Whether you’re a spry silver fox or a radiant golden gal, protein is your secret weapon to staying strong and healthy as you age. By making sure you incorporate some of the best sources of protein for older adults into your day, you’ll be helping your muscles, brain & everything in between to function their best. Keep reading to learn why it’s essential for seniors & how to easily boost your protein intake.
What is protein and where does it come from?
First things first, let’s talk about what protein actually is. Protein is like the building blocks of life, made up of amino acids that your body needs to repair tissues and create enzymes and hormones. Now, where can you find this magical nutrient? Well, protein can be found in both animal and plant-based foods. From beef to beans, it’s all there, waiting to fuel your body.
Why is protein important for seniors?
Protein is like the MVP of nutrients, especially for seniors! As we age, our bodies may not absorb nutrients as efficiently, and muscles can naturally decline. Protein comes to the rescue by helping to maintain muscle mass, keeping your bones strong, and supporting a robust immune system. It’s like a superhero swooping in to keep you feeling youthful and vibrant!
How much protein do older adults need?
Alright, let’s talk numbers. While protein needs can vary based on individual factors, a general rule of thumb is that older adults should aim for about 1 to 1.2 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day. Don’t fret over doing complicated math; simply focus on incorporating protein-rich foods into your meals and snacks throughout the day.
Should seniors use protein powders?
Protein powders can be a convenient way to boost your protein intake, but they’re not a must. Whole foods should always be your go-to protein source, as they come packed with other nutrients and fibers your body loves. However, if you find it hard to meet your protein needs through food alone, a protein powder can be a helpful supplement. Just make sure to choose a high-quality one without excessive additives or sugars.
Do foods with “protein added” make a difference?
You might have noticed foods with “protein added” popping up on supermarket shelves. While they can provide an extra protein punch, it’s crucial to check the overall nutrition of these products. Some processed foods with added protein may also be loaded with unhealthy ingredients like added sugars and unhealthy fats. As always, focus on whole, natural sources of protein first, and sprinkle these fortified options in as occasional treats.
Best overall sources of protein for older adults
Not only is this fatty fish delicious, but it’s also packed with omega-3 fatty acids that are fantastic for brain health.
2. Greek Yogurt
Creamy and tangy, Greek yogurt is high in protein and calcium to support bone health.
Versatile and protein-rich, eggs are a classic favorite for a reason. Plus, they’re a breeze to prepare!
Lean and delicious, chicken is a staple protein source that can be enjoyed in countless ways.
This grain-like seed is a complete protein and a fantastic alternative to traditional grains.
Best non-meat sources of protein for older adults
These little legumes are not only affordable but also rich in protein, fiber, and various vitamins and minerals.
Made from soybeans, tofu is a versatile protein source that can take on various flavors in your favorite dishes.
Snack time just got better! Almonds, peanuts, and cashews are brimming with protein and healthy fats.
Hummus lovers rejoice! Chickpeas are not only the base for this yummy spread but also a protein powerhouse.
Popeye knew what he was talking about! Spinach is a leafy green with a surprising protein content, perfect for salads or smoothies.
Tips For Seniors To Boost Protein Intake
Now that you know what are the best sources of protein for older adults, here are some tips to supercharge your protein intake. These simple tricks will have you feeling stronger and more energized than ever before.
Kickstart your day with a protein-rich breakfast
Try adding scrambled eggs, Greek yogurt, or a sprinkle of nuts and seeds to your morning routine. You’ll be ready to take on anything that comes your way!
Upgrade your snacks with protein
Swap sugary treats for protein bars, a handful of almonds, or some cottage cheese with fruit. Munching has never been this nutritious!
Add protein to your smoothies
Blend up a tasty protein smoothie by adding protein powder, spinach, almond milk, and some frozen berries. It’s a delicious and easy way to up your protein game.
Sneak extra protein into your favorite meals
It’s easy—toss chickpeas into your salads, sprink chia seeds on your oatmeal, or add tofu to your stir-fries. You won’t even notice the difference!
Make it a protein pair
Combine plant-based protein sources to create a complete protein meal. For example, rice and beans, peanut butter on whole-grain bread, or hummus with pita. It’s like a protein power duo!
Meal prep & cook in batches
Prepare protein-rich dishes in batches and freeze individual portions. This way, you’ll always have a protein-packed meal at hand, even on your busiest days.
Keep protein-rich snacks with you while you’re out and about
Whether it’s a protein bar, jerky, or a small container of Greek yogurt, having a portable option ensures you don’t miss out on protein when you’re away from home.
Keep sipping water throughout the day. Proper hydration supports your body’s ability to absorb nutrients, including protein, effectively.
How to nourish your body for health & longevity
With these tips in your protein playbook, you’re well on your way to nourishing your body with the goodness it deserves. It’s not about drastic changes; it’s the small, consistent steps that lead to a healthier, protein-packed lifestyle.
If you want some help eating healthy & making sure you’re getting all the right nutrients you need on a daily basis, check out the Better5 program “Eating For Longevity”—you’ll learn how to eat & you’ll get 3 x 7 day meal plans.
And always remember… protein isn’t just for bodybuilders; it’s for everyone, especially for our wise and wonderful older adults. So be sure to include the best sources of protein for older adults into your diet and enjoy a life full of strength and vitality. Stay healthy, stay happy!