SHERIDAN — Doing a lot of things is better when you have a buddy to do it with. Whether you are walking, exercising, enjoying activities or the outdoors, doing it with a buddy is always more enjoyable.
But have you thought of teaming up with a buddy in your nutrition? Having a “running buddy” is a great way to help you stay on track with dietary goals at any age.
When she was diagnosed with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), Bethany Hunter discovered an unexpected partner when she had to change her diet: it was the meals team at the Sheridan Senior Center.
Hunter did not have GERD when she began home-delivered meals for seniors from the center 16 years ago. Some years later, a gastroenterologist diagnosed Hunter with GERD, a disease where food from the stomach leaks backward up into the tube from the stomach to the mouth, the esophagus. The sensation of heartburn is a common symptom.
Hunter had to change what she ate.
“I’m very conscious what I put in my body,” said Hunter. “I stay away from fatty foods.”
Hunter switched from whole milk to skim milk and eliminated citrus among other changes she made to her diet.
The Sheridan Senior Center can adapt to many special dietary needs for those who are 60 and older. Hunter found that the Senior Center’s kitchen team was easy to work with in adapting to her new dietary requirements.
“The (Senior Center) kitchen has my diet, what I can have and what I can’t,” said Hunter.
She has requested from them that no synthetic foods or canned fruit in her home delivered meals.
“Canned fruit is high in sugar,” said Hunter, who strives to incorporate only fresh or frozen fruits into her diet.
“We know the dietary needs of all of our home delivered meals patrons,” said Holli Weber.
Weber assumed the position of the Senior Center’s home-delivered meals coordinator last December. Weber coordinates call-in requests for home-delivered meals and the volunteer schedules to deliver the meals. She also serves as the conduit for information from people served to the meals team in the kitchen. Team member Kim Wilson provides this service weekends and holidays and backs up Weber up during the week. Between these two ladies and the Senior Center meals team, meals are available from the Senior Center 365 days.
Although the age of 60 sounds young to many people, this is the age folks can participate in the Senior Center’s meals and other programs. There is a short registration process to get connected to Senior Center meals and other programs.
During registration, questions include dietary needs and special diets are identified at that time. A nutritional score is assessed. If the nutritional score is high, the assessment triggers an invitation to people for a free and private nutritional consultation with registered dietitian Georgia Boley at the center. The nutritional consultation is optional.
If adaptations to meals are needed, the information is passed on to the cooks on the kitchen team. If someone finds they need to make dietary changes later, they may contact the kitchen team about their needs.
“We have a sign that says that diabetic and celiac choices are available,” said Shawn Ulery, one of the cooks at the Senior Center. The sign is posted in the serving line at the dining room at 211 Smith St. “But we can make adjustments for low-sodium, lactose intolerant, and gluten sensitivity diets, too.”
Adaptations are made for home-delivered meals and for on-site dining at the center’s five meal sites in the county. However, those having meals from the Senior center away from the dining room at 211 Smith St. must make arrangements in advance to have special meals sent to the county meal sites. All meals are prepared in the Senior Center’s kitchen on Smith Street and are transported to satellite dining sites.
Hunter is pleased with the Senior Center being her nutritional running buddy.
“I’m happy,” she said.