, sour cream,
and cream cheese.
• Try reduced-calorie salad dressings—they
are usually low in fat.
• As a beverage, gradually replace whole milk
with 2 percent fat milk, then 1 percent fat
or skim milk.
In the Kitchen:
• When cooking, replace saturated fats such
as butter and lard with small amounts of
polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats
in vegetable oils such as corn oil, soybean
oil, olive oil, peanut oil, or canola oil.
• Broil, roast, bake, steam, or boil foods in-
stead of frying them, or try stirfrying (see
box on page 4) with just a little fat.
• Trim all visible fat from meats before cook-
ing and remove the skin from poultry.
• Spoon off fat from meat dishes after they
are cooked.
• Use skim milk or lowfat milk when making
"cream" sauces, soups, or puddings.
• Substitute lowfat yogurt or whipped lowfat
cottage cheese for sour cream and mayon-
naise in dips and dressings.
• Substitute two egg whites for each whole
egg in recipes for most quick breads, cook-
ies, and cakes. (The cholesterol and fat are
in the yolk, not in the white.)
• Try lemon juice, herbs, or spices to season
foods instead of butter or margarine.

Some Facts About
Sodium occurs naturally in most foods. It is
also added to many foods and beverages, usu-
ally as salt. One teaspoon of salt contains
about 2,000 milligrams of sodium. The body
needs sodium to maintain normal blood vol-
ume and for the nerves and muscles. But, pop-
ulations with diets high in salt have more high
blood pressure, a condition that increases your
risk for heart attack, stroke, and kidney dis-
ease. People with high blood pressure are usu-
ally advised to restrict their salt and sodium.
It is also important to maintain a healthy
weight, exercise regularly, and stay on your
No one can predict who will develop high
blood pressure, but many Americans eat more
sodium than they actually need. Some health
authorities suggest that healthy adults try to
limit their sodium intake to 2,400 milligrams
Much of the sodium in the American diet
comes from salt added in cooking or at the
table. The taste for salt is learned—you can
"unlearn" it by gradually cutting down on your
salt intake. Start by thinking about how much
Sclll ULlclK.C. OUUl Uy UUllK.Ulg clUUUL ILUW LllUV
sodium you add every time you use that salt

Sodium is an ingredient in many foods—
even ones that might not taste salty, such as
luncheon meats, ready-to-eat cereals, and
many mixes and prepared foods at the super-
market. Sodium is found in soy sauce and
other prepared sauces and dressings, cured
meats, canned soups and vegetables, most
cheeses, and many convenience foods such
as frozen dinners and casserole mixes.
Salt substitutes are not for everyone.
People who are under medical
supervision, particularly for kidney
problems, should check with their
doctor before using salt substitutes.
Try commercial seasoning blends that
are mixtures of spices and herbs without
addled salt. These, as well as homemade
seasoning blends, can be used: to flavor
foods without adding sodium, lilllllli
Some Tips on
Reducing Sodium
in Your Diet:
At the Store:
• Read labels for information on the sodium
content (see Section 3 for more informa-
tion on food labels).
• Try fresh or plain frozen vegetables and
meats instead of those canned or prepared
with salt.
• Look for low or reduced sodium or "no-salt-
added" versions of foods.
Nutrition Informatior
1/2 cup
Serving Size

In the Kitchen:
• Cook plain rice, pasta, and hot
cereals using less salt than the
package calls for (try 1/8 teaspoon of
salt for two servings). "Instant" rice,
pasta, and cereals may contain salt added
by the processor.
• Adjust your recipes, gradually cutting
down on the amount of salt. If some
of the ingredients already contain salt,
such as canned soup or vegetables, you may
not need to add any more salt at all.
• Use herbs and spices as seasonings
for vegetables and meats instead
of salt.
At the Table:
• Taste your food before you salt it. Does it re-
ally need more salt? Try one shake instead
of two. Gradually cut down on the amount
of salt you use. Your taste will adjust to less

Where's the Salt?
The following table will give you an idea of the amount of sodium in different types of food.
Individual products vary. Information on food labels can also help you make choices to
moderate your sodium intake.
SODIUM, milligrams
Cooked cereal, rice, pasta, unsalted
Ready-to-eat cereal
trace per 1/2 cup
100-350 per oz.
110-175 per slice
Fruit, fresh, frozen, canned
trace per 1/2 cup
Vegetables, fresh or frozen
cooked without salt
Vegetables, canned, or frozen
with sauce
Tomato juice, canned
Vegetable soup, canned
less than 70 per 1/2 cup
140-460 per 1/2 cup
660 per 3/4 cup
810 per cup
Fresh meat, poultry, fish
Tuna, canned, water pack
Ham, lean roasted
less than 90 per 3 oz.
300 per 3 oz.
580 per 2 oz.
per 3 oz.
Natural cheeses, such as
Cheddar or swiss
Process cheeses, such as
American or swiss
120 per cup
170 per 8 oz.
110-275 per 1-1/2 oz.
790 per 2 oz.
Salad dressing
Catsup, steak sauce
Soy sauce
Dill pickle
Potato chips, salted
Corn chips, salted
Peanuts, roasted in oil, salted
80-220 per tbsp.
180-230 per tbsp.
1,020 per tbsp.
2,000 per tsp.
930 per 1 medium
135 per oz.
235 per oz.
120 per oz.

Summing Up:
It's natural to think about fat, saturated fat, sodium, such as baked ham, choose low fat
cholesterol, or sodium as separate parts of your and low sodium foods to eat with it, such as
diet, but the best idea is to look at your diet as a fresh or plain frozen vegetables cooked with
whole. You can have small amounts of any food little salt and seasoned with herbs instead of
as part of a balanced diet. For example, if one of butter or margarine,
your food choices is relatively high in fat and
A Food Choice Checkup
Think about your own food choices. Use these quizzes to check your diet for fat and sodium and
see where you might begin to make some small changes as suggested in this section.
How do you score on FAT?
How often do you eat —
1 . Fried, deep-fat fried, or breaded foods?
Fatty meats, such as sausage,
luncheon meats, fatty steaks and roasts?
Whole milk, high-fat cheeses, ice cream?
Pies, pastries, rich cakes?
Rich cream sauces and gravies?
Oily salad dressings, mayonnaise?
Butter or margarine on vegetables,
dinner rolls, toast?
Seldom 1 to 2
or never times
a week
n n
n n
to 5
a week

How do you score on SODIUM?
How often do you—
1. Eat cured or processed meats, such as
ham, sausage, frankfurters, and other
luncheon meats?
2. Choose canned vegetables or frozen
vegetables with sauce?
3. Use frozen TV dinners, entrees, or
canned or dehydrated soups?
4. Eat cheese?
5. Eat salted nuts, popcorn, pretzels,
corn chips, or potato chips?
6. Add salt to cooking water for vegetables,
rice, pasta, or cereals, or add seasoning
mixes or sauces containing salt when
preparing foods?
7. Salt your food before tasting it?
Seldom 1 to 2
or never times
a week
to 5
a week
Take a look at your answers.
Several checks in the last two columns mean you may have a high fat or sodium intake. Perhaps
you could use those types of foods less often, or in smaller quantities. Watching your fat and
sodium can be a real challenge at certain meals or snacks. See Section 4 for ideas on healthful
snacks, desserts, and tips for eating out.

Recipe Work Sheet
Is your favorite recipe high in fat or sodium? Write your recipe below and check pages
40 and 65 of this bulletin for ideas on how you might modify your recipe to reduce
fat and sodium.
Amounts I Changes

Try this recipe. It's low In fat and sodium.
Chili Bean Dip
About 1-1/3 cups
Per tablespoon:
Total lat II .
Saturated fatty acids, .
Cholesterol 0 - - :
$od;ium.:.»..:v..... 55 milligrams
Kidney beans ,„ ..... ..
Drained bean liquid]
Vinegar ....„...„.,„...
Chili powder — ..«
Ground cumin ---------- ,
Onion, grated |||||
Parsley, chopped IE
3 tablespoons;
1 tabkspoonli;
1 teaspoon J
1/8 teaspoon I
2 teaspoons
2 teaspoons
1, Drain kidney beans; save
| Place drained beans, bean liquid,
and; ^:^0nifigs in blender.
Btend until smooth.
3. Remove mixture from blender.
Stir In onion and parsley.
4. Chill thoroughly.
5. Serve; with crisp vegetable sticks.

Food Facts
for Older
Special Advice for
Older Adults

As you age, health conditions may limit
what you can eat. This can make eating a
balanced diet more difficult. You may
need to pay more attention to getting ad-
equate nutrients and fluids and to achiev-
ing and maintaining a healthy weight. You
may also need to consider possible inter-
actions between foods and medications.
The Food Guide Pyramid
Osteoporosis: Who's at Risk? 19
Should You Take Vitamins? 20
Facts about Fiber
Meeting Your
Nutrient Needs
Until recently, research on nutritional re-
quirements has focused on younger people. No
one really knows enough about how nutri-
tional needs change as people age. Re-
searchers believe you need the same variety of
foods as younger people, but different quanti-
ties of some nutrients. Furthermore, individ-
ual health and level of activity differ widely
among the older population. The best strategy
is to figure out a balanced approach to eating
that fits your general health and preferences.
Use the food guide on the next page to help
you make food choices for a healthy diet.
Mixing Medications and Food 24
A Sample Menu

Use the guide below to help you remember
what foods and how much to eat each day.
Each of the food groups in the three lower
levels of the Pyramid supplies specific
vitamins and minerals, so it's important to
include them all to get the nutrients you need
for good health. Try to have at least the lowest
number of suggested servings from each of
these food groups every day. The lowest
number of servings, with modest amounts of
fat and sweets, provides about 1,600
calories—right for many older women. Older
men need somewhat more (see chart on next
page). But remember, individual needs vary,
depending on your body size, health, and how
active you are. If you need more food, eat
more from each of these food groups, and go
easy on foods from the fats, oils, and sweets
A Guide to Daily Food Choices
Fats, Oils, & Sweets
Q Sugars
Milk, Yogurt,
& Cheese
EFat (naturally occurring
and added)
These symbols show that fat and added
sugars come mostly tram fats, oiis, and
sweets, but can be part of or added to
foods from the other food groups as well,
Meat, Poultry, Fish,
Dry Beans, Eggs,
& Nuts Group
Bread, Cereal,
Rice, & Pasta
Source: U.S. Department of Agriculture/U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

What counts as 1 serving?
Breads, Cereals,
Rice, and Pasta
1 slice of bread
1/2 cup of cooked rice or pasta
1/2 cup of cooked cereal
1 ounce of ready-tO'eat cereal
1 piece of fruit or melon wedge
3/4 cup of juice
1/2 cup of canned fruit
1/4 cup of dried fruit
1/2 cup of chopped raw or cooked
1 cup of leafy raw vegetables
Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese
1 cup of milk or yogurt
1-1/2 to 2 ounces of cheese
Meat, Poultry, Fish, Dry Beans,
Eggs, and Nuts
2-1/2 to 3 ounces of cooked lean meat,
poultry, or fish
Count 1/2 cup of cooked beans or 1 egg
or 2 tablespoons of peanut butter as
1 ounce of lean meat (about 1/3 serving)
Fats, Oils, and Sweets
especially if you need to lose weight
The amount you eat might be more than
one serving. For example, a dinner
portion of spaghetti would count as two
or three servings of pasta.
Suggested numbers of servings
for older adults
Bread group
Vegetable group
Fruit group
Milk group
Meat group
*Lower numbers of servings are suggested for
older women. The higher numbers are
suggested for older men.
A Closer Look at Fat and Added

The small tip of the Pyramid shows fats, oils,
and sweets. These are foods such as salad
dressings, cream, butter, margarine, sugars, soft
drinks, candies, and sweet
desserts. Alcoholic
beverages are also part of
this group. These foods
provide calories but few
vitamins and minerals. Most people should go
easy on foods from this group.
Some fat or sugar symbols
are shown in the other
f°°d groups. That's to
remind you that some
foods in these groups can
also be high in fat and added sugars, such as
cheese or ice cream from the milk group, or
french fries from the vegetable group. When
choosing foods for a healthful diet, consider
the fat and added sugars in your choices from
all the food groups, not just fats, oils, and
sweets from the Pyramid tip.

||||i||h following the gukk tx>i||||r '/.
: a
patty starts out as 4 oiitices or 1/4
pound of raw ri||i|||||||||||^i>;|||l|||:
| thick, ab( Mil the size of
* a
Of Special Interest for
Older Adults-
Calcium and
Vitamin D
All nutrients are important for good health at
any age, but some that have been mentioned
in the news lately have special importance for
older adults. For example, inadequate calcium
has been linked to osteoporosis, a condition in
which bones become weak and brittle. The
exact cause of osteoporosis is not known. Sev-
eral nutrients in addition to calcium are in-
However, many scientists believe that
women particularly need to get adequate
amounts of calcium throughout life. Milk, yo-
gurt, cheese, and other dairy products are the
best sources of calcium. Some dark-green leafy
vegetables, canned fish eaten with the bones
(canned sardines and salmon), and tofu also
provide calcium.

To absorb calcium, your body needs vitamin
D. Vitamin D is added to most fluid milk; it
can also be made by your skin when exposed
to sunlight. Dietary supplements of vitamin D
are usually not necessary. Your doctor or dieti-
tian should advise you on your need for addi-
tional vitamin D. If they recommend supple-
ments, they should tell you how much you
should take. Generally, vitamin D supple-
ments should not exceed the U.S. Recom-
mended Daily Allowance (U.S. RDA) of 400
International Units (IU) per day, because
continued use of high doses is harmful. (U.S.
RDA's are nutrient standards developed for
food product labels by the U.S. Government.)
In addition to getting adequate calcium and
vitamin D, it's important to note that moder-
ate exercise that places weight on your bones,
such as walking, helps maintain and may even
increase bone density and strength in older
Who's at Risk for
Anyone can get osteoporosis, but women are
at greatest risk, especially white women who
are thin, fair-skinned, and small in build.
Aging itself, extreme immobility, and genet-
ics, as well as smoking and drinking alcoholic
beverages, are believed to contribute to risk
for osteoporosis. Loss of calcium from the
bones increases in women after menopause,
when levels of the hormone estrogen decrease.
Estrogen replacement therapy can be pre-
scribed by a doctor to help decrease bone loss
after menopause. Because estrogens may have
negative side effects in some women, the deci-
sion to take estrogen should be made by each
woman with the help of her doctor.

How To Get Enough
Calcium If You Don't
Drink Milk
Milk is the most obvious and popular source
of both calcium and vitamin D, but some peo-
ple don't drink it and need to consider other
ways to get calcium.
Some people have trouble digesting lactose,
the sugar occurring naturally in milk. If you
have trouble digesting milk—
• Drink milk that has had lactase added or
add it yourself. Lactase is an enzyme that
breaks down milk sugar. It can be purchased
at many drug stores.
• Drink only a small amount of milk at a time.
• Eat yogurt or cheese. Lactose has been
partially broken down in these foods.
• Try cooked foods made with milk such as
soups, puddings, or custards.
If you don't like milk,
eat more of other
foods with calcium, such as—
• foods made with milk or cheese.
• tofu, a soy product that is sometimes made
with calcium sulfate (check the label); 1/2
cup (4 ounces) of tofu made with calcium
sulfate has about the same amount of cal-
cium, protein, and fat as 1 cup of whole milk.
• dark-green leafy vegetables, such as
kale, collards, and broccoli.
• tortillas made with cornmeal that is
fortified with calcium; label may state that
the cornmeal is processed with lime, or may
list the cornmeal as "masa harina."
• canned or dried fish with edible bones, such
as salmon and sardines.
Should You Take a
Vitamin Supplement?
Thirty-seven percent of American adults take
a daily multivitamin pill. Some even take
extra vitamins and minerals as well, especially
vitamin C. Yet most of these supplements are
unnecessary for people of any age. A well-bal-
anced diet should provide all of your nutri-
tional needs. High doses of some vitamins,
such as A and D, can be harmful. Large
amounts of some supplements can upset the
natural balance of nutrients normally main-
tained by the body. Large doses, called
megavitamins, containing 10 to 100 times the
RDA for a vitamin or mineral, can act like
drugs, with potentially serious results.
While researchers continue to learn more
about how nutrient requirements change dur-
ing aging, eating a balanced diet containing
foods from each food group (listed on the
table on page 17 of this section) is the best ap-
proach to getting the nutrients you need. Sup-
plements may be beneficial for people who
cannot eat a balanced diet or who do not eat
enough food, or people who take medicines
that interact with nutrients. Before you decide
to take a nutritional supplement, discuss it
with your doctor or dietitian. If you have spe-
cific health problems, or likes and dislikes that
greatly limit your food choices, consult a regis-
tered dietitian (R.D.) for help in planning the
best diet for you.

Drink Enough Fluids
The sense of thirst declines with age, so older
people may not drink enough water and other
fluids. Sometimes people intentionally drink
less to avoid going to the bathroom often. But
if you aren't getting enough fluids you can be-
come dehydrated, especially during hot
Drinking plenty of fluids is important to .
help your body flush out wastes—it's worth a
few more trips to the bathroom. Most adults
should drink at least eight glasses of water a
day. This water can come from any bever-
age—juice, coffee, tea, milk, or soft drinks—as
well as from soup. However, the caffeine in
coffee and other drinks may increase your urge
to urinate. The sugar in regular soft drinks is
an added source of calories you may not need.
Plain water, unsweetened fruit juices, and low-
fat milk are better choices. Or, for a refreshing
carbonated drink, mix fruit juice with club
soda or seltzer water. To make plain water
more appealing, try it chilled with a twist of
lemon or lime.
What About
Constipation bothers many older adults. The
frequency of bowel movements among healthy
people varies from three a day to three a week.
Know what is normal for you and avoid rely-
ing on laxatives. Drinking enough fluids; eat-
ing plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole-
grain products for fiber; and exercising
regularly can help with this condition.
Prevention of
constipation is the
best approach:
• Eat foods with dietary fiber, such as whole-
wheat breads and cereals, fruits, and veg-
etables every day.
• Drink plenty of liquids.
• Exercise regularly.
• Go to the bathroom when you feel the
need. Don't delay.

Facts About Fiber
Dietary fiber (sometimes called "roughage") is
the part of plant foods that humans can't di-
gest. The fiber passes through the intestines,
forming bulk for the stool. There are two
major types of fiber—insoluble and soluble.
Each has different health benefits, so both are
needed in the diet. Insoluble fiber is most
often found in whole-grain products, such as
whole-wheat bread and cereals, fruits and veg-
etables with their peels, and dry beans and
peas. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipa-
tion. Diets high in insoluble fiber and low in
fat may also reduce your risk of colon cancer.
Soluble fiber is found in fruits, vegetables,
dry beans and peas, and some cereal products
such as oatmeal, oat bran, and rice bran. Some
research indicates that diets that are low in fat
and saturated fat and rich in soluble fiber may
help reduce blood cholesterol levels.
How Much Fiber
Should You Eat?
It isn't clear yet exactly how much fiber you
should eat each day. Some health experts have
suggested that an increase to a range of 20 to
30 grams is a good idea. That's about twice
what the average adult eats now. Because
plant foods differ in the types and amounts of
fiber they contain, it's a good idea to eat dif-
ferent kinds of foods rich in fiber. You can get
about 20 grams of fiber if you eat three serv-
ings of whole-grain foods, two to three serv-
ings of fruit, and three to four servings of veg-
etables daily. You don't need to take fiber
supplements or sprinkle bran on all your
Some choices:
3 servmgs a day
of vegetables
2 servings Q day
of fru't
3 servings a doy
of whole-gram
Broccoli' spears, corn,
pafofoj 'and kidney beans
-fas, and oranges
whole-gram cereals

Five Quick Tips To
Increase Fiber in Your
1. Try a whole-grain breakfast cereal, hot or
cold. It doesn't have to be 100-percent
bran—look for a cereal with at least 2
grams of dietary fiber per serving.
2. Choose baked goods made with whole
grains, such as corn muffins; cracked wheat
bread; graham crackers; oatmeal bread or
muffins; and whole-wheat, pumpernickel or
rye breads, rolls, and bagels.
3. Eat fresh fruit or stewed fruit—an orange,
half a grapefruit, prunes, or apricots—in-
stead of drinking fruit juice.
4. Eat fruits and vegetables with their peels—
apples, pears, peaches, potatoes, or summer
5. Add cooked or canned dry beans, split
peas, and lentils to your favorite soups,
stews, and salads.
If you're not used to eating foods with fiber,
increase fiber gradually to avoid gas or cramp-
ing. Be sure to drink enough water or other
fluids when you eat more high-fiber foods.
Are You Getting Enough Fiber
In Your Diet?
How often do you eat—
1. Three or more servings of breads and
cereals made with whole grains?
2. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes,
corn, peas, or dishes made with
dry beans or peas?
3. Several servings of other vegetables?
4. Whole fruit with skins and/or seeds
(berries, apples, pears, etc.)?
or never
1 to 2 times
a week
3 to 5 times
a week
The best answer is ALMOST DAILY. Whole-grain products, fruits, and vegetables provide
fiber. Eating a variety of these foods daily will provide you with adequate fiber, both soluble
and insoluble types.

Avoiding Problems
When Medications

and Foods Don't Mix
Many older adults take several medications,
both prescription and over-the-counter types.
It's important to find out from your doctor or
pharmacist if these medicines are affected by
food or beverages. Some medicines must be
taken with meals, while others work better on
an empty stomach. Some medicines may have
serious or unpleasant side effects or may not
work as well if taken in combination with cer-
tain foods or alcoholic beverages. Writing out
a schedule for your meals and medicines can
help you take your medicines properly and get
adequate nutrition—both are important to
your health.
Ask your doctor or pharmacist if there are
special instructions about diet and if there are
foods you should avoid when taking your
medicine. You may need special advice about
diet and—
• diuretics and other high blood
pressure medicines,
• some antibiotics,
• some pain relievers,
• some antidepressants,
• anticoagulants (drugs for blood thinning),
• antacids.
Do You Take
Medicines Properly?
When you get a new prescription medicine,
be sure you understand when to take it, how
to take, how long to take it, and what
to do
if you miss a dose.
Tell your doctor about any other medicines
you may be taking, including those prescribed
by other doctors, over-the-counter medicines,
and any vitamins or other supplements.
Ask whether there are foods or over-the-
counter medicines you should not take with
your new prescription.
Contact your doctor or pharmacist right
away if you experience any side effects. If you
are taking several medicines for long periods,
ask your doctor every once in a while if you
should still be taking all of them. Don't stop
taking any prescribed medicines without con-
sulting your doctor.
Make sure you understand the name of the
drug and directions printed on the container.
Ask your pharmacist to use large type if neces-
sary. If child-proof containers are hard to han-
dle, ask for easy-to-open containers.
Discard old prescription medicines and ex-
pired over-the-counter drugs. Never take
drugs that were prescribed for a friend or rela-
tive, even though your symptoms may be the

Planning a Menu
Using the Food
The sample menu on the next page
shows how you might use the Food
Guide Pyramid on page 16 of this section.
The 1,600-calorie menu includes the
lower numbers of servings from the food
groups, and the 2,400-calorie menu in-
cludes the higher numbers of servings
shown in the table on page 17. Jelly, mar-
garine, sherbet, and lemonade are extras,
from the Fats, Oils, and Sweets group.
Listed below are nutrient values for the
two menus:
Total fat, grams
% of calories
Saturated fat, grams
% of calories
Cholesterol, mg
Sodium, mg
Dietary fiber, grams
Calorie Menu
Calorie Menu
* |||p
• Do 1 need to take 'A vitamin
. ;|lif> plement, or am
Are these fluids high in calories?
||f|^^ foods or

1,600 calories
2,400 calories
1/2 medium
2 slices
1 cup
Whole-wheat toast
Margarine, soft
Milk, skim
1/2 medium
2 slices
1 tbsp.
1 cup
1 oz.
1-1/2 cups
1 tbsp.
2 small
1 medium
Vegetable juice, no salt added
Luncheon salad:
Swiss cheese
Mixed greens
French dressing, low calorie
Corn muffins
Peach, fresh
6 fl. oz.
2 oz.
1-1/2 cups
1-1/2 tbsp.
3 small
2 medium
3 oz.
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
1 small
1/2 cup
As desired
Sirloin steak, broiled (lean only) 3 oz.
Yellow corn, fresh or frozen 1 cup
Stewed tomatoes, no salt added 1/2 cup
Whole-grain roll 2 small
Margarine, soft 1 tsp.
Lime sherbet 1/2 cup
Coffee, tea, or water As desired
3 squares
8 fl. oz.
Peanut butter sandwich
2 slices of whole-wheat bread
2 tbsp. of peanut butter
2 tsp. of jelly
Graham crackers
1 sandwich
8 fl. oz.

Food Facts
for Older
Making Healthy
Food Choices When

You Shop and Cook
Many older adults who once cooked
and shopped for families now find they
must adjust their shopping and prepara-
tion to fit the appetite of one or two
people. Others find themselves on their
own in the kitchen or supermarket for the
first time. Most are becoming more con-
cerned about calories, fat, and sodium in
their diets. Here are some tips on how to
manage in an increasingly complex
Is It Fresh?
New on the Market
Quick and Easy Meals
Dinner's in the Freezer
Focus on Food Safety
Use Food Labels
Food labels are the best source of specific in-
formation about the foods you buy and eat.
They can help you choose between similar
products. Here is what you need to know:
are listed in order by weight,
from the largest amount to the least amount.
Check the ingredient list for ingredients
you may want to limit, such as salt, saturated
fats, or sugars, or those you want to increase,
such as whole grains in baked products.
Nutrition information
lists calories, pro-
tein, carbohydrates, fat, sodium, and various
vitamins and minerals contained in a serving
of the food. Saturated fat, cholesterol, and
dietary fiber may also be listed. Amounts of
vitamins and minerals are listed as percent-
ages of the U.S. Recommended Daily Al-
lowances (U.S. RDA's), nutrient standards
developed for food product labels by the U.S.
ents on labels
may list different forms of the same
ingredient separately. For example, a
forms of sugar,
||||||||ii|ar, corn syrup, honey, or
: rrolasses. If severalforms are listed, the
product probably is high in sugar.

Some Hints on Using
the Nutrition Label:
Check the nutrition information for:
• Serving size
- Is it the amount you usually
• Amounts of fat and sodium per serving—
Is the fat or sodium high? For a point of
reference, compare the amount per serving
of the product to the total amounts sug-
gested per day:
Suggested amount is 30 percent of
daily calories—
53 grams per day for 1,600-calorie diets
80 grams per day for 2,400-calorie diets
For example, a food that provides 20
grams of fat would provide over one-
third of the day's fat in a 1,600-calorie
2,400 mg or less per day is
suggested by some health authorities.
• Amounts of vitamins or minerals
of special
interest to you, such as calcium. Look for
foods that have a significant amount of the
vitamin or mineral (10 percent or more of
the U.S. RDA), but not too many calories.
Nutrition Information Per Serving
Serving size: 11.25 oz.
Servings per container: 1
Calories 240
Protein 20g
Carbohydrate 36g
Polyunsaturated Fat LESS THAN 1g
Saturated Fat 1g
Cholesterol 45mg
Sodium 400mg

Is It Fresh?
Many products now have open dating,
which provides information on freshness in
several ways:
• the pull-by
or sell-by date tells you when
the product should be sold or taken off the
shelves by the grocery store.
• best used by
date is typically found on
bakery goods and packaged cereals—it's the
last day the product can be expected to be
at its peak quality.
• expiration
or use by date, usually on re-
frigerated products, is the last date the food
should be used.
• pack date
is the date the food was pro-
cessed or packaged and is usually found on
foods like canned goods that have a long
shelf life. Be sure not to buy any bulging or
leaking cans. The food is unsafe.
These dates tell you how long you can store
and use the product. This will be helpful if
you can't shop often.
Food Shopping,
Dietary Guidelines
Whether you are age 7 or 70, you need a vari-
ety of foods from each of the food groups.
There are many choices available in today's
typical supermarket. Here are some food
choices that will help you get the variety you
need while watching your fat, cholesterol, and
sodium intake. Try a few the next time you
Breads, cereals, rice, and pasta:
• whole-wheat, rye, pumpernickel, mixed
grain, and enriched breads and rolls, bagels,
and english muffins
• whole-grain crackers, such as graham
crackers, wheat crackers, and rice cakes
• whole-grain breakfast cereals
• plain rice, pasta (cook with less salt)
• fresh fruit
• canned fruit, in juice rather than heavy
• canned or frozen fruit juice, unsweetened
"You can ask the grocer to divide
packages of fresh vegetables or eggs and
|||||iiaiif; portions of meat lor you.
; :;>S|i; clpn't have to buy more than you

More shopping ideas...
• fresh leafy vegetables and other vegetables
(use within a few days)
• carrots, potatoes, onions (will keep longer)
• frozen vegetables without sauce
• canned vegetables, tomato sauces, and
soups; try those with reduced sodium, or no
salt added, if available
• dry beans or split peas; canned beans; bean
and pea soups.
Meat, poultry, fish:
• fresh, well-trimmed, lean meats—beef
round, loin, sirloin, chuck arm; pork loin,
roasts, and chops; leg of lamb—(1/2 pound
trimmed boneless raw meat will make
about two 3-ounce cooked servings)
• for leaner ground beef, ask the butcher to
trim fat off and grind a piece of beef round
• fresh chicken, turkey parts; boneless, skin-
less breasts or thighs
• fresh or plain frozen fish; tuna fish canned
in water
• eggs (you may want to buy only a half-
• peanut butter
Milk, yogurt, cheese:
• lowfat (2 percent or 1 percent) or skim milk
• lowfat or nonfat yogurt, plain or flavored
• part-skim and lowfat cheeses such as moz-
zarella, ricotta, cottage cheese
• frozen yogurt or ice milk
Spreads and seasonings:
• margarine, with liquid vegetable oil listed
as the first ingredient
• vegetable oils, such as canola, olive, com,
and soybean oils, for cooking and salad
• low-calorie mayonnaise and salad dressings
• salt-free herb blends for seasoning

New on the Market —
Lower Fat, Lower
Sodium, Lower Sugar
Many new foods are available to help you
choose a diet that is low in fat, sugars, and
sodium. One no longer has to go to the
dietetic section of the supermarket to find
fruits canned in juice instead of heavy syrup,
canned vegetables with no salt added, and
soups with reduced sodium content. Even
frozen dinners come in varieties that are low
in fat and sodium. Some manufacturers also
have reformulated their baked products and
frozen dairy desserts to produce "ice creams",
cookies, cakes, and pastries that are nearly fat
and cholesterol free.
Low-calorie sweeteners are widely used to
sweeten soft drinks, fruit punches, puddings,
gelatin desserts, yogurts, frozen dairy desserts,
and many other foods. Low-calorie, low-
cholesterol fat substitutes processed from egg
white and skim milk proteins are used in
gourmet-style frozen dairy desserts and may be
used in other cold products, such as salad
dressings, sour cream, and cheese spreads.
Food scientists are developing other
heat-stable substances that may partially
substitute for fat in frying.
Are fat and sugar substitutes safe? The Food
and Drug Administration (FDA) must ap-
prove food additives and novel ingredients
such as fat and sugar substitutes before they
can be used in foods. If you have questions
about the safety of a food additive or ingredi-
ent, contact the FDA Consumer Affairs Office
on the resource list included in this bulletin.
As always, moderation in use of these products
is the best advice. It is not necessary to use
products containing fat or sugar substitutes to
have a healthy diet.

What's To Eat?—
Quick and Easy
Meals for One or
Two People
Here are some ideas to get you started on
making easy and nutritious meals for one or
two people:
• Cook once and eat twice, or even three
times. Cook a small roast; eat one portion
now and freeze additional portions to mix
with vegetables for quick soups, stews, or
• Buy frozen vegetables in 1-pound bags.
Cook what you need for single or double
servings or mix several kinds for an inter-
esting vegetable medley.
• Keep several kinds of pasta on hand. Many
cook quickly. Pasta makes an attractive side
dish, or it can be used as a base for stews or
topped with a lowfat sauce. Make single
servings or cook extra to add to soups or
casseroles. Mix with vegetables and a low-
fat dressing for pasta salad.
• Try a baked fruit for dessert—one or two
servings cook quickly in a microwave oven,
or bake the fruit along with another food
prepared in the oven. Serve warm, with a
dash of cinnamon or nutmeg.
Dinner's in the
Frozen dinners and entrees are becoming sta-
ples in many one- and two-person households.
They offer convenient, quick-cooking, tasty
meals with little waste and clean-up. Even if
you don't use them regularly, it's nice to have
one or two on hand for those times when you
just don't feel like cooking. Here are some
hints for choosing frozen dinners and entrees
and using these foods as part of a healthy diet:
O Read the label. Use the nutrition label,
the ingredient label, and even the name and
the picture of the product to see what you are
• Read the ingredient label to see what ingre-
dients are present and in what amounts.
Products containing cream sauces, cheese,
and ground meat are likely to be higher in
fat than products made with lean cuts of
meat, vegetables, and broth. Oriental-style
products containing soy sauce or teriyaki
sauce are likely to be higher in sodium.
• Read the nutrition label for the calories, fat,
sodium, and other nutrients per serving of
the product. Many frozen dinners and en-
trees are relatively high in sodium or fat,
even the low- calorie types.

• When you look at the nutrition label, think
how the amount of fat or sodium compares
to the amounts that are right for you for the
whole day. Also think about what else you
will be eating at that meal or that day that
can help you moderate your total fat and
sodium intake. If you choose a high- fat or
high-sodium entree for one meal, make an
effort to choose foods low in fat or sodium
for the next meal.
• The name and the picture can also provide
clues to product composition. For example,
"beef dinner" will generally have more beef
than "beef with vegetables in sauce." The
picture on the package should show the
contents of the product too.
@ Decide what else to eat with the frozen
dinner or entree. Most frozen dinners or en-
trees provide only 300 to 500 calories. They
usually include about 2 to 2-112 ounces of
meat, 1 to 1-1/2 servings of vegetables, and
less than 1 serving of grain products such as
rice or noodles. Large serving types—"for big
appetites"—provide somewhat more. If the
product is your main meal of the day, you'll
probably want to eat something else with it.
Try these easy, healthy additions:
• a large whole-grain roll
• a small salad or 1/2 cup of frozen vegeta-
bles (microwave it along with your dinner
in a covered container with 2 teaspoons
of water)
• milk as your beverage, or yogurt or milk
pudding for dessert
• fresh or canned sliced fruit—which can
top the yogurt or pudding
If your frozen dinner or entree is high in fat
or sodium, choose lower fat or sodium foods to
go with it. Go easy on fatty spreads and dress-
ing, and don't add salt at the table.
€/ Make your own frozen meals—it's a great
way to use leftovers and save money as well as
time. Cook extra when you have time, and di-
vide cooked meat or other main dishes into
single portions on a microwave or oven-safe
plate. (Plain sliced meat should have a lowfat
gravy or other liquid to moisten it.) Add a
serving or two of frozen vegetables with 2 tea-
spoons of water. Cover tightly and freeze
promptly. For best quality, use your home-pre-
pared dinners within 2 months.

Focus on Food
Older people are more vulnerable to food-
borne illness, so it's important to handle foods
•Check your food safety practices.
~] Always wash hands with warm soapy
water before handling food?
1 Thaw frozen foods in the refrigerator, not
on the kitchen counter? Or thaw them in
the microwave, following the oven manu-
facturer's directions?
"I Cook raw meats, poultry, fish, and eggs
1 Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold
until serving time?
1 Refrigerate or freeze leftover foods
promptly? Don't let perishable foods sit
out at room temperature for more than 2
For answers to your food safety questions,
• a County Extension Home Economist
(look in your phone book under county
government, Cooperative Extension Ser-
vice, or your State university)
• USDA's Meat and Poultry Hotline
(1-800-535-4555), weekdays, 10-4 Eastern
time (in Washington, DC, area, call

Food Facts
for Older
Maintaining a
Healthy Weight

Many Americans are overweight. Being
overweight can increase your risk for
high blood pressure, diabetes, heart dis-
ease, and certain cancers. Recent re-
search suggests that people can be a lit-
tle heavier as they grow older without
added risk to health, although just how
much heavier is not yet clear. Talk with
your doctor to determine if your weight is
right for you.
As people age, they usually need fewer
calories to maintain a healthy weight.
Older people may become less active
too. Achieving and maintaining a healthy
weight should be an ongoing part of car-
ing for your health. If you need to lose
some weight, don't try to lose weight too
fast and avoid extreme approaches. Re-
member, quick weight loss plans often
deprive the body of important nutrients
and usually don't keep weight off.
Reduce Calories
Some Advice about Diets
Healthy Snacking
Desserts Can Be Nutritious 39
When Eating Out
Fast Food on a Lowfat Budget 44
Be Physically Active
Physical activity can help reduce and control
weight by burning up calories and should be
part of a healthy lifestyle at any age. Moderate
exercise that places weight on your bones,
such as walking, helps maintain and possibly
even increases bone strength in older adults—
another good reason to exercise. Scientists
looking into the benefits of exercise for older
adults agree that appropriate exercise im-
proves overall health at any age. Regular exer-
cise can improve the functioning of the heart
and lungs, increase strength and flexibility,
and contribute to a feeling of well-being.
• f:
\\ P,
' 1

You don't have to jog or do aerobics to ben-
efit from exercise. Any regular physical activ-
ity is good. Regular brisk walking is an easy
and enjoyable form of exercise that helps con-
trol weight, but you will benefit from any
form of gentle exercise, even light gardening.
Use your common sense to prevent injury
when you exercise, and check with your doc-
tor before beginning a vigorous exercise pro-
gram or if you haven't exercised in a while.
Starchy foods such as breads, cereals,
rice, pusta, corn, and potatoes are "
usually low in fat and provide fiber,-1|
well as vitamins and minerals. Yet many
people don't §||||||1||
| more f|i|ll|il
and potatoes, because they think the|e
fxXxtS: ai|;|||||pg. Actually, niare|gi
calories are likely to come from the fat
you put on these ;|opis?^Mitter,;§^^|||!;;||:
• crpfe «r gravy—than fern the "starch"
itself Eating more starchy/.foods ife;pli||l
good way to satisfy your appetite while;
watching your weight. Just go easy on
the toppings! mmmm&
Reduce Calories,
Not Vitamins and
To lose weight you need to reduce the amount
of calories you eat. But, you need to do this
without giving up important nutrients. A
weight-reduction diet will be difficult to fol-
low if you always feel hungry. Choosing lowfat
foods allows you to cut calories without sacri-
ficing important vitamins and minerals. For
example, 1 cup of skim milk has about the
same amount of calcium as 1 cup of whole
milk, but only traces of fat and half the num-
ber of calories. On the other hand, fatty
spreads and dressings, sugary foods such as
candy or soft drinks, and alcoholic beverages
such as beer, wine, and liquors add calories to
your diet but little or no nutrients. Limiting
your intake of fats, sweets, and alcoholic bev-
erages will help keep the calories in your diet
down, without sacrificing nutrients.

Some Advice About
Diet Claims and
Our society's preoccupation with weight loss
has created a multimillion-dollar industry that
abounds with diet plans and claims. Some diet
plans simply don't work at all, and others are
harmful. Always seek the advice of your doc-
tor or dietitian before you begin any special
Beware of diets that—
• make unrealistic promises—for example,
dramatic weight loss in a short period of
• include fasting.
• eliminate one food group completely or in-
clude only one or two food groups.
• have a daily caloric intake that exceeds
your usual caloric intake.
• do not allow you to have a favorite food on
• include foods that are expensive or difficult
to find.
• require costly fees.
• do not address changing your eating habits.
The best advice for weight loss is not con-
tained in any one diet, but simply follows
some common sense ideas:
• Consult your doctor.
• Eat a well-balanced diet with a variety of
foods from each food group.
• Make a long-term commitment to healthy
eating habits.
• Include regular exercise.
• Create or choose a plan that fits your food
• Remember that radical changes are hard to
make. Instead, begin to modify your intake
by eating smaller portions and reducing fat,
sugar, and, if you drink, alcoholic bever-

What If I'm
Though discussions of diet usually focus on
losing weight, some people have trouble
maintaining enough weight. This sometimes
happens to older people when they find them-
selves living alone. People who are under-
weight are often more susceptible to illnesses
and don't recover from them as well as others.
If you are concerned about weighing too little,
try to—
• eat three balanced meals every day, with
foods from each food group.
• increase portion sizes of the foods you eat at
each meal.
• try new foods and ingredients to perk up
your appetite.
• eat when you feel hungry. Keep healthy
snacks handy for munching and don't skip
• try milk, cocoa, or soup instead of coffee
and tea, which have few calories.
• add milk, cheeses, and crumb toppings to
casseroles, soups, stews, or side dishes.
Food Choice
Some situations pose special challenges for
making healthy food choices, especially
snacktime, dessert time, and eating out.
Americans, in general, are snackers and
often substitute snacks for meals because they
are quick and easy. Eating too many snacks
that are high in sugar, fat, and salt can add
calories without giving you important nutri-
ents you need. On the other hand, nutritious
snacks can help you get needed nutrients, es-
pecially if you find it easier to eat only small
amounts of food at meals.
M i -, w *" *»'•'. «t
• '

Ten Ideas for
Healthy Snacking
1. plain popcorn, without added
butter or oil
2. whole-grain crackers
3. unsalted pretzels
4. lowfat yogurt
5. lowfat cheeses and spreads
6. unsweetened fruit juices
7. tomato juice
8. fruit slices with peels (for more
9. raw vegetable strips and pieces
10. sparkling water flavored with a
slice of lemon or lime
Limit the amount of food you eat at snack-
time, so you won't be tempted to skip meals.
For instance, take several crackers and eat
them slowly—don't take a whole box of crack-
ers to munch on. If you need to make your
snack a mini-meal, try eating "meal foods"—
half a sandwich and a glass of milk or a cup of
soup. If you're limiting calories, choose lowfat
dairy products and clear soups.
Desserts Can Be
Nutritious Too
For many people, desserts are another source
of "empty calories"—foods that add a lot of
calories without many nutrients. You don't
have to cut out desserts; many recipes for
baked desserts can be modified to be lower in
salt, fat, cholesterol, and sugar. Ingredients
with dietary fiber, such as whole grains and
dried fruits, can be added too. There are also
low-calorie or lower fat substitutes available
for ice cream, sour cream, and whipped

Hints for Reducing Fat, Saturated Fat,
Cholesterol, Sugar, and Sodium in
Your Baking
whole egg
2 egg whites
whole milk
skim or lowfat milk
1/2 cup of sugar per cup of flour in cakes
1 tablespoon of sugar per cup of flour in yeast
Hint: when reducing sugar, add more flavor-
ing, such as vanilla
baking chocolate, 1 oz.
3 tablespoons of cocoa (if fat is needed, use 1
tablespoon or less of oil)
minimum for muffins and quick breads is 1 to
2 tablespoons of fat per cup of flour
minimum for cakes is 2 tablespoons of fat per
cup of flour
Hint: soft drop cookies generally contain less
fat than rolled cookies
1/4 teaspoon of salt per cup of flour in yeast
breads; half the amount of salt called for in
other baked products
1-1/4 teaspoons of baking powder per cup of
flour in muffins, biscuits, waffles
1 teaspoon of baking powder per cup of flour
in cakes
sour cream
lowfat sour cream or yogurt
margarine or vegetable oil (total fat will be
the same, but saturated fat and cholesterol will
be reduced)

Some Tips for Making
Desserts More
• fruit breads made with whole-wheat flour.
• fresh fruit, baked or broiled, spiced with
cinnamon, nutmeg, or mint.
• pudding made with lowfat milk and less
• unsweetened fresh fruit topped with lowfat
• rolled oat toppings for fruit crisps, instead
of flour/sugar/butter crumb toppings.
• cookie recipes with less sugar and fat.
• single-crust pies—try a crust made with 1
cup of graham cracker crumbs and 3 table-
spoons of soft margarine.
• ice milk, frozen yogurt, sherbets, sorbet, or
flavored ices. When you do eat ice cream,
try regular varieties rather than the rich
super premium types, which are much
higher in fat.
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: sugar, It means ail
sugar, corn syrup, .honeys, .and m0iasj||f||
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Eating Better When
Eating Out
More and more Americans are eating out, and
older Americans are no exception. While you
can't control the ingredients in the foods you
eat in restaurants, you can choose wisely and
eat moderate amounts.
The type of restaurant you eat in will deter-
mine what choices you can make. For exam-
ple, cafeterias and buffets offer a variety of
foods but no options for ordering foods pre-
pared as you like. And restaurants offering
"all-you-can-eat" tempt you to eat too much!
Fast-food restaurants also limit your choices
because many items are deep-fat fried or con-
tain a lot of sodium. However, many chains
now have salad bars, offering a healthful alter-
The key strategies to eating healthy in a
restaurant are watching serving sizes so you
don't overeat, choosing items that are low in
fat, and asking for alternatives like lowfat milk
and margarine when possible.

Some Tips for
Eating Healthy at
• Choose steamed, grilled, stirfried, or baked
meats and vegetables.
• Limit the amount of fried foods, heavy
sauces, and gravies you eat. Choose
tomato-based sauces and soups instead of
creamed ones.
• Eat bread and potatoes with only small
amounts of butter or margarine.
• Order sauces and salad dressings on the
side, when possible, and then add them
• When portion choices are available, order
small or half portions; if they're not avail-
able, eat half and take the rest home.
• Choose vegetable toppings for pizza instead
of sausage or extra cheese.
• At the salad bar, limit heavy dressings; go
easy on toppings like croutons and cheese
and items made with mayonnaise, such as
macaroni salad.
• Ask questions about what the menu terms
mean if you don't understand them. Some
terms can be misleading. If you're unsure,
ask how the food is prepared or what the
ingredients are.
• Don't be afraid to send something back to
the kitchen if it tastes too fatty or salty.
After all, you haven't paid for it yet!
• You don't have to skip dessert; split one
and you give away half the calories too!
. •

Catching on to Menu Clues
Some terms commonly used in menus can
provide clues to higher fat or sodium content.
• ~ ,>o^
. a
Some terms can signal lower fat. Foods that
are grilled or broiled, stirfried, roasted,
poached, or steamed need less fat in prepara-
tion than frying. Few terms guarantee low
sodium. Even "fresh" or "homemade" foods
can be high in sodium depending on their in-
gredients and the amounts used.

Fast Food on a
Lowfat Budget
You can enjoy fast food without eating too
many calories, or too much fat or sodium.
Just follow these pointers:
The Main Dish:
• Try hamburgers with one regular patty
rather than those with two patties, and
plain types rather than those with lots of
extras like cheese, bacon, or "special"
• Order roast beef or grilled chicken for a
leaner alternative to most burgers or fried
• Breaded, deep-fat fried fish and chicken
sandwiches (especially those with cheese,
tartar sauce, or mayonnaise) have more fat
and calories than a plain burger.
• When fixing your sandwich, load up on
lettuce, tomato, and onion, but limit
pickles, mustard, catsup, and other sauces.
If you're having fried chicken, remove the
skin and some of the breading before you
eat. Try broiled chicken as an alternative.
On the Side:
• Skip the fries if you're also ordering a main
dish that is deep-fried or made with a sauce
or cheese.
• Order a small portion of fries rather than a
large one.
• Specify no salt when possible and add a
small amount yourself.
• Choose a plain baked potato or mashed
potatoes instead of fries, and add butter or
margarine and salt sparingly.
• Have a tossed salad instead of fries.
• Ask for a dinner roll instead of a biscuit to
limit calories and fat.
• Load up on fresh greens, fruits, and
• Go easy on the dressings and creamy salads
such as potato salad, coleslaw, and
macaroni or pasta salads.

• Choose milk, preferably skim or lowfat,
instead of a soda or shake.
• Be aware that commercially prepared
milkshakes often include sodium in their
ingredients as well as whole milk and sugar.
• Ask for water if milk isn't available.
• Skip it! Or make it an occasional treat.
Many of the dessert items are high in
calories, fat, and sugar.
• Choose fresh fruit from the salad bar, if
available, as an alternative.
• Do I exercise regularly?
• What exercise could I add to my
• Have I tried several diets that don't
succeed in keeping lost pounds off?
• What common sense practices
could I follow to control my weight?
• Do I know the ingredients in my
favorite snacks?
• What are my favorite desserts—the
ones I eat most frequently?
• How can I change desserts to reduce
calories and add nutrients?
• What foods can I eat at snack and
dessert times to add nutrients I
need to my diet?
• What kinds of restaurants do I eat
in? How can I choose healthier
foods from the menu?
• Are there other restaurants I can
try that allow better choices?

Try these recipes for
desserts and
Pumpkin Cupcakes
Try these cupcakes unfrosted for a nutrient-plus dessert.
The pumpkin is high in vitamin A and the raisins add iron.

24 cupcakes
Per cupcake:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids.

5 grams
1 gram
...27 milligrams
.130 milligrams
Whole-wheat flour
1-1/2 cups
All-purpose flour

3/4 cup
Baking powder
Ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons
Ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon
Eggs, slightly beaten
1/4 teaspoon
Skim milk
Vegetable oil
1/2 cup
Canned pumpkin
Raisins, chopped
3/4 cup
1 tablespooon
1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Place 24 paper baking cups in muffin tins.
3. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
4. Mix remaining ingredients; add to dry ingredients.
Stir until dry ingredients are barely moistened.
5. Fill paper cups two-thirds full.
6. Bake about 20 minutes or until toothpick inserte'd
in center comes out clean.
7. Remove from muffin tins and cool on rack.
8. Freeze cupcakes that will not be eaten in the next
few days.
Oatmeal Applesauce Cookies
Applesauce adds moistness to this low-calorie, lowfat, and
low-sodium version of oatmeal cookies.

About 5 dozen cookies
Per cookie:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids..

2 grams
,.35 milligrams
All-purpose flour
Baking powder
1 teaspoon
Ground allspice
1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
Egg whites
Rolled oats, guick-cooking

2 cups
Unsweetened applesauce
Raisins, chopped
1/2 cup
1. Preheat oven to 3 7 5°F.
2. Grease baking sheet.
3. Mix flour, baking powder, allspice, and salt.
4. Beat margarine and sugar until creamy. Add egg
whites; beat well.
5. Add dry ingredients.
6. Stir in oats, applesauce, and raisins. Mix well.
7. Drop
by level tablespoonfuls onto baking sheet.
8. Bake 11 minutes or until edges are lightly
9. Cool on rack.
Peanut Butter-Date Spread
The dates and juice make this peanut butter-date spread
lower in fat and calories per tablespoon than plain peanut

butter. However, it is still fairly high in fat, so balance it out
with lower fat choices elsewhere.

About 3/4 cup
Per tablespoon:
Calories.... 80
Total fat 5 grams
Saturated fatty acids 1 gram
Cholesterol 0
Sodium.... ...Trace
"No-salt-added" peanut butter
1/2 cup
Dates, chopped
1/3 cup
Orange juice
3 tablespoons
Orange rind, grated
1/4 teaspoon
1. Mix all ingredients.
2. Use as a spread on melba toast or lowfat crackers.

Food Facts
for Older
Questions Older
People Ask

New information about nutrition seems to
come out each day. Often, the information
does not address the concerns of older
adults. This section answers some
common questions older people ask
about nutrition.
The "Good" Cholesterol
Difficulty Chewing
Eating Alone
Evaluating Nutrition Claims 52
Getting Enough Potassium 53
Are there any foods
or vitamins that can
help prevent memory
As of now, there is no reliable evidence that
any foods or vitamins can help prevent mem-
ory loss such as occurs in Alzheimer's disease.
Choline and lecithin have been tried to treat
Alzheimer's, but neither was successful. Peo-
ple with Alzheimer's are at a greater risk for
developing nutritional deficiencies, which can
cause additional problems. Other kinds of se-
vere memory loss and confusion are caused by
excessive alcohol intake or by a deficiency of
vitamin B-12 or folate. A B-12 deficiency can
sometimes be reversed by injections of this vi-
tamin. It's important for anyone showing signs
of memory loss and confusion to have a com-
plete checkup, including a nutritional evalua-
tion. Ask your health care provider.

Is there such
a thing as "good
You may have heard the terms "good choles-
terol" and "bad cholesterol." These terms
refer to substances called lipoproteins, which
are "transport vehicles" that carry cholesterol
in the blood. There are several kinds of
lipoproteins. High-density lipoprotein (HDL)
is often called the "good" kind because it re-
moves cholesterol from the bloodstream, car-
rying it to the liver. The "bad" kind of choles-
terol is transported by low-density lipoprotein
(LDL). This is the cholesterol that gets de-
posited inside the arteries, where it may build
up over time and eventually block the flow of
blood. High levels of LDL increase your risk
of heart disease, while high HDL levels lower
your risk.
Diet can affect levels of LDL and HDL in
the blood, but there are no foods that contain
these substances. A cholesterol screening usu-
ally tells you the total amount of cholesterol
circulating in your blood, but not how much
of it comes from HDL and LDL. If your total
cholesterol level is over 200 mg/dl and you
have other risk factors for heart disease, your
doctor may request another blood test to find
out what your HDL and LDL levels are. This
test must be done after you fast for 12 hours.
Talk with your doctor about how the various
components of blood cholesterol affect your
Name: Jane Doe
Test Name
HDL Cholesterol
LDL Cholesterol
Health Clinic
Blood Cholesterol Report
Date Drawn: 10/1/92
Date of Report: 10/3/92
Result Units
222 mg/dl
72 mg/dl
140 mg/dl
DateRec'd: 10/1/92
Reference Range

I have trouble with
my teeth and gums
and have difficulty
eating raw vegeta-
bles. How can I get
enough fiber?
Cooked vegetables and fruits also supply fiber
in your diet, as do cooked cereals and baked
goods that contain whole grains. These will
be much easier to chew. See your dentist or
ask for a referral to one who specializes in
dental problems of older adults. Much can be
done to help your teeth and gums to make
eating a variety of foods more enjoyable.
Things just don't taste
good to me, so
I have no interest in
eating. What can I do
to perk up my
People often find that their senses of taste and
smell get duller as they age. As a result, they
may overload their food with salt or even lose
interest in food. Be creative with herbs, spices,
and lemon juice. They all add flavor that can
perk up your taste again. Experiment with dif-
ferent spices to see what appeals to you. You
may even want to try growing fresh herbs, ei-
ther in your garden or in a pot on a sunny
windowsill. Trying new recipes and choosing
colorful foods in a variety of textures may also
add interest to your meals.

I hate eating alone
and as a result I
often skip meals.
How can I make
eating interesting?
Eating alone can be boring and sometimes
even depressing. Many people don't want to
spend time preparing meals just for them-
selves. Make an effort to make meals enjoy-
able. Try some of these ideas:
• Plan meals, set the table, light candles, play
music, or eat when a television show you
like is on. You deserve the same effort and
care in preparing your own meals as the
guests you might serve for a dinner party.
• Invite friends over for meals. You could
each bring a part of the meal or trade por-
tions of "planned leftovers."
• Eat out once a week or so. Many restau-
rants have lower prices and smaller por-
tions at lunchtime. Some may offer reduced
prices for older adults. Plan a daytime out-
ing with a friend — go to lunch and visit a
museum or attend an afternoon concert or
theater performance. (See Section 4 for
hints on making healthy food choices
when you eat out.)
• Visit a senior center at lunchtime; partici-
pate in meals offered through your local
agency on aging.
• Form a gourmet club with others who eat

I've never liked eating
breakfast. Do I need to
eat breakfast to have
a healthy diet?
It's not necessary to eat a big meal first thing
in the morning. The important goal is to eat
a balanced diet that includes foods from all
the food groups each day. Set an eating pat-
tern that works for you. For example, perhaps
you like a mid-morning snack instead of a for-
mal breakfast. Just be sure to make it a
healthy snack, such as fruit and a muffin or
toast. Often, people who skip meals eat too
many snacks filled with empty calories.
What can I eat to
help my arthritis?
Unfortunately, there is no food that relieves
the pain of arthritis, but scientists are doing a
lot of research in this area. You may see ad-
vertisements for food products or supple-
ments that promise relief, but in truth they
won't help you. A balanced diet will con-
tribute to your overall good health, and
avoiding too much weight will put less strain
on your joints. There are also many simple
tools such as jar openers that you can use to
help you with everyday tasks. Contact your
local chapter of the Arthritis Foundation,
listed in the telephone book, for more infor-

Can I always believe
what I read in the
New research about diet and health often gets
in the newspaper or appears on the evening
news, but no matter how promising or dis-
couraging this news may be, making changes
in your diet based on a single report is not
wise. Government agencies and health orga-
nizations, such as the U.S. Departments of
Agriculture and of Health and Human Ser-
vices (USDA and DHHS), the National
Academy of Sciences, and the American
Heart Association, base their recommenda-
tions on dozens of studies carried out over
many years. These groups continuously review
new research findings and make recommenda-
tions only when there is widespread agree-
ment among experts. Consult the resource list
included in this bulletin for sources of more
How do I know when
a claim that a food
product or
supplement cures
diseases is true?
These claims can be dangerous because they
often prevent users from getting the medical
help they need. They also create false hopes
and waste money. In general, if it sounds too
good to be true, it is. Suspect a product if it—
• makes outrageous claims, like curing a dis-
ease or reversing the aging process. No
product or food has yet been proven to do
• promises immediate or fast results.
• does not list ingredients.
• cites only one study or a preliminary study
as proof of results.
• does not give information about possible
side effects.
• claims to be a secret formula.
• is available only from one source.

I don't eat many
dairy products. How
can I get enough
People who have trouble digesting milk can
usually drink it in small amounts or can drink
milk to which the enzyme lactase has been
added (see Section 2 for suggestions). Butter-
milk, yogurt, or cheese are good alternatives
and are easier to digest. Other people simply
don't like milk or dairy products. Calcium can
be found in other foods. It's found naturally in
leafy green vegetables like kale and broccoli.
It's also added to some products such as fruit
juice. It's best to get as much calcium as you
can from the food you eat. If you feel you are
not getting enough from foods, discuss
whether you should take a calcium supple-
ment (and what kind) with your doctor or
One baked potato (even without th^|||||
I take diuretics; how
can I get enough
First of all it's important to know if the di-
uretic you take is one that depletes potassium
or one that has little effect on it. Generally,
the more potent diuretics produce significant
potassium losses. You should discuss the spe-
cific drug you are taking with the doctor who
prescribed it for you. Most people's diets do
not provide enough potassium to make up for
what is lost due to the diuretic. However,
proper choice of foods can effectively replace
potassium losses.
Most foods provide some potassium. Fruits,
vegetables, milk, and yogurt are among the
best sources. Some meats, poultry, and fish are
good sources too. Here are some common
foods that are good sources of potassium:
• bran cereals
• cooked dried fruit such as apricots,
peaches, prunes
• bananas
• potatoes, baked or boiled
• sweetpotatoes, pumpkin, winter squash
• stewed tomatoes
• lima beans
• cooked dry beans, peas, lentils
• milk and yogurt (all types)

Any Other Questions ...
Write your own questions below. Check the resource list in section 7 for people
who may be able to answer your questions.

Food Facts
for Older
Tips and Recipes
You don't have to eliminate all of the fat,
sugar, and sodium from the foods you eat
to follow a healthy diet. Balance is the
key. Think about how you can cut down
on the fat, sugar, and sodium in the foods
you prepare and eat. Consider also how
you can get more whole grains, fruits, and
vegetables. Simple changes make a dif-
ference. The following pages contain tips
on preparing foods with less fat, sugar,
and sodium as well as recipes to help you
eat in a more healthful way.
Breads, Cereals, Rice, Pasta 56
Milk, Yogurt, Cheese
Meat, Poultry, Fish
Modifying Your Recipes
Some Ideas for Better
Make some simple changes in your recipes,
using the recipes in this section as examples.
Notice that—
• Many of the recipes are prepared without
added salt. Some use ingredients that
already contain salt such as canned tuna,
cereal, cheese, and soy sauce, while others
are seasoned with herbs or spices.
• Lower fat ingredients are used instead of
similar ingredients that are higher in fat.
For example, water-packed tuna instead of
oil-packed tuna, reduced-calorie salad
dressing instead of regular salad dressing,
skim milk instead of whole milk, and
chicken breast without skin rather than
chicken breast with skin.
• The desserts and quick bread are prepared
with less sugar than most similar recipes.
• Whole-grain products are used in place of
some or all of the all-purpose flour.
Make some simple changes at the table, too.
See if you can take the salt shaker away or cut
down the number of times you use it. Do you
usually add a dab of butter or margarine to
vegetables when you put them on the table?
Try a low-calorie spread instead. Are there
other changes you can make?

Tips About Breads,
Cereals, Rice, and
• Choose products made with whole grains
often; for example, whole-wheat, oatmeal,
oat-bran, pumpernickel, and rye breads,
and cornmeal products, such as corn tor-
• Cook pasta and rice without salt or fats.
Try using unsalted broth or tomato juice to
add flavor.
• Try flavored pastas now available at many
grocery stores, such as whole-wheat,
spinach, or herb pasta.
• Try brown rice; it has more flavor and more
• Make a pasta salad for dinner or lunch.
It's easy to make and puts leftovers to good
use. Just go easy on the mayonnaise or use
reduced-calorie mayonnaise or salad
Tuna Pasta Salad
This salad is a tasty change from a typical tuna salad. It
provides a serving of cooked pasta and half a serving of fruit
in addition to the tuna.
4 servings, about 1 cup each
Per serving:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids.

2 grams
...13 milligrams
.170 milligrams
Elbow macaroni, uncooked
3/4 cup
Tuna, water-pack, drained
Celery, thinly sliced
1/2 cup
Seedless red grapes, halved
Salad dressing, mayonnaise-type,
3 tablespoons
1. Cook macaroni according to package directions,
omitting salt. Drain.
2. Toss macaroni, tuna, celery, and grapes together.
3. Mix in salad dressing.
4. Serve warm or chill until served.
Menu Suggestion:
Serve with broccoli spears, pumper-
nickel rolls, and ice milk topped with sliced

Bran Apple Bars
Apples and bran cereal add dietary fiber. Using egg whites
in place of a whole egg keeps cholesterol to a trace.

16 bars
Calories 110
Total fat 4 grams
Saturated fatty acids 1 gram
Cholesterol Trace
Sodium 110 milligrams
Whole-bran cereal (see Note)
Skim milk
1/2 cup
Baking powder
Ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
Ground nutmeg
1/3 cup
Brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup
Egg whites
Apple, pared, chopped
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Grease 9- by 9-inch baking pan.
3. Soak bran in milk until milk is absorbed.
4. Mix dry ingredients thoroughly.
5. Beat margarine and sugar until creamy. Add egg
whites; beat well. Stir in apples and bran mixture.
Add dry ingredients; mix well.
6. Pour into pan.
7. Bake 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in
center comes out clean.
8. Cool on rack.
9. Cut into 16 bars.
Note: Check the nutrition label of cereals for sodium
content. Some whole-bran cereals contain almost
twice as much sodium as others.
Zucchini Bread
This quick bread contains less fat, cholesterol, sugar, and
sodium than many traditional squash breads. Use for dessert
in place of an iced cake.

1 loaf, 18 slices, about 1/2-inch thick
Per slice:
Calories 110
Total fat 4 grams
Saturated fatty acids 1 gram
Cholesterol 0
90 milligrams
Whole-wheat flour
All-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons
Ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
1/4 teaspoon
Egg whites
1/2 cup
Vegetable oil
1/3 cup
1-1/2 teaspoons
Zucchini squash, coarsely shredded,
lightly packed
2 cups
1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
2. Grease 9-by 5-by 3-inch loaf pan.
3. Mix dry ingredients, except sugar.
4. Beat egg whites until frothy. Add sugar, oil, and
vanilla. Continue beating for 3 minutes.
5. Stir in zucchini; mix lightly.
6. Add dry ingredients. Mix just until dry
ingredients are moistened.
7. Pour into loaf pan.
8. Bake 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in
center comes out clean.
9. Cool on rack. Remove from pan after 10 minutes.
10. To serve, cut into 18 slices about 1/2-inch thick.

Tips About
• Both raw vegetables and cooked vegetables
provide dietary fiber. The less they are
cooked, the more vitamins remain in the
vegetables. Try steaming them just to the
point that they are tender but crisp.
• Eat potatoes with their skins for more fiber.
• Season vegetables with herbs, yogurt, and
lemon juice. Limit butter, margarine, heavy
dressing, honey, salt, and soy sauce.
• Canned vegetables are often high in
sodium. Try some of the special low-sodium
or "no-salt-added" versions.
• Add beans, split peas, and lentils to your
diet; they're an inexpensive source of pro-
tein and fiber. Add them to soups, stews,
salads, and rice dishes.
Herbed Vegetable Combo
These steamed vegetables with herb seasonings add color
and flavor to a meal without adding fat or salt.
4 servings, about 3/4 cup each
Per serving:
Calories 25
Total fat Trace
Saturated fatty acids Trace
Cholesterol 0
10 milligrams
2 tablespoons
Zucchini squash, thinly sliced
Yellow squash, thinly sliced
1-1/4 cups
Green pepper, cut into 2-inch strips
1/2 cup
Celery, cut into 2-inch strips
1/4 cup
Onion, chopped
1/4 cup
Caraway seed
1/2 teaspoon
Garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon
Tomato, cut into 8 wedges
1 medium
1. Heat water in large frypan.
2. Add squash, green pepper, celery, and onion.
3. Cover and cook over moderate heat until
vegetables are tender-crisp—about 4 minutes.
4. Sprinkle seasonings over vegetables. Top with
tomato wedges. Cover and cook over low heat
until tomato wedges are just heated—about 2

Tips About Fruits...
• Fruits offer natural sweetness with the
added benefits of fiber, vitamins, and min-
• Use fresh or canned fruit slices as a colorful
garnish for main dishes, salads, and cereals.
• Blend fresh, plain frozen, or canned fruit
with milk for a fruitshake.
• Add dried fruit to muffins and quick breads.
• Eat fresh fruits topped with yogurt and
sprinkled with cinnamon.
• Bake or broil apples, pears, or bananas with
cinnamon and nutmeg; fruit tastes even
sweeter when eaten while warm.
Apple Crisp
Whole-wheat flour and rolled oats add dietary fiber. Using
less sugar and fat than in an old-fashioned apple crisp recipe

means lower sugar and fat content per serving.
4 servings, 1/2 cup each
Per serving:
Calories 235
Total fat 9 grams
Saturated fatty acids 2 grams
Cholesterol 0
105 milligrams
Tart apples, pared, sliced
4 cups
1/4 cup
Lemon juice
1 tablespoon
Brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup
Whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup
Old-fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup
Ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon
Ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon
3 tablespoons
1. Place apples in 8- by 8- by 2-inch baking pan.
2. Mix water and lemon juice, pour over apples.
3: Mix sugar, flour, oats, and spices.
4. Add margarine to dry mixture; mix until crumbly.
5. Sprinkle crumbly mixture evenly over apples.
6. Bake at 350 F until apples are tender and topping
is lightly browned, about 40 minutes.

Tips About Milk,
Yogurt, and Cheese...
These foods are an important source of cal-
cium but can add fat and extra sodium to your
• Choose lower fat and lower sodium versions
often, such as:
* skim milk
* evaporated skim milk
* lowfat or nonfat plain yogurt
* whipped cottage cheese for dips and
* part skim ricotta or mozzarella
* lowfat process cheeses
* lower sodium cheeses
• If you don't like to drink milk, try using it
in soups and puddings (see the following
recipe for broccoli soup).
Broccoli Soup
This recipe has less sodium and fat than canned broccoli
soup. Using unsalted broth and adding 1/4 teaspoon salt
results in Jess sodium than using a salted broth and no salt.
4 servings, about 1 cup each
Per serving:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids.

3 grams
2 grams
9 milligrams
,.250 milligrams
Broccoli, chopped (see Note)
1-1/2 cups
Celery, diced
1/4 cup
Onion, chopped
1/4 cup
Chicken broth, unsalted
Skim milk
2 cups
2 tablespoons
1/4 teaspoon
Ground thyme
Swiss cheese, shredded
1/4 cup
1. Place vegetables and broth in saucepan. Bring to
boiling, reduce heat, cover, and cook until
vegetables are tender—about 8 minutes.
2. Mix milk, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and thyme; add
to cooked vegetables. Cook, stirring constantly,
until soup is slightly thickened and mixture just
begins to boil.
3. Remove from heat. Add cheese and stir until
Note: A 10-ounce package of frozen chopped broccoli
can be used in place of fresh broccoli. The soup will
have about 120 calories and 260 milligrams of sodium
per serving.

Tips About Meat
Poultry, and Fish...
• You don't have to eliminate red meat, or
any one meat, from your diet. Lean,
trimmed beef is low in fat and supplies im-
portant amounts of minerals such as iron
and zinc.
• Choose leaner types of meat:
* beef—round, loin, sirloin, and chuck
arm steaks or roasts, especially "select"
grade cuts (often labeled in supermarkets
as "lean")
* pork—tenderloin, center loin roasts and
* veal—roasts and chops
* lamb—leg, loin roasts and chops, and
* chicken and turkey, especially light
* most fish; choose tuna canned in water
when available
* shellfish
• Try substituting ground turkey or chicken
for ground beef in casseroles and other
• Try dishes made with dry beans and peas as
occasional alternatives. Dry beans and peas
are low in fat and provide protein and min-
erals similar to lean meat, poultry, and fish.
They also provide dietary fiber.
• Limit your use of processed meats such as
hotdogs, sausage, and luncheon
meats. They are usually high in both
sodium and fat. Choose more lowfat or
lower salt versions.
• Keep the fat and sodium content low when
you prepare meats:
* trim visible fat and remove the skin
from poultry
* broil and bake instead of fry
* place meat on a rack when cooking so
fat can drain away from the meat
* cook with no added fat in nonstick pans
* baste meats with unsalted broth, tomato
juice, or fruit juice instead of fatty
drippings, or marinate before cooking
* cool stews and soups before serving so
you can skim fat off the top
* limit sauces and gravies that are high in
saturated fats, such as cream sauce
* use onion or garlic powder instead of
seasoned salts
* season with herbs and spices
* use commercially prepared sauces
sparingly; they are usually high in sugar
or sodium or both
• Modify recipes so you use smaller amounts
and leaner cuts of meat and more of other
ingredients like potatoes, rice, noodles,
grains, or vegetables.

Beef & Vegetable Stirfry
Using a lean meat cut, round steak, and only I teaspoon of
oil keeps the fat lower than in a traditional stirfry.
4 servings, about 3/4 cup each
Per serving:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids.

4 grams
1 gram
...44 milligrams
..300 milligrams
Beef round steak, boneless
3/4 pound
(12 ounces)
Vegetable oil
1 teaspoon
Carrots, sliced
1/2 cup
Celery, sliced
1/2 cup
Onion, sliced
1/2 cup
Soy sauce
1 tablespoon
Garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon
Zucchini squash, cut in thin strips
2 cups
1 tablespoon
1/4 cup
1. Trim all fat from steak. Slice steak across the grain
into thin strips about 1/8-inch wide and 3 inches
long. (Partially frozen meat is easier to slice.)
2. Heat oil in frypan. Add beef strips and stirfry over
high heat, turning pieces constantly, until beef is
no longer red—about 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce heat.
3. Add carrots, celery, onion, and seasonings. Cover
and cook until carrots are slightly tender—3 to 4
4. Add squash; cook until vegetables are tender-
crisp—3 to 4 minutes.
5. Mix cornstarch and water until smooth. Add
slowly to beef mixture, stirring constantly.
6. Cook until thickened and vegetables are coated
with a thin glaze.
Chicken & Vegetable Stirfry
Per serving:
Calories 140
Total fat
2 grams
Saturated fatty acids Trace
Cholesterol 51 milligrams
Sodium 320 milligrams
Use 3 chicken breast halves without bone or #kin
(about 12 ounces of raw chicken) in place of beef.
Slice into thin strips. Chicken should be cooked until
thoroughly done or no longer pink in color.

Chicken Italiano
This colorful chicken main dish is quick and easy to prepare.
All ingredients are cooked together in a single pan.
4 servings, 1 chicken breast half and 3/4 cup of spaghetti
mixture each
Per serving:
Calories 280
Total fat 3 grams
Saturated fatty acids 1 gram
Cholesterol 68 milligrams
Sodium 320 milligrams
Chicken breast halves, skinned, boned 4
Vegetable oil

1 teaspoon
Thin spaghetti, broken into fourths 4 ounces
(about 1-1/2 cups dry)
Onion, cut in wedges
1 small
Green pepper, cut in strips
1 small
Instant minced garlic
1/8 teaspoon
Oregano leaves
1 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon
Bay leaf
1/4 cup
Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon, if desired
1. Pound chicken breasts with a metal mallet between
sheets of plastic wrap until about 1/2-inch thick.
2. Heat oil in frypan. Brown chicken breasts on each
3. Add spaghetti, onion, and pepper strips around
chicken. Sprinkle with seasonings.
4. Break up large pieces of tomatoes. Pour tomatoes
and water over top of chicken.
5. Bring to boiling. Reduce heat, cover, and cook
until chicken and spaghetti are done, about 15
6. Remove bay leaf. Garnish with parsley.
Menu Suggestion:
Serve with spinach-mandarin
orange salad with reduced-calorie dressing and garlic
bread (small amount of soft margarine and garlic
Turkey Italiano
Per serving:
Calories 275
Total fat 3 grams
Saturated fatty acids Trace
Cholesterol 70 milligrams
Sodium 305 milligrams
Use 1 pound raw turkey breast fillets or tenderloins in
place of chicken. (Bone and skin are already removed.)

Broiled Sesame Fish
For a quick, lowfat main dish, try this fish recipe. It takes
about 15 minutes to prepare and contains very little fat.
4 servings, about 2-1/2 ounces each
Per serving:
Calories 110
Total fat
3 grams
Saturated fatty acids Trace
Cholesterol 46 milligrams
Sodium 155 milligrams
Cod fillets, fresh or frozen
Margarine, melted
Lemon juice

Dried tarragon leaves

Sesame seed
1 tablespoon
Parsley, chopped
1 tablespoon
1. Thaw frozen fish in refrigerator overnight or defrost
briefly in a microwave oven. Cut fish into four
2. Place fish on a broiler pan lined with aluminum
foil. Brush margarine over fish.
3. Mix lemon juice, tarragon leaves, salt, and pepper.
Pour over fish.
4. Sprinkle sesame seeds evenly over fish.
5. Broil until fish flakes easily when tested with a
fork—about 12 minutes.
6. Garnish each serving with parsley.
Dilled Fish Fillets
Using dill weed and lemon juice for flavor in place of butter
or margarine keeps the fat law.
4 servings, about 2-1/2 ounces each
Per serving:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids.

1 gram
...45 milligrams
.130 milligrams
1 pound Frozen haddock or cod fillets
1 pound
1 teaspoon Lemon juice
1 tablespoon
1 tablespoon Dried dill weed
1/8 teaspoon
1 teaspoon Salt
1/8 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon Pepper
1. Thaw frozen fish in refrigerator overnight or thaw
in microwave oven. Separate into four fillets or
2. Place fish in heated frypan. Sprinkle with lemon
juice and seasonings.
3. Cover and cook over moderate heat until fish
flakes when tested with a fork, about 5 minutes.
Menu Suggestion:
Serve with braised carrots and
celery, new potatoes boiled in skin, and applesauce
muffins made from mix.
Place fish in a glass
baking dish. Cover with wax paper. Cook at "medium"
power for 3 minutes. Remove cover, turn fish over, and
sprinkle with lemon juice and seasonings. Cover and
continue cooking at "medium" power for 3 minutes or
until fish flakes with a fork.

Modifying Your Recipes
Here's an example of how to use these tips. The recipe below shows simple adjustments in a
typical beef stroganoff recipe that can help you moderate fat and cholesterol.
Changes from
typical recipe:
Use a less fatty
meat cut—round
steak in place of
sirloin—and trim
fat from meat.
Use buttermilk
in place of sour
Light Beef Stroganoff
4 servings, 1/2 cup of stroganoff and 1/2 cup of noodles each
Per serving:
Total fat
Saturated fatty acids.

Use a nonstick pan
and no butter to
cook the meat.
Prepare gravy with
buttermilk instead
of butter.
6 grams
2 grams
...71 milligrams
,.325 milligrams
Beef round steak, boneless, trimmed
3/4 pound
Fresh mushrooms
1/4 pound
Onion, sliced
1/2 cup
Beef broth, condensed
1/2 cup
1/2 cup
1 tablespoon
1/8 teaspoon
2 tablespoons
Noodles, cooked, unsalted
2 cups
(about 2-1/2 cups uncooked)
1. Slice steak across the grain into thin strips, about 1/8-inch wide
and 3 inches long. (It is easier to cut thin slices of meat if it is
partially frozen.)
2. Wash and slice mushrooms.
3. Cook beef strips, mushrooms, and onion in nonstick frypan until
beef is lightly browned.
4. Add broth, water, catsup, and pepper. Cover and simmer until beef
is tender, about 45 minutes.
5. Mix flour with about 1/4 cup of the buttermilk until smooth; add
remaining buttermilk. Stir into beef mixture. Cook, stirring
constantly, until thickened.
6. Serve over noodles.
For each serving, these changes result in savings of 240 calories,
24 grams total fat, 15 grams saturated fatty acids, and
62 milligrams cholesterol.

Adapt Your Staples
for Better Health...
You can reduce fat and sodium in the boxed
products you use, such as macaroni and
cheese. Just follow the chart below:
Macaroni and cheese
Seasoned rice and
rice/pasta mixtures
Bread stuffing
Scalloped and au
gratin potatoes
Omit salt when cooking macaroni.
Use lowfat milk.
Reduce added margarine by half.
Reduce added margarine by half.
Reduce added margarine by half.
Use lowfat milk.
Reduce added margarine by half.
Fat saved
per serving
Sodium saved
per serving
Note: Savings for macaroni and cheese and potatoes are for products made with 2 percent fat milk in place of whole milk.
Reduce fat even further by using 1 percent fat or skim milk.

Food Facts
for Older
Want More
For assistance in answering your ques-
tions about nutrition and health, con-
tact the following organizations. If they
cannot answer your questions directly,
they will refer you to someone who
Administration on Aging
330 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, DC 20201
(202) 619-0724
U.S. Government agency that provides infor-
mation on health and aging programs, offered
through State and area agencies on aging.
Alzheimer's Association
Suite 1000
919 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
1(800) 272-3900 toll-free hotline
Offers a hotline that provides information and
assistance for families coping with Alzheimer's
American Association of Retired Persons
1909 K Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20049
(202) 434-2277
Membership organization for people over age
50, offering publications and volunteer-run
programs on a variety of economic, social, and
health issues.
American Dietetic Association
Suite 800
216 West Jackson Boulevard
Chicago, IL 60606
(312) 899-0040
Professional organization offering assistance in
locating a registered dietitian in your commu-
American Geriatrics Society
Suite 300
770 Lexington Avenue
New York, NY 10021
Professional organization of physicians with
geriatric training, offering assistance in locating
a doctor in your community with special train-
ing in treating older adults.
Arthritis Foundation
1314 Spring Street, N.W.
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 872-7100
Provides information and programs on arthri-
tis, including treatment options and self-help
materials for those with arthritis and their fami-
Food and Drug Administration
Office of Consumer Affairs
5600 Fishers Lane, HFE 88
Rockville,MD 20857
U.S. Government agency that answers ques-
tions about the safety of food additives, drugs,
and medical devices.

Human Nutrition Information Service
6505 Belcrest Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782
U.S. Government agency that provides infor-
mation on using the Dietary Guidelines and
preparing foods.

National Institute on Aging
Public Information Office
Federal Building, Room 6C12
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
U.S. Government agency that provides infor-
mation on health and other issues of interest to
older people.
National Cancer Institute
Office of Cancer Communications
Building 31, Room 10A24
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
1(800)422-6237 toll-free hotline
U.S. Government agency that provides infor-
mation on cancer prevention and treatment.
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
Information Office
Building 31, Room 4A21
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
U.S. Government agency that conducts
research and provides information about heart,
lung, and blood diseases.

Office of Disease Prevention and
Health Promotion
National Health Information Center
Washington, DC 20013-1133
U.S. Government agency that operates a clear-
inghouse and hotline to provide health infor-

mation and referrals.
£• U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE: 1993 348-309/80193

Information in this publication has been prepared jointly by
N a t i o n a l Institute on Aging
Human Nutrition Information Service
U.S. Department of Agriculture
6505 Belcrest Road
Hyattsville, Maryland 20782
National Institute on Aging
National Institutes of Health
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
Bethesda, Maryland 20892