Eating Well As We Age: Parmesan Crusted Walleye
As I approach age 40, I’ve noticed a progressive shift in my metabolism over the past decade. This has prompted me to dig a little deeper into what affects our metabolism as we age and what can be done about it in terms of what we eat.
Changes in hormone levels as we age, particularly in women, affect how we store fat as these hormones interplay with our insulin receptors which are one of the hormones responsible for deciding how and when to convert energy into fat. However, this doesn’t necessarily lead to weight gain. Activity level, eating habits, and muscle mass are all key players in a healthy metabolism and these are things that we can control to some degree.
There are few things we can control related to what we eat in order to keep weight gain at bay as we age. High quality nutrition results in increased energy and when you feel energized, more activity comes naturally. In addition to maintaining your activity level, maintaining a consistent blood sugar level also has a large effect on whether or not calories are used as energy or converted to fat.
Consuming enough fiber slows down digestion and regulates blood sugar. Proper regulation of blood sugar means less insulin response and therefore less stored fat. Adding nutritionally dense fiber-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables and legumes helps to regulate blood sugar and keep you feeling full longer. Reducing the amount of foods in your diet that create an increased insulin response, such as starches and grains, will also help stave off weight gain. If you do consume grains, focus on ones that have high fiber and a higher nutritional value like quinoa, amaranth and other whole grains rather than refined ones.
High nutrient value foods like vegetables and legumes combined with protein and healthy fats will provide your body with the necessary nutrient base to help keep muscle mass stable. Retaining muscle as we age is partially dependent on activity level and exercise while part of it is also due to getting enough protein in what you eat. Since protein is more thermogenic, it burns more calories digesting it as well as provides the building blocks to keep the muscle that you have. Fish, like walleye in the recipe below, combined with lentils is a great source of protein, fiber, and it contains healthy fats for a tasty meal combination.
Parmesan Crusted Walleye with Lentils
Calories 515, Protein 50g, Carbs 30g, Fat 26g
Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
- 4 walleye pike filets (about 12 oz, or use any other white fish, preferably wild caught)
- 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- Olive oil to oil the pan
- 1/2 cup lentils of any kind
- Water or bone broth to cook lentils according to package directions
- 1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped
- 1/4 cup Kalamata olives, chopped
- 15 basil leaves, chopped
- Sprinkle of lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine parmesan, almond flour, paprika, garlic, and pepper in a bowl. Set aside.
- In another bowl, beat the egg.
- Prepare a sheet pan by placing a wire cooling/baking rack inside of it and brush the wire rack with olive oil.
- Dip each walleye filet first in the egg, and then in the parmesan flour mixture so it’s coated on all sides.
- Place the filet on the wire rack that’s on the sheet pan. Repeat for the rest of the filets.
- Bake the fish about 20-25 minutes until it flakes easily with a fork.
- Meanwhile, bring lentils and broth or water to a boil and cook until liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes.
- Stir in the sundried tomatoes, olives, and basil. Season with the lemon juice salt and pepper to taste.