Overcoming nutrition barriers: Get your nutritional needs met

Are there barriers to getting your nutritinal needs met?

There are a variety of reasons why nutritional needs are not met: changes in income, lack of desire to cook or eat, chronic illness, physical limitations and medications to name just a few. While all of these reasons are certainly valid, they don’t need to be a barrier to getting the nutrition you need to be as healthy as possible.

If chewing is difficult, avoid raw fruits and vegetables and try frozen, canned or fruit and vegetable juices. Meat can be difficult to chew, so instead of compromising the protein in your daily diet, try ground meat, fish, hummus, tofu, eggs or peanut butter.

Stomach upset can be a barrier to getting the nutrition you need. Activities that may help your stomach upset include eating smaller meals more often during the day. Staying away from carbonated beverages may also help. For foods that may cause gas and bloating, like cabbage and broccoli, switch to less stomach upsetting vegetables like green beans and carrots. You still need the nutrition vegetables provide, so make sure you find alternatives. Discuss stomach discomfort with your family doctor.

Is the lack of money stopping you from getting the nutrients you need each day? Scan flyers for sale items, use coupons, cut back on meat (one of the more expensive food items) and eat more beans. Plan ahead to help stretch food dollars; plan a menu, check your cupboards, make a grocery list and stick to it. If you are a senior, visit a senior meal site, visit a food pantry and contact your local Department of Human Services to see if you qualify for food assistance.

Physical limitations can make shopping for food difficult; ask if your local food store will deliver. Also keep in mind that your community may have volunteers who perform this duty and you may find out by calling a volunteer organization or a church.

Don’t feel like cooking or eating? The lack of desire can come from different places. Do you need to try new recipes? Could your favorite recipe use a new twist? Are you depressed? Depression can cause a lack of desire to eat. A trip to your family doctor can turn this around so your overall health isn’t compromised.

There are various reasons for being unable to get the nutrition you need, it may be a temporary reason or a “rest of your life” type of change. Working around any of these barriers is a challenge; seek assistance if needed and don’t let your health be compromised. Work to break down the barriers to be the healthiest you can be. 

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