Balancing the foods necessary for good health with the foods that bring pleasure (but not as many of the essential nutrients) is a lifelong challenge – one that increases in importance as you age. At Masonic Village, residents find support from staff as they look to eat not just what their body needs, but also what it wants.

No longer able to eat the way they did in their teens and twenties, many seniors – especially those with common health concerns that impact their diet – resign themselves to low-calorie, low-excitement dining, depriving themselves of what they really want.

Greg Thomas doesn’t think that’s any way to live. As the director of food services at Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Thomas believes “you should indulge every now and then.” His team’s menus offer “the best of both worlds,” including salads and a variety of meat entrees with appetizers he calls “indulgences” and desserts.

“If you want dessert, have half a serving instead of a whole,” he advises. “It’s all about moderation.”

Jamie Rosenshine, a wellness specialist at the Baird Wellness Center on campus, agrees.

“The piece of cake you eat at a family party isn’t going to impact you as much as the dessert you eat daily,” she said.

When Rosenshine provides nutritional consults for residents, her advice varies by case – but she recommends everyone examine their daily habits and make changes regarding fat, carbohydrate and sugar intake, if necessary.

“It is never too late to improve yourself,” she said.

Self-improvement brought resident Ann Miller to Rosenshine. After her consultation, she started taking magnesium supplements and cut out desserts – except for tapioca pudding, which she loves. She has already started to see results.

“My cholesterol was in the 300s, and now it’s down to 190,” Miller said.

With the appropriate guidance and the right amount of discipline, seniors can eat for nourishment and enjoyment.

Megan Hess

About the author: Megan Hess, a senior from Messiah College, is a public relations associate at Masonic Villages.