Exercise can improve your mental and physical health

Regular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of everyone including older adults. They help maintain and improve physical strength, fitness, and ability to do the things you want to do. Additionally, regular exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing diabetes and heart disease. Studies also suggest that regular exercise can help with depression and mood overall.

Exercise falls into four different categories:


Exercise can help you do many of your everyday activities. Endurance activities will make it easier for you to vacuum, rake leaves, and even push your grandchildren on the swings. Strength activities can help you carry your smaller grandchildren, carry a full laundry basket, and lift bags. Flexibility exercises make it possible for you to make the bed, bend over to tie your shoes, and pick up something from the floor. Balance exercises can help you stand on tiptoe to reach something on the top shelf, walk up and down the stairs, and walk on uneven sidewalk without falling.

Tips to help you get started

  1. Include physical activity in your everyday life

Physical activity needs to be a regular, permanent habit to produce benefits. It is important to make it a priority. Being active is one of the most important things you can do each day to maintain and improve your health. Make your activity routine fit your personal lifestyle. Choose activities that appeal to you and make it easy. If it’s too difficult or cost too much, you probably won’t be as active. Also, having an exercise buddy can help you to keep going. Enlist a friend and make it social. Do things you enjoy together and experiment other activities you may enjoy as well such as fishing, jogging, or gardening.

  1. Try all four types of exercise

Be creative and choose activities from each of the different types of exercises- endurance, strength, balance, and flexibility.

  1. Plan for breaks in the routine

There are several events that can interrupt your physical activity routines. Plan for those events and start again whenever you can. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Remember the reasons for starting to exercise and go back to your main goal. Start with an easy activity and keep going. Believe in yourself and motivate yourself to keep going and start again.

Exercises 2

Go4Life from the National Institute on Aging at NIH

Our lives are a series of choices: Why I’m glad I was chosen as a nutrition intern.

By Jessica Tupa, Intern

It is true what they say: our lives are a series of choices that lead us to where we are meant to be today. My path lead me to have the good fortune of having the opportunity to intern at Meals on Wheels in the Spring of 2018.

I heard about Meals on Wheels helping senior citizens in the community, but I never really knew what exactly it is they did until my classes started this semester.  My first day was a blur, but in a good way, and this is because there was a wealth of information to learn.  It amazed me at how each department really leans on each other to function.

For example, if a certain food item is chosen by the dietitian, it can have an impact on how the drivers need to pack it to be delivered to the clients. If this food item is negatively affecting the way drivers deliver the meals, like taking up too much space as an example, then the dietitian needs to re-visit the meal plan, and maybe find a feasible substitute for this meal item that has comparable nutrients.

This may seem like a minute detail, but it is because Meals on Wheels focuses on every little detail such as these, that shows me how important it is for us to care for and nourish our seniors.

We have so much potential to improve their quality of life, and it all can start with how they are being fed. This might be such a simple way to look at things, but when I reflect on my own life, I know I like to eat delicious and healthy food myself, and Meals on Wheels taught me that it is possible and very important to create meals with this kind of quality.

It is just the simple humanity they portray each and every day so that they can feed a large segment of our population, which has inspired me to continue my journey in becoming a dietitian with this spirit in my heart.

Jessica Tupa Intern

I was in awe of the strong teamwork at Meals on Wheels, and especially in awe of the strong working relationship the dietitian and kitchen manager.  They are in constant communication, and they listen to each other with respect, patience, and work together towards solutions every day. Their purpose is to serve their clients in the best way possible. It is not only this strong relationship, but the strong teamwork that goes on in the kitchen every day. If a kitchen teammate is out, we all stepped up to cover the work that needed to be done, even the drivers.  I learned how a workplace environment should be, and that I would like to model any future team I have after the team at Meals on Wheels.

The dietitian and kitchen manager took the time each week to ensure I learned my competencies well and thoroughly.  They were always positive, upbeat, and welcoming to me no matter if there was a long list of other tasks they had to complete outside of being my preceptors. They simply seem like they are always enjoying themselves.

My favorite part of interning at Meals on Wheels was getting to interact with and meet some of the clients.  They were always so grateful with a smile on their face, and so receptive to meeting me, and I know that had to do with the fact that I was associated with Meals on Wheels. Just that in itself showed me results of the great work this amazing organization is doing. I know many of the clients go through hardships every day, but their attitude and outlook on everything has been a constant reminder to count my blessings any time something tough comes along.

I can honestly say I never pictured myself in a food service environment before I interned at Meals on Wheels, but after having enjoyed myself so much and really understanding the impact we can have on the community as dietitians, I know now that I would love to have the honor of working in an organization such as this someday.

One Cup of Oats Can Change Your Life

For some, oats are a traditional staple of their morning routine. Oats are a very good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It’s a low sodium option for people on a low sodium diet and it’s also high in potassium to help reduce risk for heart disease. Oats are without a doubt a beneficial contributor to a healthy eating habit. The following are some of the benefits found in one cup of oatmeal.5 foods to lower cholesterolantioxidantsOats and postmenupausal women

Some people believe that oatmeal makes for a boring breakfast, if you are one of those please think again. This morning staple gets a major upgrade when you mix in with fruits, spices, and other flavors. Here are some ideas for you to try out…

Cinnamon Banana Oatmeal
Adding a banana to your oatmeal will not only add natural sweetness but it will also provide more nutrients and fiber. To prepare it, just add some slice banana and ½ teaspoon of cinnamon to your oatmeal.

cinnamon banana oatmeal

Overnight Oats
Overnight oats are a nutritious and tasty option if you are not a morning person and do not feel like making breakfast in the morning. It’s also a good alternative for warm weather. To prepare it, combine in a mason jar or bowl ½ cup rolled oats, 1 cup of milk, 1 tsp of chia seeds, and ¼ tsp of cinnamon. Leave it in the refrigerator overnight and enjoy cold the next morning. Add your favorite fruit for a sugary flavor.

overnight oats

Baked Oatmeal
If you are not a fan of oatmeal because of its texture, try baking it instead. It will taste like a mix between a chewy snack bar and a creamy bowl of oats. To prepare it, preheat oven to 375F. In a bowl combine, 2 cups of uncooked oats, 1/3 cups of raisins, 1 tablespoon of chopped walnuts, and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. In a separate bowl, combine 1 ½ cup of milk, ½ cup applesauce, 2 tablespoon of melted butter, and 1 large egg beaten. Add milk mixture to oat mixture and stir well. Pour mixture into a baking dish coating with cooking spray. Bake for 20 minutes.

baked oatmeal

Make sure you eat these nutrients if you want a better memory!

By: Jessica Tupa, UTSA Dietetics Student

The age-old saying, “we’re not getting any younger” definitely holds true for our memory over time. Because our society is one that is living longer, and more of us are staying in the workforce longer or returning to it after retirement age, we seek a higher quality of life than one that was the norm in the past. The way we eat and the nutrients in our foods can help strengthen our minds and memories so that we are getting the most out of our days. Here are some foods that can really help us to seize the day!

A good rule of thumb is to keep in mind that what is good for your heart is also good for your mind. Foods that promote blood flow will help keep your brain sharp. Nutrients that fall into this category are:

  • Omega-3 Fatty Acids
  • Vitamins B, C, D, and E
  • Lutein


Omega-3 Fatty Acids are a huge part of helping our brain function normally, and without them, we are at risk for illnesses such as dementia in the future. Good sources of Omega-3s are fish, particularly salmon, herring, tuna or sardines.  It is recommended to eat fish at least twice a week, but if that’s not your type of meal, try talking to your doctor about taking supplements like fish oil.



All of these vitamins have been linked to better brain function.  Vitamin B (thiamine) and Vitamin E actually make up parts of brain cells in our bodies, and they help our brain to send signals to each other or to the rest of our body. Vitamins B and C help to make energy in the brain, and vitamins C and E are powerful antioxidants. Some food sources of these are berries, avocados, green leafy vegetables, nuts, whole grains (like 100% whole wheat bread, for example), and lean meats.



Lutein is another nutrient you can find in egg yolks and avocados; it is very important in brain health and its function.  It also helps with eye health and works together with Omega-3’s to get your brain pumping!


You may already be eating a lot of these nutrients and not even know it!  You don’t have to get caught up in eating just one of these types of foods, as long as you try to eat a variety of them, you will be on a good path to keeping your brain healthy. Bon appetit!




Thankful for being a Meals on Wheels Intern

Hello Meals on Wheels community, my name is Jessica Kuhl.

This past semester I was given the opportunity to intern at Meals on Wheels San Antonio. I am a senior at Texas State University in San Marcos, TX and planning on graduating in May 2018 with a degree in nutrition.

My time spent at Meals on Wheels this semester was a great learning and growing opportunity and I am thankful for the time I was able to spend there. My time at Meals on Wheels was spent working in all aspects of the program. This included working in the kitchen putting together lunch trays and breakfast packs, personally delivering meals to seniors, working in the community engagement office to schedule and communicate with volunteers along with making maps, taking phone calls and helping with the Thanksgiving Day event.

Meals on Wheels San Antonio Thanksgiving Volunteers

I was also able to work under the Registered Dietician at Meals on Wheels, Rhaizza Velasquez Garcia, RD, LD, to write a blog post, give a presentation about healthy eating to senior citizens in the community, and sit in on menu planning meetings to understand all the factors that go into planning these meals.  This allowed me to see the resources and efforts a non-profit organization needs on a daily basis to deliver its mission.

Working with this organization has encouraged me to perhaps seek out a job in a non-profit organization after graduation because it is such a fulfilling job opportunity. Meals on Wheels affects so many seniors daily and is such a wonderful program to help others in need.

The time I spent interning at Meals on Wheels was a great experience and I learned more in this hands on environment then I would in any classroom. I enjoyed my time I was able to spend on Meals on Wheels and will definitely be coming back to volunteer again.

How to Eat Well with Tooth Loss

By Kristina Smith, DTR, Dietetic Volunteer

There are many things in life that we don’t appreciate until they’re gone. Let’s take our teeth for example: they are something that many take for granted especially since losing our teeth affects our life in more ways than one. It can alter our speech and smile, but more importantly it affects our eating. It is difficult to eat well with missing, loose, or rotten teeth, and pain when chewing can limit the amount and types of food we eat, particularly fruits, vegetables, whole grains,1 and steak.2 This can negatively impact our nutritional status and health.


Tooth loss is associated with, but not necessarily caused by, aging.1 Of adults aged 65-74 and 75 and over, 22 and 30% respectively, have lost all of their teeth, compared to 7% of adults aged 45-64. Partial or full dentures can replace natural teeth, but unfortunately even with dentures, chewing ability will not be same.1,2 Chewing with dentures is only 20% as effective when compared to chewing in individuals who have all their natural teeth.1 In addition, improperly fitted dentures can lead to mouth sores, which can further exacerbate chewing ability. The fit of the dentures can be altered by changes in body weight,2 therefore it is important to see your dentist regularly for denture adjustments, even if you no longer have any natural teeth.

Biting into corn on the cob or crunching into an apple can prove to be difficult with missing or loose front teeth or dentures. Foods that are especially difficult to chew without all of your natural teeth are “hard” fruits and vegetables such as apples, pineapple, jícama, and raw vegetables like carrots, celery, and broccoli. Nuts, seeds, popcorn, chips, pretzels, and hard taco shells are other examples. Food that is not chewed well enough can be a choking hazard and inhibit with proper digestion and absorption.

You can still consume most of the same foods if you have experienced tooth loss- all you have to do is think of ways to change the food to a softer form to minimize the need for biting and chewing. An obvious example would be to consume applesauce in place of apples, or you could boil apple slices until soft and serve them sprinkled with cinnamon for a stewed apple dish. A blender or food processor are tools that can come in handy, for instance you can blend pineapple into a fruit or vegetable smoothie.

Instead of whole nuts and seeds, they can be consumed in the form of a spread. Nowadays a variety of nut/seed butters (besides peanut butter) can be found in most grocery stores, such as almond and cashew butters and even sunflower seed butter. Corn can be enjoyed by slicing off the cob and/or making it into creamed corn. Raw vegetables can be steamed down until soft or added to soups. Opting for soft pretzels or homemade potato slices in place of chips. Foods can also be cut into smaller pieces or grated, or completely pureed depending on the severity of tooth loss.

Don’t let tooth loss rob you of the foods you used to enjoy. It just takes a little creativity and prep time to find a way to eat them again, and you deserve to be able to eat healthy. If you still have at least some of your natural teeth make sure to continue to care for them by having regular dental cleanings twice a year and following your dental professional’s recommendations. And remember, if you have dentures it is still important to visit the dentist even if you have lost all of your teeth to ensure that your dentures still fit correctly.

  1. Brown JE, Isaacs JS, Krinke UB, Lechtenberg E, Murtaugh MA, Sharbaugh C, et al. Nutrition through the life cycle. 4th ed. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth; 2011.
  2. Mahan LK, Escott-Stump S, Raymond JL. Krause’s food and the nutrition care process. 13th ed. St. Louis, MO: Saunders; 2011.

An Easy Way to Kick Start Your Day!

By Jessica Sloan, Dietetic Volunteer

Kick start your day the healthy way!

“Breakfast is the most important meal of the day” or so they say. But why is breakfast really important? Breakfast is key in helping meet the daily requirements for multiple nutrients. Breakfast kick starts the body in multiple ways, it helps with blood sugar control and helps give the body energy for the rest of the day. Breakfast also helps with satiety and controlling hunger for the rest of the day. Which in turn helps control body weight and BMI.

An easy way to make sure you eat breakfast is to plan ahead, and easy way to do have premade breakfast. Quinoa Breakfast Bites are a perfect option.

Quinoa Breakfast Bites Quinoa Breakfast Bites
2 cups of cooked quinoa
3 eggs
1cup mild shredded cheddar cheese
2 green onions
½ cup chopped spinach
1 cup cooked ground turkey sausage

1. Preheat oven to 350degrees
2. Spray a mini muffin tray with non-stick cooking spray
3. In large bowl mix all ingredients: eggs, cheese, onion, spinach, quinoa, sausage
4. Fill each mini muffin cup to the top of muffin cup
5. Bake for 17-20 minutes, the edges should become a golden brown
6. Allow to cool for a few minutes before taking out of cups

This recipe is great because multiple variations can be made with the same recipe. You could substitute zucchini for the spinach. Substitute ham or turkey bacon for the sausage. Changing out one or two items can give a whole new breakfast without making a whole new recipe.

These delicious breakfast bites can easily be frozen and then reheated in the microwave for 30 seconds.

Recipe from:

Share the love with us this holiday season!

Meals on Wheels San Antonio joins Meals on Wheels America and Subaru in Sharing the Love this Holiday Season


Subaru’s tenth annual Share the Love Event ® will help deliver nutritious meals and compassion to San Antonio’s seniors

Meals on Wheels San Antonio is proud to announce that it will be participating in the tenth annual Subaru Share the Love Event as a member of Meals on Wheels America – one of four national Share the Love charitable partners supported through the promotion. From November 16, 2017 to January 2, 2018, Subaru of America will donate $250 for every new Subaru vehicle sold or leased to the customer’s choice of participating charity.

“For the past ten years, Subaru of America has partnered alongside the Meals on Wheels network to deliver nutrition, companionship and comfort to our nation’s most vulnerable seniors,” said Ellie Hollander, President and CEO, Meals on Wheels America. “Since 2008, Subaru’s Share the Love Event has helped deliver more than 1.7 million meals to seniors served by Meals on Wheels. Funds raised through this year’s event will come at a critical time for the Meals on Wheels network, allowing our boots on the ground to deliver even more of these critically needed services.”

This year marks the automaker’s 50th Anniversary in the U.S. and, for the second year in a row, there will be no cap on the total donation from Subaru of America to its Share the Love charitable partners. At the culmination of this year, Subaru hopes to exceed a grand total of $115 million donated since the creation of Share the Love to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the event.

By purchasing or leasing a new Subaru during the Event and selecting Meals on Wheels America as your charity of choice, you can help deliver nutritious meals and other important services to your senior neighbors right here in San Antonio and Bexar County.

For more information, visit http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org/sharethelove.

About Meals on Wheels San Antonio
Meals on Wheels San Antonio and Grace Place Alzheimer’s Activity Centers began under the umbrella of Christian Senior Services, a 501 (c)(3). Since 1977 these organizations have served senior citizens of Bexar County. Combined, it is one of Bexar County’s largest non-profit organizations providing services to adults over the age of 55. Services include home meal delivery, companionship services for homebound seniors, and daytime care for seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia-related diseases. For more information on how you can volunteer or refer someone for services visit http://www.mowsatx.org.
About Meals on Wheels America
Meals on Wheels America is the oldest and largest national organization supporting the more than 5,000 community-based programs across the country that are dedicated to addressing senior isolation and hunger. This network exists in virtually every community in America and, along with more than two million staff and volunteers, delivers the nutritious meals, friendly visits and safety checks that enable America’s seniors to live nourished lives with independence and dignity. By providing funding, leadership, education, research and advocacy support, Meals on Wheels America empowers its local member programs to strengthen their communities, one senior at a time. For more information, or to find a Meals on Wheels provider near you, visit http://www.mealsonwheelsamerica.org.
About Subaru of America, Inc.
Subaru of America, Inc. (SOA) is a wholly owned subsidiary of Subaru Corporation of Japan. Headquartered at a zero-landfill office in Cherry Hill, N.J., the company markets and distributes Subaru vehicles, parts and accessories through a network of more than 620 retailers across the United States. All Subaru products are manufactured in zero-landfill production plants and Subaru of Indiana Automotive, Inc. is the only U.S. automobile production plant to be designated a backyard wildlife habitat by the National Wildlife Federation. SOA is guided by the Subaru Love Promise, which is the company’s vision to show love and respect to everyone, and to support its communities and customers nationwide. Over the past 20 years, SOA has donated more than $120 million to causes the Subaru family cares about, and its employees have logged more than 40,000 volunteer hours. As a company, Subaru believes it is important to do its part in making a positive impact in the world because it is the right thing to do.
For additional information visit media.subaru.com. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.




Four Tips for Diabetic-Friendly Eating

By Kristina Smith, DTR, Dietetic Volunteer

What comes to mind when you think of the term “diabetic diet”? I don’t know about you, but I don’t like the word “diet”. It sounds restrictive, unpleasant, and like something that I am tempted to break. I guess the American Diabetes Association thought so too, because they did away with the term in the early 90’s, recognizing that there is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to eating[i]. Although the term is still used, it is referencing a more flexible way of eating that is dependent on the individual and their eating behaviors.

Let’s review diabetes for a minute. Diabetes is a condition where your body either does not make any insulin (Type 1), or your body does not respond to the insulin that it does make (Type 2). Type 2 diabetes is more common, and the risk of developing it increases with age[ii], along with other factors. Certain racial groups are more prone to developing it than others such as African Americans, Native Americans/Alaskan Natives, Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, and Hispanics, particularly Mexican-Americans are disproportionately affected[iii].

Even if you don’t have diabetes, eating in a diabetic-friendly way is a healthy way of eating, anyway! This is because the key to eating a diabetic “diet” is knowing how to balance your foods. Now, carbohydrates are not bad- our bodies need carbohydrates, just not in large amounts. In fact, carbohydrates is the type of energy that our bodies can most easily use, and they fuel our everyday activities. Carbohydrates are what cause our blood sugar to rise. Everyone’s blood sugar rises after a meal, not just people with diabetes. The higher it rises the more our bodies have to work to bring it down, which can be stressful for our body. So what are some tricks to even things out? Here are some tips:

1. Eat carbs with fiber. This could mean eating your fruit with the skin on (unpeeled apples, pears, cucumbers), eat whole grains vs. refined grains (whole wheat bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta), or include other sources of fiber in your meals (beans, lentils). Why? The fiber slows and may decrease the absorption of the carbohydrate[iv], which leads to a lower peak in your blood sugar.


2. Add a source of fat to your carb. Examples: toast with a margarine spread, apple slices dipped in peanut butter, or adding avocado slices or a slather of mayo to your sandwich. The fat slows the absorption of the carbohydrate, (like fiber but in a different way), and keeps your blood sugar from shooting up.


3. Eat your carbs in moderation. Eating a reasonable amount of carbohydrates means the less work our bodies have to do to balance things out- plus it makes room for all the other nutritious foods you can include in your diet! Non-carb foods like: meats, meat substitutes, and non-starchy vegetables. Include these in your meals to feel more satisfied. Also, take time to enjoy your meal, and give your body time to realize it is full. Drink water during the course of eating, and you may come to find you’re not craving that extra serving of carbs anyways!


4. Exercise is the best pill. For those that are able to engage in it, physical activity helps to control our glucose levels better, and makes our bodies more sensitive to insulin[i]. Exercising after meals in particular has been shown to improve glucose control[ii].

Knowing that you are nourishing your body in a healthy and balanced way is a good feeling, and the satisfaction you get from it is better than any temporary “in the moment” indulgence. Don’t think of it as a diet, but as a permanent and healthy way of eating for you. When you view a food as off-limits, the more you think about it, and the more desirable it becomes. Instead, try to change your perspective and focus on what you do like from what is healthy to eat. This will help keep you from feeling deprived. For more ideas on diabetic meals, take a look at Meal on Wheels San Antonio’s Menu A which is diabetic-friendly and heart-healthy.

Photo Credit:
[i] Colberg SR, Sigal RJ, Fernhall B, et al. Exercise and Type 2 Diabetes: The American College of Sports Medicine and the American Diabetes Association: joint position statement executive summary. Diabetes Care. 2010;33(12):2692-2696. doi:10.2337/dc10-1548.
[ii] Erickson ML, Little JP, Gay JL, et al. Effects of postmeal exercise on postprandial glucose excursions in people with type 2 diabetes treated with add-on hypoglycemic agents. Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, vol. 126, 2017, pp. 240-247.
[i] Barrier, Phyllis M. “Goodbye to the `Diabetic Diet’.” Nation’s Business, vol. 82, no. 11, Nov. 1994, p. 86. EBSCOhost, search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=b9h&AN=9411073157&site=sbrc-live.
[ii] http://www.diabetes.org/are-you-at-risk/lower-your-risk/nonmodifiables.html#Age
[iii] https://www.minorityhealth.hhs.gov/omh/browse.aspx?lvl=3&lvlid=64
[iv] Stipanuk, Martha, and Marie Caudill. Biochemical, Physiological, and Molecular Aspects of Human Nutrition. 3rd ed., Saunders, 2013.