As we age, paying closer attention to our nutrition becomes more important. Eating healthy and creating a senior diet plan will help provide your body with the right nutrients and maintaining a healthy weight will help you to stay active and remain independent.
Proper eating means less time visiting the doctor, especially if you suffer a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease.
What is considered healthy eating will change as we get older. Metabolism slows down and you will need fewer calories in your diet. You also require more of certain nutrients making it more important to choose foods with high nutritional value.
MyPlate is a graphic that shows the five food groups and what a serving of each should look like for a given meal. This is similar to the idea of the food pyramid but presented in simpler, easier to understand terms.
Types of Food
You need to eat a variety of foods to get the nutrients that your body needs. Your plate should look like a rainbow.
- Choose lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
- Fruits and vegetables that are bright in color (orange, red, green, and purple)
- Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
- Low-fat dairy (milk and its alternatives)
Keep in mind that you want foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium. Vitamin D is also important as we age. Read nutrition labels and try to eat mostly whole foods. If you are choosing packaged foods, find ones that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium.
Make sure you eat recommended serving sizes. You can find daily serving sizes on the American Heart Association website.
Remember to stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking lots of water. Fluids with sugar and salt should be kept to a minimum. Though water is the best choice, 100% fruit juice with no added sugar is fine in small quantities as well.
It is important to enjoy a variety of nutritious foods. Make eating fun by trying a new food every week. Look for fruits or vegetables you have never had and give it a try.
Senior Diet Plan
Planning ahead can help ensure you are getting the nutrients you need. You should be having three meals and one to three small snacks in a day. It is never a good idea to skip meals and as you age, skipping meals means you will not be getting the nutrients that you need.
Creating a senior diet plan will also make your shopping trips easier. You will know what you need and in what amounts so that you are not buying too much produce you can’t use up during the week and you will not have food spoiling before you get to it. It also helps in that you can look for bargains and stretch your budget while still buying nutritious, nutrient rich foods.
Some seniors find it challenging to eat properly when they are cooking for only one or two but had been accustomed to feeding a family. There are some social ways to get around this. Start a SOUPer club that rotates from house to house. The host can make a nutritious, homemade soup and the other guests can bring buns or salads to share.
Another way to enjoy cooking is to teach grandchildren to cook or bake if that is an option for you. Kids love learning how to make the family favorites. It is good quality time with grandchildren who will appreciate the lessons later in life.
In Home Care Services, located in California, offers meal preparation assistance. If you are looking for a way to remain independent in your home but require some help in this area take a look at their site. Along with meal preparation they also have programs in which they offer assistance with planning, grocery shopping, and even meal companionship.