You need a variety of healthy foods to feel your best and remain active as you age. But changes in our bodies and lifestyles can make that difficult.
Consider these tips on nutrition and healthy eating for seniors.
Nutrition Basics for Seniors
- Know how many calories you need. Due to a slower metabolism, some people need fewer calories as they age. The exact number of calories vary by age, gender and activity level. For example, sedentary women over 50 need about 1,600 calories a day while active men need at least 2,400.
- Avoid empty calories. The quickest way to slim down is to stop eating junk food. Skip the fast food restaurants and eat carrot sticks instead of potato chips.
- Focus on nutrient dense foods. Get most of your calories from veggies, fruits, and whole grains. They’re packed with fiber, which helps with your digestion. Nutrient dense foods can even reduce cholesterol and blood sugar.
- Select healthy fats. Maintain a healthy fat intake with an emphasis on monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat. Limit saturated fat from animals and trans fats from processed foods.
- Pick lean proteins. Get your protein from lean sources. Try to eat fish at least twice a week. Make a pot of three bean chili.
Practical Eating Strategies for Seniors
- Talk with your doctor. Your doctor can advise you on eating right and avoiding malnutrition. You may need a specific diet for conditions like diabetes or heart disease. Tell your doctor about medications that interfere with your diet. They may suggest ways to cope or change your prescription. You can also work with our caregiver team to help with meal & nutrition planning.
- See your dentist. Your dentist can also help you stay healthy. Dentures or good dental care will help you eat what you love because they keep your mouth healthy. If you’re sore, make sure to stick to soft food like yogurt drinks and soups.
- Detect food sensitivities. When you get older, you may start having problems with your favorite foods. Let your doctor know if you’re experiencing symptoms like diarrhea or nausea. If you suffer from lactose intolerance, try yogurt or almond milk instead of your regular milk.
- Outsmart your taste buds. You may not be as sensitive to salty, bitter, or spicy flavors as you once were, so experiment with spices to stimulate your appetite. Especially if you have a sweet tooth, chew sugar free gum.
- Drink more water. Getting older also lowers our sense of thirst, so drink water or decaffeinated tea all day long rather than waiting until you’re thirsty.
- 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.
- Dine with others. If you’re a senior, eating alone can lose its appeal. Join a social club or invite guests over. If your situation calls for it, companionship services may be a good option. Studies show we eat more when we’re sharing our meals.
- Practice food safety. If your immune system weakens with age, you’ve got to take extra care in the kitchen. Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Check expiration dates. When in doubt, toss it out.
- Access community services. There is help available for seniors with limited mobility or finances. Contact your local agency for services that can help you eat better. You can get meals delivered right to your door.
Eating a healthy diet plays a big role in staying young in old age.
To learn how Advance Choice Home Care can help with your Home Care needs, click here to contact us today.