It’s no secret that our nutritional needs change as we grow older. The foods and drinks that carried you healthfully into your golden years may need to be adjusted to accommodate your new needs. Generally-speaking, you’ll need less overall calories to maintain your healthy BMI.
Needs vary from older man to older woman, but we all experience changing needs as we age. Of course, it’s always important to talk with your doctor before any major change in dietary habits.
How To Fill Your Plate After 65
We all know that a healthy diet can help ward off chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers. But did you know that how you eat also affects your mental and emotional health and can improve your relationships? It’s true. Regularly connecting with other people over food can be a therapeutic experience that helps stave off feelings of isolation and loneliness.
There are some general guidelines to help you make good choices when it comes to the food on your plate every day:
- Variety. Eat a good variety of colors and food groups and be sure to vary your selections within each food group. For example, don’t always choose beef. Mix it up with fish, chicken, turkey, pork, and other varieties that have other benefits to offer.
- Water. Drink like a fish. As we age, our bodies naturally decrease our thirst cues, so it’s important to make drinking water a habit so you’re doing it thoughtlessly rather than only when you’re feeling thirsty.
- Limit processed foods. Anything that comes pre-packaged should be enjoyed in limited moderation (if at all). It’s best to choose fresh, whole foods whenever possible.
- Limit added salt. Any foods and drinks containing added sodium are best avoided, when possible. If you must salt your food, reach for the healthier Himalayan Pink salt or natural sea salt.
- Say no to added sugar. Sugar is the villain of every food-related story. It’s destructive, yet addictive and adds a desirable flavor to nearly any dish. It is difficult to find pre-packaged foods of all kinds without the additional sugars. It seems it’s hiding everywhere. Always check your labels before consuming (even those products that claim to be “all-natural, organic” items)
- Limit alcohol. Don’t partake in any more than two standard drinks per day to maintain optimal health.
Many seniors struggle with budget, time, or recipes for large families.
If you’re on a strict budget, just do what you can to make your food choices good. Look for fast and easy recipes for only one or two people and/or make large batches and freeze several portions for quick and easy meals later.
Another tip is to exercise caution with your teeth. As we age, we need softer foods that won’t damage our teeth or cause pain in sensitive gums.
Fall in love with cooking. It can be therapeutic to cook for yourself and can work up an appetite for the foods you’re cooking. You’ll know all the ingredients and can save extra portions for future meals and save yourself a bundle. Just be sure you’re following safe food preparation guidelines.
Take a quality multivitamin. Those made from whole foods are typically able to be better absorbed into your body, but any reputable brand will do the trick.
Make friends with fish. Whether you love eating seafood or not, you can reap great health benefits from consuming fish regularly in your diet. Twice a week is the recommended consumption guideline.
Healthy Eating Resources
You should always talk to your doctor first if you have concerns about your diet.
Caregivers, family, and friends can help you stay accountable to your healthy eating goals, as well, so lean on them for support when you need it.