March is National Nutrition Month: Tips on a Healthy Lifestyle

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senior spectacularNational Nutrition Month: Open Communication with Residents on Dining Leads to Great Taste

By: Jim Bain, Dining Services Director at The Watermark at East Hill

Maintaining a nutritious and healthy diet may seem like a lofty goal to many, but it does not have to be. During National Nutrition Month, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to make simple and easy food choices that will lead to a healthy lifestyle.

Some examples of these simple tips include:

  • Enjoy a balanced, proportioned meal that incorporates lean protein, fresh vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Avoid using an excess of salt. Instead, boost the flavor of a dish with herbs and spices
  • Maintain a consistent intake of calcium and vitamin D with low-fat or fat-free yogurts, cheeses, and milk. Go dairy free and enjoy calcium-rich foods including white beans, almonds, and spinach

The benefits of incorporating these small changes include:

  • Increased energy throughout the day, instead of hitting slumps and crashing
  • Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight
  • Fighting diseases such as diabetes, cancer, and heart disease

If you’re at a loss for exciting and healthy meals, discuss ideas with a friend or family member. At The Watermark at East Hill, a continuing care retirement community in Southbury, Conn., residents share their ideas and suggestions with the Dining Services department for what they’d like to see on the menu.

Residents’ suggestions jumpstarted some of our most popular and nutritious dining options. Daily vegetarian dishes, like a sweet chili glazed tofu, and a “plain Jane” special, like our simple baked cod made with seafood stock and lemon, have become popular standards on our healthy, tasty, and unique menus.

Put your best fork forward during National Nutrition Month by starting the day with this healthy no-bake breakfast bar:

No-bake Breakfast Bars

  • 1 cup old fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts
  • ½ cup unsalted shelled sunflower seed
  • ¼ cup chia seeds
  • ¾ cup unsalted peanut butter
  • ½ cup mild honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup unsweetened puffed rice cereal (preferably brown rice)


Line a 7×11 or 9×9 inch baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang along each long side.

Mix 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats, 1 cup unsweetened puffed rice cereal, 1 cup dried cranberries, ½ cup unsalted roasted peanuts, ½ cup unsalted shelled sunflower seeds and ¼ cup chia seeds in a large bowl.

Combine ¾ cup unsalted peanut butter and ½ cup mild honey in small saucepan, stir over low heat until blended and smooth.

Stir in 1 tsp vanilla extract. Add to oat mixture, mix well.

Place into prepared baking dish, press firmly into an even layer.

Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.

Use foil overhang to transfer bars to a cutting board.

Cut into 18 bars.

Bars will keep, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.senior exercise

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