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    Posted March 28, 2014 by
    Plano, Texas

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    The Legacy Willow Bend’s Chef and Director of Dining Services Share Advice About Making Healthy Choices

    By this time of year, many need some motivation to stick with their New Year’s resolutions to exercise or develop better eating habits. According to the American Heart Association, adults today consume an average of 300 calories more per day than they did in 1985. In fact, portion sizes have grown significantly over the last 40 years. Seniors at The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, embrace healthy eating, and the dining experts behind their five-star experience have some tips which can help everyone improve eating habits. From simple substitutions to limiting portion size to choosing lean protein, there are easy steps they take in the kitchen that the public can duplicate at home.

    “One of the most important factors for healthy eating is portion size,” said Jeff Rosenhoover, Executive Chef at The Legacy Willow Bend. “Many don’t think about it or want to think about it when enjoying a meal, but it is crucial to limit our overall food intake by consuming smaller amounts of food at any given time. You really have to be aware of how much food is on your plate and make a conscious decision to eat less before you even start a meal.”

    Rosenhoover has been working as the executive chef at The Legacy Willow Bend for about two years and has spent time in almost every area of the culinary industry from private restaurants to country clubs to casinos. He finds it most rewarding to serve seniors because he develops personal relationships with them and ensures the meals suit their dietary needs. He looks for opportunities to use healthier substitutions whenever possible, and he believes that everyone should consider those options as well.

    “We already use very little salt in the meals we provide at The Legacy Willow Bend, but we also offer low-sodium entrées every night on our menu and incorporate fresh herbs and garlic instead of salt,” explained Rosenhoover. “We also use vinegars and various citrus juices and blends to give the food even more flavor. Making a small change here or there can really make a difference.”

    Rosenhoover said that citrus combinations actually help open taste buds and allow for a truly better tasting experience. Mark Brown, Director of Dining Services at The Legacy Willow Bend for six years, mentioned how important those considerations are when preparing meals for seniors.

    “As we age, our sense of smell and taste diminishes. So Jeff and I offer a variety of fresh and bold flavors to give our members the best meals possible,” said Brown. “We use a rotational menu to ensure fresh vegetables and fruits are always an integral part of the meals. We encourage members to make the best choices at meals and when having a snack.”

    Brown also stresses the importance of watching sugar intake at any age. Instead of having an eight-ounce glass of orange juice with the added sugar and calories – just have an actual orange. Even when choosing wheat bread instead of white, be aware of starchy carbohydrates that can add up quickly. In addition, he understands how difficult it often is to let go of desserts, so he provides sugar-free desserts every night at the community. That is one way to satisfy a sweet tooth without overindulging. Plus, he suggests using smaller plates which aids in reducing food portions during meal periods.

    “It is difficult but necessary to alter our diets as we age,” admits Brown. “For most of us, when we are young we could it eat whatever and whenever we wanted because we had the ability to burn off the calories. As we age, our metabolism and cardio vascular activities change. Therefore, it is necessary to adjust our diets and eating styles. Developing healthy habits is a way of life, and it requires a conscious effort on a daily basis.”

    “We are always ready to go the extra mile and not only meet, but exceed, the needs of our community members here,” said Rosenhoover. “We provide a range of meal options for them and help educate them about the importance of eating right and exercising regularly to prevent health problems down the road. We want the seniors at The Legacy Willow Bend and the public to live the fullest, best lives possible, and adopting healthy eating habits is a critical way to achieve that goal.”

    The Legacy Willow Bend, Plano’s first and only life care retirement community, is situated on a 28-acre site at Spring Creek Parkway between Preston Road and Ohio Drive. The Legacy Willow Bend offers resort-style services and amenities for active, independent seniors, as well as all levels of health care services on-site. The community features 103 independent living apartment homes, 12 custom independent living villas, 40 assisted living apartment homes, 18 memory support suites, and 60 private skilled healthcare suites.

    The Legacy Willow Bend is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit retirement community owned by parent company, The Legacy Senior Communities, Inc. The Legacy Willow Bend, the only Jewish-sponsored life care retirement community in Texas, is open to people of all faiths. For information, call (972) 468-6208, or visit www.thelegacyWB.org.
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