POSITIVELY 50+

Utah woman encourages older adults to cook healthy

Apr 29, 2022, 4:30 PM | Updated: Jun 10, 2022, 11:26 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — At 68, Utah woman Mary Crafts is at her healthiest – and she didn’t start her healthy eating journey until she was 50.

For Positively 50+, she wants older adults to know it’s not too late to break habits and start feeling your best.

“Mmmm don’t you love that sound, that sizzle?”

If you didn’t recognize Mary Crafts from a 13-year run on her KBYU cooking show, she might understand. At the time, she weighed well over 200 pounds, topping out at 280 pounds at age 50.

“I was headed down a road I did not want to go, and I made the decision then that I was going to change my lifestyle,” she said.

Mary Crafts had a popular cooking show on KBYU for 13 years. At the time, she weighed well over 200 pounds, topping out at 280 pounds at age 50. "I was headed down a road I did not want to go, and I made the decision then that I was going to change my lifestyle." Mary Crafts had a popular cooking show on KBYU for 13 years. At the time, she weighed well over 200 pounds, topping out at 280 pounds at age 50. "I was headed down a road I did not want to go, and I made the decision then that I was going to change my lifestyle."

Now, she’s 68 and she focuses on cooking healthy foods.

For older adults, she said it’s important to learn to break the habits of what used to be your definition of a well-rounded meal. Instead, focus on vegetables, lean proteins and healthy fats.

She tempted us with a few of her go-tos — using avocado oil in the pan and pre-chopped veggies to save time and energy.

To these stir-fried veggies, she adds boneless, skinless chicken breast, but encourages people to pick a protein they enjoy eating.

“All right, this is going to get loud for a second because I’m going to pour in the soy sauce,” Crafts said.

Once it’s done, she plates it up.

“You can see how beautiful those colors are, and it smells great, tastes great,” Crafts said.

Adding more veggies when she can.

“This is a great place to grab a few uncooked red peppers and just place them around the top,” she said.

Another staple for her is salmon.

“This is just a nice salmon fillet, and you can hear it start to sizzle already,” Crafts said.

Now at age 68, Mary Crafts is at her healthiest.

Again adding avocado oil and letting the pan get hot first so the fish doesn’t stick and the outside gets crispy.

While that goes, Crafts assembles the plate — loaded with spinach, toasted walnuts, and fresh bell pepper.

With the salmon done and on the plate, Crafts finds other ways to add flavor without the calories — sprinkling on chives and zesting a lemon.

With her healthy cooking, she has found what works for her — cutting down on refined sugar and gluten.

She says she’s noticed improvement in her arthritis, and the numbers at the doctor have improved, too.

“We’re talking about experimenting with new things, and that’s what healthy living is about. It’s letting go of those things that didn’t work for us before,” she said.

Another tip from Crafts: When she is craving something sweet, she says she has a mint or a piece of dark chocolate after dinner, rather than a big dessert.

AARP has a webinar on healthy eating over 50.

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Utah woman encourages older adults to cook healthy