Using Greenspring's Online Nutritional Guide, Residents are Making Healthier Choices for their Heart

The retirement community in Springfield, Va. offers a program called 'My Nutrition' that helps residents track the nutritional values of their meals

 After the 2011 holiday season, Drs. Clint and Vickie Lambert decided they were going to be healthier in the new year; with both having a history of hypertension, their cardiologist suggested weight loss in order to minimize the use of multiple hypertension medicines.  On December 26, the two embarked on a highly customized meal plan with the help of a tool offered at Greenspring retirement community, where the two have lived for four years.  The tool called My Nutritionis an online resource which allows residents to view the nutritional value of each meal item served daily at the community's four restaurants.

 "The program is just another step forward in our efforts to provide healthier options for our residents," said Greenspring's Director of Dining Services, Burt Allman.  For instance, there are no menu items at Greenspring containing trans fat and there are options for vegans and vegetarians, as well as fruits, vegetables, and even desserts with no added sugar or salt.  Additionally, the program makes it simpler for those with certain food allergies to filter out menu items containing wheat, soy, shellfish, milk, eggs, tree nuts, and peanuts, as well as providing residents quick nutritional information that can be a guide for those closely monitoring their diets. Since starting their customized meal plan, Clint (67) has lost 24 lbs. and Vickie (68) has lost 15 lbs, and both have already been taken off some of their former hypertension medications.  The two typically try to maintain a daily caloric intake of approximately 1000 calories and still continue to eat three balanced meals a day.  In the end, they hope to lose 35-40 lbs each. "We rely on Greenspring's My Nutrition program mainly for dinner, where we are able to keep our evening meals at or below 400 calories," said Vickie.  An example of an evening meal for them might include a large tossed salad with lemon juice, salt, and pepper in place of dressing, baked salmon, and a large side of cabbage. They've almost entirely cut out sweets from their diets, but on occasion with have applesauce or yogurt at night to satisfy a sweet craving and almost always complete dinner with hot mint tea. They've also minimized their intake of wine, which they admit is difficult as wine club members. "We've also made significant behavioral changes, such as eating more slowly and not rushing off after a meal," said Clint. The couple does eat dinner at Greenspring every night of the week and visits each of the community's four restaurants during the week. "We also know that often times hunger may be a sign of dehydration, so we've been able to curb hunger by drinking water, iced tea, or hot tea," said Vickie.  As career nurses, both Clint and Vicki knew what the right choices were when it came to food, but just weren't practicing it. "The biggest change has been minimizing the quantity of food intake," said Clint.  "We were just eating too much." The two also ensure that they don't live a sedentary lifestyle.  Clint takes their dog, Sir Barkley, on two walks per day around the sprawling Greenspring campus and the two are regulars with Greenspring's Wii bowling club and Greenspring's archery club. "Of the three diets we've tried together, this one has been the easiest due to the availability of My Nutrition and the tools it offers," said Vickie.  "We are so much more knowledgeable about our intake now," said Clint.  On Sundays, Vickie organizes the next week's meals by using My Nutrition and they are able to make adjustments due to social engagements that crop up or a possible lunch out at Subway. "We know these changes are making our hearts healthier, lowering our hypertension, and also improving any musculoskeletal issues we may have experienced in the past," said Vickie.  "Most importantly, we just feel better every day," said Clint.  "We have more energy and just experience an overall feeling of wellness." The My Nutrition online resource can be accessed athttp://mynutrition.erickson.com/. About Greenspring:  Greenspring, one of 16 Erickson Living full-service retirement communities, is situated on a scenic 108-acre campus in Springfield, Virginia.  The community is home to 2000 residents, many of which reside in the 1405 independent living units. At Greenspring, a robust complement of resident programs and facilities promote an engaged, fulfilling lifestyle that is reflected in resident satisfaction levels that exceed the industry average.  Life at Greenspring offers a true sense of community and is an exciting alternative to the typical retirement community.  Additional information about Greenspring can be found at www.ericksonliving.com.