OPINION

Health and Wellness: Make every bite count with nutrient-dense foods

Ann Cochran - Dallas County Health Department
Special to Dallas County News and Perry Chief
Fresh produce for sale at the Perry Farmers Market in 2018.

Dallas County Health Department is helping distribute vouchers to low-income residents over the age of 60 that can be used at farmers’ markets for fresh fruit, vegetables and fresh herbs. The point of this Department of Agriculture program is to increase good nutrition.

Healthy food and beverage choices are important for people of all ages. Older adults typically require fewer calories than growing children and adolescents, or even younger adults. Across the board, it’s important for everyone to supply our bodies with the nutrients they need, while staying within the number of calories we use for energy and growth. Nutrient-dense foods provide vitamins, minerals, and fiber minus excess sugar, salt and saturated fats. Make every bite count.

Watch out for hidden sugar in foods and beverages by getting in the habit of reading labels. Resist adding sugar to coffee and tea. Fast food is notorious as high calorie and low nutrient fare, so make this a rare part of your diet. Americans are accustomed to super-sized portions from restaurants and packaged food and drinks, which may seem like a good way to get even more vitamins. Unfortunately, fast food is generally far from packed with nutrients. Don’t waste your daily calories on junk.