As our bodies change with age, so do our nutritional needs and priorities. Appetites might decrease as a result of less physical activity, as a side effect of medication, or even simply from living in isolation.
Eating a balanced, nutrient-rich diet is important at any age, as it contributes to maintaining physical and cognitive health. The best approach to healthy eating is to eat from all basic food groups (grains, vegetables, fruits, quality protein, and dairy) and limit saturated fat, trans fat, cholesterol, added sugars, and salt.
In addition to choosing whole, balanced foods, the tips below address the unique nutritional needs of seniors.
- Cut sugar intake—choose water instead of sugary drinks and fruit for dessert.
- Use spices and herbs instead of salt to add flavor to your meals. Choose low-sodium or reduced-salt options when available.
- Eat foods high in levels of vitamin B12, such as fortified cereal, lean meat, or some types of fish.
- Choose foods rich in dietary fiber to avoid constipation.
- Pay attention to serving sizes and calories to make sure that you are eating the right amount of food and meeting daily recommended values of nutrients.
- Drink plenty of low-fat or fat-free milk for vitamin D.
March is National Nutrition Month, making it a great time to focus on mindful eating and making healthy choices.
Changing your eating habits is more than just a quick-fix diet, it’s a lifestyle change. Start small—take the salt shaker off of your table, switch to whole-grain bread, or pick up a few more fruits and vegetables on your next shopping trip.
Effective changes don’t have to be expensive or complicated, and can make all the difference in your quality of life.