2020 Healthful Eating Tips |

Fall and Winter

Autumn is here with some amazing in-season fruits and veggies that will carry us into the winter, which also offers us the opportunity to try many more fresh & tasty offerings that are readily available this time of the year! 


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Cabbage is well known and used in food preparation in many cultures and cooking practices. It is extremely versatile and easy to cook and work with. It is best used in soups, stews, salads, stir fry’s and sandwiches.  Cabbage is low in calories like most other veggies and contains healthy plant fiber that will also help to fill you up and keep you more satisfied between meals and snacks throughout the day. It also contains potassium which is heart and blood vessel healthy, and a small amount of calcium which can be difficult to find in most plant foods. Try using cabbage as a simple side dish with lemon juice, black pepper, and a splash of olive oil to replace your side salad for some variety!


Garlic is great for replacing salt-based additives and flavorings in foods. It contains the compound allicin which helps to provide health benefits such as helping to lower cholesterol levels and can assist the body in fighting inflammation with its antioxidant properties. Garlic is simple and easy to use, and readily available at most markets. It is commonly used in soups, added to sauces, stir fry’s, breads, and hummus dishes. Why not try using a small amount of minced up garlic in your next morning omelet? Just add the garlic to some egg whites, any veggies you prefer, and sprinkle in a bit of low-fat cheese….Mmmm!


Cranberries are very plentiful and popular this time of the year, especially since most are grown right here in New England! Cranberries are most known for their use in baking breads, muffins, and pancakes. Using nuts such as walnuts and pecans in combination with cranberries can add flavor, texture, interest, and nutrition to baked goods too! They are also tasty in salads, added to sandwiches and to make flavorful sauces for your holiday meals. Nutritionally cranberries offer a small amount of calcium, potassium, and their delicious flavor comes without much sugar! For a special treat and fun family activity, try baking the Cranberry Nut Bar recipe that is located on a short video in the “Nutritional Boost” section of the Maldenismoving.org website. 


Broccoli is a renowned and versatile veggie. It is commonly found in many cooking practices and cultures and is easily used in many recipes. It can be found in soups, salads, stir-fry’s, pizza, and in pasta dishes. Try switching it up by adding broccoli florets to your morning omelet with a small amount of hot pepper sauce for a kick, or try making a delicious side dish by adding some low-salt soy sauce, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes to your broccoli. Broccoli is also a nutritional powerhouse boasting a good amount of fiber, vitamin C, and beta carotene which our bodies use to make vitamin A. These vitamins help to repair skin cells and help to keep our immune systems healthy. Broccoli also contains potassium, and a small amount of calcium. Most interestingly though, broccoli provides phytochemicals including indoles and sulforaphane that can help our bodies ward off diseases such as certain types of cancers.


Finding fresh pumpkins is easy during the fall & winter and is readily available year-round canned to provide ease in cooking and baking. Pumpkin is chock full of nutrients including a large amount of potassium, beta carotene, and vitamin K which our bodies use for blood clotting and to maintain bone health. Pumpkin also contains a fair amount of fiber, is low in calories, and provides us with Vitamin E and folate which is a B vitamin that helps with heart health and inflammation. Vitamin E is typically found in oils and avocados, but pumpkins can offer you the same benefits as well! Our bodies need Vitamin E for overall body and cell health, skin health, and it helps to support immune and heart function. While most of us associate pumpkins with traditional ideas such as baking muffins and breads and for creating Jack-O-lanterns for Halloween. However, there are many other innovative ways to cook/bake with them! Instead of pumpkin bread, try baking pumpkin cookies this year and add some pecans for a healthy crunch, or instead of butternut squash soup, substitute pumpkin for the squash for a different twist on an old favorite! And please make sure that you do not forget about the pumpkin seeds! They are a yummy treat simply wash, dry, and bake for about 20-30 minutes in the oven at 350 degrees! Just add a pinch of salt and a couple teaspoons of heart healthy canola oil and roast away!

Image of growing tomatoes in the Malden community garden
Plants in the Malden Community Garden

What is the difference between Healthy and Healthful?

Healthy, they say, cannot be used to mean conducive to good health. … So it’s OK to use healthy and healthful as synonyms for conducive to good health: have a healthy snack or a healthful one. But if you’re referring to someone who enjoys good health, however, use healthy because it’d be weird to call a person healthful.

Healthy versus Healthful: The problem is that some people insist that you can’t say your salad is healthy; you have to say it’s healthful because only healthful can mean “conducive to good health.” The thinking is that only a living thing can be healthy—if we’re in good health, you and I can describe ourselves as healthy. Healthy is a personal characteristic, but things that are dead, things we consume, aren’t healthy anymore. If they’re good for us, they’re healthful.

This word pair, healthful and healthy, has been causing debate for over a century. The question is whether these adjectives can both be used to mean conducive to good health. This is what gets some word mavens’ blood boiling. Healthy, they say, cannot be used to mean conducive to good health. But according to the Oxford English Dictionary, healthy has been a synonym for healthful since its earliest appearance in print… in 1552.

So it’s OK to use healthy and healthful as synonyms for conducive to good health: have a healthy snack or a healthful one. But if you’re referring to someone who enjoys good health, however, use healthy because it’d be weird to call a person healthful. Save healthful for the granola and healthy for your personal trainer.

Eating Right For Older Adults

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Before you eat, think about what goes on your plate or in your bowl. Choose foods that provide the nutrients you need without too many calories. Build your healthy plate with foods like vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean protein foods. Try the eating right tips in the boxes below!

Make half your plate fruits and vegetables!
Eat a variety of vegetables, especially dark-green, red and orange vegetables plus beans and peas. Fresh, frozen and canned vegetables all count. Choose “reduced sodium” or “no-salt-added” canned vegetables.
Make at least half your grains whole
Choose 100% whole-grain breads, cereals, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Also, look for fiber-rich cereals to help stay regular.
Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt and cheese
Older adults need more calcium and vitamin D to help keep bones healthy. Include three servings of fat-free or low-fat milk, yogurt or cheese each day. If you are lactose intolerant try lactose-free milk or a calcium-fortified soy beverage.
Vary your protein choices
Eat a variety of foods from the protein food group each week, such as seafood, nuts, and beans and peas, as well as lean meat, poultry and eggs.
Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
Look out for salt (sodium) in foods you buy. Compare sodium in foods and choose those with lower numbers. Add spices or herbs to season food without adding salt. Make major sources of saturated fats such as desserts, pizza, cheese, sausages and hot dogs occasional choices, not everyday foods. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food. Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Select fruit for dessert. Eat sugary desserts less often.
Enjoy your food but eat less
Most older adults need fewer calories than in younger years. Avoid oversized portions. Try using a smaller plate, bowl and glass.

Cook more often at home, where you are in control of what’s in your food.

When eating out, choose lower calorie menu options. Choose dishes that include begetables, fruits and whole grains. When portions are large, share a meal or take half home for later.

Write down what you eat to keep track of how much you eat.

Be physically active your way
Pick activities that you like and start by doing what you can. Every bit adds up and health benefits increase as you spend more time being active.

If you are currently inactive, start with a few minutes of activity such as walking. Gradually increase the minutes as you become stronger.

Consult a registered dietitian nutritionist if you have special dietary needs
A registered dietitian nutritionist can create a customized eating plan for you. Visit www.eatright.org to find a registered dietitian nutritionist near you.

Food Access For Elders

Read the Malden is Moving! Food Access for Elders in Malden, MA Report on Assessment Findings – click on the report below.


Healthy Eating Links