How Seniors Can Eat Healthy

Nutritious Eating for Seniors

Eating healthy can be difficult no matter what your age, but by changing your lifestyle and indulging on rare occasions, a healthy lifestyle can have many benefits, especially for the elderly. Because of the health concerns with aging, it’s important for seniors to eat right, so that their bodies can prevent illnesses, fight infection, and handle the increased medication. Because our metabolism slows as we age, appetites change, and our bodies change, it may be difficult for the elderly to eat healthy, but with these simple tips on how seniors can eat healthy, they can get the nutrition that their bodies desperately need.

A Healthy Diet Includes Fruits and Vegetables

We all know the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, but this is crucial for seniors. Seniors who get the recommended servings of fruits and vegetables (4 ½ cups combined per day), are less likely to develop chronic illnesses, and by eating a variety of fruits and vegetables, seniors can get valuable nutrients like Vitamin C, Vitamin A, Potassium, Folate, and much more. These ingredients help sustain a healthy lifestyle and fight off illnesses before they start, and they’re also important to maintaining a working immune system. A good rule of thumb is to have 1 ½ cups of fruits and vegetables combined at each meal, which will add up to the recommended intake of 4 ½ cups per day. By doing this, you’re also ensuring that you’re filling up on foods with nutritional benefits, rather than food that can impact your health in a negative way.

Minimize Snacking to Stay Healthy

While it can be difficult or impossible to completely eliminate snacking, it’s important to minimize the unhealthy snacks that you have between meals. Rather than snacking on bad calories like chips, cookies, or candy, opt for healthy snacks like nuts, popcorn, granola, or dried fruit. While it’s ok to splurge once in a while on unhealthy snacks, that should be the exception rather than the norm. By snacking on low calorie snacks, you can curb your appetite and stay under the recommended calorie limit each day, allowing you to maintain a healthy weight, even if activity is limited. Some other things that can help you minimize the amount of snacks you need between meals include drinking plenty of water, minimize the amount of snacks that are easily accessible, brush your teeth when you have cravings, or concentrate on a hobby rather than thinking about food.

Have an Occasional Cheat Day

One of the worst things about dieting or opting for a healthy lifestyle is the feeling that you’re missing out, but health professionals are starting to realize the benefits of including a cheat day in your diet. While a cheat day shouldn’t completely undo the benefits of your healthy lifestyle, having one day every few weeks where you splurge a bit on your calories can be a great way to keep you motivated to stick to it. Whether it’s an extra serving of your favorite food, a larger than normal portion of a tasty dessert or satisfying your junk food craving, having a cheat day is great for seniors or adults of any age.

Choosing a healthy lifestyle can be a difficult adjustment, but by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, opting for healthy snacks, and sneaking in an occasional cheat day into diet plans, seniors can enjoy a healthy diet and lifestyle without feeling like they’re missing out. Once you make the switch to a healthy life style, you can enjoy the benefits of getting the nutrients your body needs,  a decreased likelihood of debilitating diseases, and often increased mobility.

Originally posted 2015-08-25 14:37:27.

Joyce Apperson

About Joyce Apperson

Joyce Apperson is a Registered Nurse and Geriatric Care Manager with 15 plus years of experience working with advocating for seniors. She is the founder and President of Caring Connection, Inc., which provides in-home care and geriatric care management in Harford County, Baltimore County and Cecil County in Maryland. Joyce currently serves on the Harford County Advisory Board on Aging. In addition to writing articles here for the Caring Connection's blog, Joyce has been a regular contributor on senior care topics to the County Gazette.