Nutrition Corner: Boost Dad’s nutrition this Father’s Day

June 16th, 2016 11:20 am

Happy Father’s Day! If you are a dad, or have an aging father, maybe today’s column will help boost his nutrition.

As we get older, it gets harder to feel energized to meet all the needs of our aging bodies. Planning, shopping and preparing meals that fit your budget can become a chore, and finding shortcuts is a must.

Potassium, calcium vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals and fiber become much more important as we get older, according to How can we plan to include more of these in our diets?

First, at the store, purchase fruits and vegetables that are highest in the nutrients you need. Potassium is high on the list. Soon we will be able to compare the amount of potassium in foods by reading the food’s label. But until that time, here are a few foods sources that are high in potassium: cantaloupe, nectarines, tomatoes and Swiss chard. Note I didn’t list bananas. Yes, they are high; however, it’s important to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.

Bread and desserts are the largest food group that contain the most sodium in our diets. Choose or make breads and desserts that are low in sodium. The sodium content is listed on the label. I was surprised by the amount of sodium in some mixes, especially pancake mix. Although you may only use it on occasion, make your own. It’s less sodium and less money.

Next, include foods fortified with vitamin B12 on your grocery list. B 12 is found in animal foods and fortified plant foods. It is not naturally found in plants. It is interesting to note that clams have 1,400 percent of our daily needs! Tuna fish has 42 eprcent and a cheeseburger with a bun has 35 percent.

Finally, purchase drinks that are low in calories and sugar. Water is the best choice. Add a slice of lemon or a sprig of mint to liven up your taste buds. Or try skim milk. It’s refreshing, rehydrates your body fast and you get more nutrients for your money.

If you are over the age of 50, follow these shopping tips to help meet your body’s needs as well as your wallet. Spend money on foods that boost your nutrition.

Here is a recipe for a mix that can be used to make pancakes, biscuits and muffins. It is 50 percent whole grain.

Better Baking Mix

Makes 9 cups of mix

4 cups all-purpose flour

4 cups quick rolled oats (or whole wheat flour)

1 1/3 cups non-fat dry milk

4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon salt

In a large mixing bowl, stir all ingredients until well mixed. Store in plastic container, or sealed heavy plastic bag. Label and date the container. Use within six months. Stir lightly before use in recipes. If you wish, you can omit the salt in the mix.


2 cups of Better Baking Mix

1 cup water

2 tablespoons canola oil

2 eggs (beaten)

Put all the ingredients in a bowl.

Stir just enough to moisten dry ingredients. Preheat skillet on medium-high heat. The skillet is ready when drops of water “dance” on the dry surface. Add a teaspoon of vegetable oil or use cooking oil spray. For each pancake, pour 3-4 tablespoons of batter onto hot skillet.

Cook slowly until the surface is covered with bubbles. Turn and cook until second side is lightly brown.

Nutrition Corner Mary R. Ehret Corner Mary R. Ehret

Mary Ehret is the Penn State Extension Nutrition Links Supervisor in Luzerne, Lackawanna, Monroe, Carbon, Sullivan and Bradford Counties. Reach her at 570-825-1701 or at