It can be tough to make healthy food choices at any age, but it is especially important for adults over the age of 60 to make smart choices about what kind of diet they’re consuming. As we get older, our body’s dietary needs tend to change slightly, especially depending on one’s lifestyle.
Most Americans tend to get less active as they age, and as a result our bodies require fewer calories than they once did. For seniors that are trying to maintain their weight, or even shed a few pounds, it’s important to keep an eye on your caloric intake. Seniors that are more active can probably stand to maintain their normal caloric intake; just make sure that you’re managing to burn approximately the same amount of calories that you consume.
Sodium and Salty Foods
This is one I’m sure you’ve heard from the doctor before: Cut down on high sodium and salty foods! As delicious as salty snacks are, they can exacerbate health issues like heart disease and diabetes. Make sure to check nutrition facts labels on your favorite snacks to verify amounts of sodium. If your favorite snacks are super high in sodium, look to see if there is a low sodium version, or a similar option with less sodium.
Make Meals with Raw Foods
The healthiest options in the grocery store are raw or whole foods like produce, meat, poultry, and dairy. While it can be difficult to muster up the energy to cook every day, cooking is a great activity to keep your mind and body active while contributing to a healthier diet.
If you have trouble getting around the kitchen to cook effectively, it could be a good idea to look into an in-home senior care service, like Seniors Helping Seniors, to get an extra hand with regular household tasks like meal preparation.
Eat a Rainbow of Foods
In order to get all of the nutrients that you need to remain healthy and independent, you should strive to eat a meal that has a variety of colors. It may sound silly, but brightly colored foods like tomatoes, peppers, oranges, and blueberries are chock full of important nutrients.
Foods that are high in fiber and Vitamin D are essential for any diet, but especially important for seniors.
While you probably remember the USDA’s Food Pyramid as the gold standard for determining what makes a healthy meal, they’ve recently switched over to a slightly different model called MyPlate.
MyPlate shows you roughly what the proportions of your plate should look like in terms of meat, veggies, fruits, and grains. It can be a handy guide when planning out your meals for the week before grocery shopping to make sure you’ll have a little bit of each food group with each meal.
It can be easy to forget how important water is to a healthy diet. Try to drink water throughout the day in small amounts to keep your body hydrated. Drinking water can make you feel better and stay active for longer when doing any sort of activity. Keep sugary and alcoholic beverages to a minimum, you don’t have to cut them out of your diet entirely, but they should be a treat, not the norm.
Eating healthy isn’t hard if you know what to look for when picking out food. You don’t have to sacrifice any delicious meals, you might just have to tweak your recipes a little bit, or look for healthier alternative ingredients. The most important part to maintaining a healthy diet is to pay attention to what you eat, and try to use up all of the calories that you take in. If you have a hard time burning calories, try to take a short walk each night after dinner to help with digestion.