As we journey through our golden years, taking care of our nutritional needs becomes increasingly important. Good nutrition goes beyond supporting overall health to also help manage chronic conditions and boost quality of life. So let’s dive into nutrition for older adults and by the end you’ll have a better understanding of how your nutritional needs have changed along with a pdf with 7 days of healthy (and delicious!) meals all planned out with recipes and everything!
Nutrition For Older Adults: The Basics
You may have noticed that your energy levels have slowed down a bit. That means your body requires fewer calories than before. However, the exact amount can vary based on factors like gender, weight, height, and activity level. Women over 60 typically require between 1,600 and 2,000 calories per day to maintain their weight while most men over 60 need between 2,000 and 2,600. Be sure to talk to your doctor about what is the proper amount for you.
Nutrient Dense Foods
This doesn’t really change as you age. It’s always important no matter how young or old you are to fill your plate with delicious and nutrient-rich foods. Enjoy a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products to nourish your body and keep your taste buds satisfied.
It’s easy to forget to drink enough water, but staying hydrated is vital for your well-being. Aim for about 8 cups (64 ounces) of fluids each day to keep yourself refreshed and feeling your best.
Fiber Is Your Friend
Want to keep your digestion in check? Include fiber-rich foods in your meals. Think whole grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes, and nuts. They’ll keep things moving smoothly and promote a happy tummy.
Nutrients To Pay Special Attention To As An Older Adult
Here’s what you need to know about these vitamins, minerals & supplements:
Calcium and Vitamin D
Vitamin D and Calcium work together to protect your bones & keep them strong. But it’s important to remember that Vitamin D is what helps your body absorb Calcium. So in order to get the benefits of Calcium you need to make sure you’re also getting enough Vitamin D. Enjoy dairy products, fortified cereals, fatty fish, and soak up some sunlight to boost your vitamin D levels.
Vitamin B12 helps with red blood cell formation & nerve function. To absorb Vitamin B12, it has to be freed from the protein it is attached to. You can count on the acid in your stomach to do this. However, as you age your body doesn’t produce as much stomach acid which can lower the ability of your body to absorb Vitamin B12 (also using antacids & ulcer medications can also interfere with absorption). Look for sources like animal products, fortified foods, and consider a supplement if needed.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Looking to support your heart and brain health? Seek out omega-3 fatty acids. The most common ways to get omega-3 fatty acids are by eating fatty fish like salmon and sardines or adding walnuts, flaxseeds, and chia seeds to your meals.
You can help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of a stroke with potassium-rich foods. Snack on bananas, indulge in oranges, eat potatoes, spinach, and tomatoes—these are just some great sources of potassium.
15 Nutrition Tips for Seniors
Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to keeping your body & mind nourished as you age:
- Enjoy a colorful plate: Aim to include a variety of fruits and vegetables of different colors to ensure a wide range of essential vitamins and minerals in your diet.
- Get wholesome: Opt for whole grain bread, pasta, rice, and cereals to boost your fiber intake and support digestive health.
- Power up with lean proteins: Incorporate lean sources of protein such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, and tofu to support muscle strength and repair.
- Don’t forget calcium: Include calcium-rich foods like low-fat dairy products, fortified plant-based milk, and leafy greens to maintain bone health.
- Get enough vitamin D: Spend some time outdoors in the sunlight or consider a vitamin D supplement to support calcium absorption and maintain bone health.
- Hit the hydration station regularly: Drink enough fluids throughout the day, including water, herbal tea, and low-sugar beverages, to stay hydrated and support bodily functions.
- Small plates for big health wins: Simply be mindful of portion sizes to avoid overeating and maintain a healthy weight. Use smaller plates and bowls to help control portion sizes.
- Get sugar savvy: Limit added sugars by minimizing consumption of sugary drinks, desserts, and processed snacks. Opt for naturally sweet fruits as a healthier alternative.
- Embrace healthy fats: Include sources of healthy fats such as avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil to support heart health and brain function.
- Use your salt smarts: Watch your sodium intake by limiting the use of salt and choosing low-sodium options to help manage blood pressure levels and reduce the risk of cardiovascular issues.
- Stay active: Combine a balanced diet with regular physical activity to maintain muscle strength, bone density, and overall well-being.
- Avoid bone-density destroying foods: Learn more about what foods are bad for your bones here
- Practice mindful munching: Slow down during meals, savor each bite, and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Enjoy the sensory experience of eating.
- Stay social: Share meals with friends, family, or join community programs that offer social dining experiences to enhance enjoyment and make healthy eating a social event.
- Spice it up: Experiment with herbs, spices & seasoning to enhance the flavor of your meals instead of relying on excessive salt or unhealthy condiments.
- Mind your medications: Your medications may interact with certain nutrients. Be sure to chat with your healthcare professional or a registered dietitian about any potential interactions and adjust your diet or consider supplements if needed.
With so many things to keep in mind about how to eat as you get older, it can be easy to start feeling overwhelmed. But don’t worry—it really isn’t that hard. You can learn everything you need to know with the “Eating For Longevity” class (Click Or Tap Here) by one of Canada’s top Dieticians.
To make it even easier to eat healthy, don’t forget to download your 7 day meal plan PDF with nutrition for older adults, recipes & grocery lists—for free!
Free 7 Day Meal Plan PDF For Older Adults (Click or Tap To Download)
Now that you’ve got the basics of nutrition for older adults down and you’re armed with a pdf full of tasty meals, you can start eating your way to a longer, healthier & happier life. Bon appetit!