Q and A for The Healthy Seniors Cookbook with Marilyn McFarlane

1. Why write the book?
    I observed that the seniors I knew, especially those living alone, with increased age became less  interested in preparing healthful, balanced meals. My own mother, in her 80s, would just nibble on toast and tea or open a can of soup. I thought that a collection of simple, fast recipes in an easy-to-read format might help change that.

2. Where did the recipes come from?
    Several sources. Some I developed myself, using familiar dishes but substituting ingredients lower in fat and sugar (yogurt instead of sour cream, nonfat milk for making whipped topping, more vegetables). Some recipes came from seniors who shared their favorites: people in retirement homes, condos, in their own homes alone or with a spouse -- all had dishes they favored, usually based on familiar tastes. A few came from younger people sending recipes from their grandparents.

3. How do we know these are appropriate for seniors?
    Dietitians and a physician who specializes in geriatrics checked the recipes for nutritional value.
    Several tasters pronounced them flavorful.    
    Many elders don't care for much change in their diets; they like the foods they're used to. These recipes take that preference into account, as no cookbook is good if it's not used.

4. Why a menu?
    Menus are included to assist in creating balanced meals with variety.

5. Why 'helpful hints'?
    Challenges and life issues change with age. In addition to wise food choices, the book offers ideas and suggestions, gleaned from various publications, medical professionals, and dietitians, for keeping healthy and joyful into old age.

6. How did you get interested in cooking?
    On a tight budget, with four children, I learned early to prepare healthful, easy-to-fix meals from inexpensive ingredients. I found that packaged foods cost more, usually had less nutritive value, and were less flavorful than those I made myself. And so I learned to cook. Beyond that, I consider eating well, with enjoyment, one of life's great pleasures, to be appreciated at any age.  Preparing the food is part of the pleasure.

7. Why include grandparent/grandchild meals?
    Cooking together, messing about with food, is a wonderful activity to share with children. Not only is it fun and playful, it's nurturing and creates unforgettable memories of love. And you get to eat it.

8. What are your favorite recipes?
    Not sure; I have to think about that one.

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