A Senior's Guide to Good Nutrition 🍅 🥒 🍆 🥕
A Senior's Guide to Good Nutrition
Good nutrition is vital to feeling your best and remaining active as you age. It’s important to eat a variety of healthy foods, but changes in our bodies and lifestyles can make that difficult.
Consider these facts about nutrition for seniors and practical strategies for sticking to a healthy diet.
Nutrition Basics for Seniors
1. Know how many calories you need. Due to a slowing metabolism, most people
require fewer calories as they age. The exact number varies by age,
gender and activity level. For example, a sedentary woman over age 50 needs
about 1,600 calories a day while an active man may need at least 2,400.
2. Avoid empty calories. One of the
easiest ways to avoid extra pounds is to cut out junk food. Skip the fast food restaurants
and munch on carrot sticks instead of potato chips.
3. Focus on nutrient dense foods. Get most
of your calories from vegetables, fruits and whole grains. In addition to the
nutrients, they provide plenty of fiber which helps improve your digestion. Nutrient
dense foods may even help lower your cholesterol and blood sugar levels.
4. Select healthy fats. Keep eating fats
with an emphasis on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated versions. Limit
saturated fats that come from animals and trans fats found in many processed
5. Pick lean proteins. Get your protein
from lean sources. Try to eat fish at least twice a week. Make a pot of three
Practical Eating Strategies for Seniors
1. Talk with your doctor. Your doctor can
help you eat right and avoid malnutrition. You may need to follow a specific
diet to manage conditions like heart disease or diabetes. Ask your doctor if
you think a medication is interfering with your diet. Your doctor may suggest
ways to cope with it or change your prescription.
2. See your dentist. Your dentist can also help you stay healthy. Proper dental care
or dentures will help you eat the foods you love. If your mouth is temporarily
sore, stick to soft fare like yogurt drinks and soup.
3. Detect food sensitivities. As you age,
you may find that your favorite foods are creating new issues. Ask your doctor
to test you if you’re experiencing symptoms like diarrhea or gas. For
conditions like lactose intolerance, try yogurt or almond milk instead of your
4. Outsmart your taste buds. Even our
taste buds change as we age. If you have a more intense sweet tooth, try
satisfying it with sugar free gum. You may be less sensitive to salty and
bitter flavors, so experiment with spices to stimulate your appetite.
5. Drink more water. Our sense of thirst
also declines as we get older. Sip water or decaffeinated tea throughout the
day rather than waiting until you feel thirsty.
6. Cut back on salt. After the age of 51,
we only need about 2/3 of a teaspoon of salt a day. Go easy with the salt
shaker and opt for whole foods rather than processed items.
7. Dine with others. Seniors sometimes
lose interest in eating when it’s a solitary experience. Join a social club or
invite guests over. Studies show that we eat more when we share meals.
8. Practice food safety. If your immune
system weakens over the years, you need to take extra precautions in the
kitchen. Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Check expiration dates. When
in doubt, throw it out.
9. Access community services. There is
help available for seniors with limited mobility or finances. Contact
your local agency on aging for services that can help you eat better.
Meals on Wheels will deliver food right to your door.
Your senior years can be the best time of your life if you remain healthy and active. Eating a healthy diet plays a big role in aging well.