Proper Nutrition in Older Patient Populations - Episode 10

A Healthy Day's Diet

October 25, 2019

Simon D. Murray, MD: I would like conclude, but there’s 1 thing I’d like you to help me with. I want to tell my parents a good way that they should eat to stay healthy, and I want to be practical about it. What should I tell them they should eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Wow, that’s loaded. By the way, this information is on this handout.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Yeah, it is.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: There are all types of suggestions. For breakfast, oatmeal is wonderful. I tell people to stay away from a lot of the processed oatmeals with a ton of added sugar. Most of the instant oatmeals will have about a tablespoon of added sugar. But just a nice, simple oatmeal with some honey and some sliced banana would be fine.

Simon D. Murray, MD: How about eggs?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Eggs, yes. You could scramble some eggs. I try to encourage people to have a little bit of vegetables, to throw in some spinach or some mushrooms or something, to have that. A slice of toast. You could smash some avocado on it. That’s also nice. If you’re going to have cereal, make sure it’s a whole-grain cereal that doesn’t have a lot of sugar, then put some fruit in it or put some walnuts in it. So you’re kind of boosting that up.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Yeah, and it’s easy enough to do all those things.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Yes, definitely.

Simon D. Murray, MD: And a lunchtime meal?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: One of my favorite lunch suggestions is to turn to the canned fish, whether it’s canned salmon, canned tuna, or sardines. A lot of older people like sardines, and they’re packed with omegas.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Calcium.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Calcium. So they could have that either on a sandwich or on a salad. That’s nice and easy. Or soup.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Not a canned soup, that is.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Yeah, if it’s homemade. There’s a brand of soup I mentioned in the handout that’s called Imagine, and it’s in a lot of supermarkets. It’s a pretty clean soup. They have a lot of vegetable options, like butternut squash and cream of broccoli, so that’s also nice.

Simon D. Murray, MD: That’s great. And dinner?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: And dinner would be a lean protein, the half-plate of vegetables, and the sweet potato or peas or baked potato.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Can you overeat vegetables? Can you become obese if you eat too many vegetables?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: It would be hard to become obese if you overeat vegetables, but I tell people you can overeat anything and that you don’t want to eat until you feel uncomfortably full. That’s very damaging to the body and to the digestive system. Even if it’s healthy, you don’t want to overeat.

Simon D. Murray, MD: And you recommend drinking water?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Mostly water, yes. Tea or unsweetened iced tea is fine too.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Yeah. What about dietary soda? Diet soda?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Not good.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Why? Why not?

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Chemicals. All the artificial sweeteners, which can have a lot of adverse effects; plus, all the studies coming out about their effects on metabolic syndrome.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Yeah.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: That’s pretty scary.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Absolutely. It tricks your body.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: It does.

Simon D. Murray, MD: It tricks your body and your liver to release glucose, even though there’s no sugar.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Correct.

Simon D. Murray, MD: You’re right.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Right.

Simon D. Murray, MD: And studies have shown people who drink dietary sodas are no leaner than people who drink regular or who don’t drink soda.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Right.

Simon D. Murray, MD: I know there are a lot of good reasons not to drink it. Phosphates are another good reason.

Jane Schwartz, RDN: Yes.

Simon D. Murray, MD: Well, that’s been very practical and helpful. I really wish that Medicare would cover more of the services for people like you to help our parents and our patients. I think that’s very helpful.

Transcript edited for clarity.