Eating well is important in all stages of life, but it’s especially crucial the older we get. At The Arbor Company, our chefs and dining directors take into account the nutritional needs of our residents to ensure they are eating well and balanced.
Since March is National Nutrition Month, we asked Executive Chef Oscar Acosta from Mirabelle in Miami for some tips on eating well as you age. Like most of our chefs at our communities, Acosta puts an emphasis on using homemade, fresh ingredients wherever possible.
“We take pride and time into creating a lot of things in-house like broths or dressings,” he said. “By using homemade foods, we have a handle on the sodium content.”
Across our communities, we use no added salt in our cooking. Acosta said sodium drives hypertension, swelling in the body, and water retention. As we get older, our way of processing nutrients dissipates and salt can drive blood pressure up. Acosta suggests adding citrus or flavored vinegars to foods instead of salt. This way, you’ll cut your sodium intake in half while also keeping flavor.
For those who are looking to cook lighter and healthier, he also says to use unsaturated fats, like extra virgin olive oil, steam vegetables with broths, and go for all-natural, hormone-free meats. At his kitchen in Mirabelle, the chefs also use herb-infused olive oils to season meats for grilling in order to avoid salt.
Using quinoa to substitute for starches and complex carbohydrates is also a good way to eat better, as these are easier to digest. He also said it’s important to buy fresh produce instead of frozen or canned, which always contains some degree of hidden sodium.
“It’s a matter of balance,” he said. “The key is to buy fresh as much as possible.”