Advice Independent Living

Heart Healthy Tips for Seniors from Food and Beverage Director Lacey Rainey

Simple, manageable ways to prioritize heart health in your everyday meal planning and preparation.

Food & Beverage Director Lacey Rainey

Diet has a profound effect on heart health, yet changing our habits, especially when they are long standing ones, can seem daunting. Lacey Rainey, the Food and Beverage Director at New Pond Village, a continuing care retirement community (CCRC)  in Walpole, Massachusetts, offers practical tips for seniors looking to make sustainable changes for better heart health.

Small, Manageable Changes that Can Last

Lacey is always conscientious of making meals healthier for older adults. “Health is so important, especially as you’re enjoying the later years of life,” she shares. The key to success is to make small, manageable, changes that can last. “Diets in general are the worst for you. Diets are temporary. If you limit yourself, you can have a smaller portion of potato chips, every day. If you’re on a diet, you can’t eat those potato chips at all, but you’re thinking about them,” she advises.

Opt for Fresh Over Frozen

For the community’s dining program, she puts an emphasis on fresh ingredients. “A lot of institutional cooking is premade items—prebreaded veal, prebreaded chicken or you’re getting frozen vegetables.” Limiting frozen items automatically reduces the sodium and other additives that comes from preservatives. This is one simple change people can adopt at home, too, to instantly make their meals healthier.

“If you get a frozen piece of cod, the sodium level has already been upped on that fresh piece of cod because of the way they freeze it. If you get a fresh piece of cod that’s never been frozen, that comes straight from a purveyor, you’re instantly a blank slate. There’s not that sodium from the preservatives.”

Choose Fresh Herbs For Boosting Flavor, Not Sodium

Seniors’ heart health often hinges on managing sodium intake. Opting for fresh ingredients is a smart move, as they naturally contain less salt and require less for flavor. Lacey underscores the flavor-boosting power of fresh herbs like basil, rosemary and cilantro, which add vibrancy without the need for extra sodium. Additionally, she advises cutting back on added sugar, choosing items with lower sugar content for better overall health.

Better Eating is Smarter Eating

Lacey says better eating is smarter eating. It still requires a commitment to make changes, but those changes should, ultimately, lead to meals that are satisfying. “It’s about modifying your life instead of suffering and dreaming about potato chips. Everything in moderation but cut out the premade frozen stuff we’re all used to putting in the microwave.”

At New Pond Village, our meals are made with the finest ingredients by professional chefs. Dining is a social event where residents enjoy delicious, freshly made food while surrounded by their friends. Fine dining and friends – it’s the perfect combination.

Discover heart-healthy delight in every bite with Lacey Rainey’s Seared Salmon Recipe—showcasing her culinary brilliance.

New Pond Village Seared Salmon Recipe

Independent Living
Senior Living Lifestyle Health and Wellness
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