Good nutrition is one of the building blocks of a healthy and active life no matter your age. Having a responsible approach to taking care of what you eat and drink, and the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to get more informed about the products they eat and how to go about when creating a balanced diet. What is different with seniors though, is that as their bodies go through physical changes as they age, their diet needs to be changed accordingly as well. One example of this is when seniors want to maintain their weight, a change in their metabolism will have a major impact on their diet.
It is important to note that when maintaining a healthy diet, healthy fads and super foods are not to most important thing. There are some other lifestyle and diet decisions that seniors need to make in order to improve their well-being. Bellow, we will list and explain some of them.
Skipping meals is not good
In one of their articles, the Huffington Post pointed out that people are mistaken if they think skipping meals is fine, even when it comes to lowered appetite (seniors often experience this as they age). The reality of the situation is that, as a senior, skipping meals for any period of time is not a smart thing to do. If you don’t feel like having a big breakfast in the morning, at least try to eat some oatmeal or fruit in order to have a healthy start of the day. This is the same for any other meal during the day or night. Remember that even though you might not feel very hungry, you should at least have a snack, as eating helps with fatigue and avoiding ling-term lack of nutrition.
It’s never too late to start drinking more water, and since dehydration is one of the biggest issues for seniors, this is a relatively easy one to overcome. However, as it is with appetite, seniors sometimes struggle with thirst as well, as they don’t feel the need to drink more water as they did back when they were younger. There are a couple of solutions to this problem. One of them is substituting your more commonly used beverages during meals like soda or tea with water. Another one is to always carry a bottle of water with you, since having a bottle of water nearby will make you drink more water and also remind you when you run out of it.
Try different ways of eating your favorite food
No matter how much you like a certain type of food, it can always become a bit stale over time. This, however, can be overcome by finding new ways of eating it. An example of this is instead of cooked vegetables, you can always try eating them raw with a bit of freshly squeezed lemon or balsamic vinegar to give it a bit of a kick. As far as fruit is concerned, smoothies are a delicious way of consuming fruits as well. The market is literally flooded with all kinds of smoothie makers that are simple to use, and the best part of using them is that you can try any combination you want, or even combine fruits and vegetables to make it even more healthy!
Consult a nutritionist
If you’re not nutrition-savvy, or you feel like you need some help when with better diet choices, don’t hesitate to talk to someone that’s more knowledgeable in this area, or consult a nutritionist. Talking to a professional can help you get a better understanding of which foods you need to eat more or less of, something that will surely help you lead a healthier lifestyle.
Cordialis Msora-Kasago, a spokesperson for the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics said that “registered dietitian nutritionists can help all consumers determine the lifestyle balance that provides our bodies with the nutrients we need and still eat the foods we enjoy the most.”
Get informed about senior nutrition
As we stated in the beginning of this article, dietary needs for seniors change with age. Seniors’ bodies require different kinds of foods in order to stay healthy, but their digestive functions are prone to changes as well. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics recommends the following areas of nutrition that seniors need to keep an eye on:
- Vitamin D and calcium – according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, in order to maintain bone health and density, seniors need higher amounts of calcium and vitamin D than younger people do. Recommended foods and drinks that include these are fat-free milk, fortified cereals, and multivitamin supplements, among others
- Fiber – this is of great importance for the digestive system, as it helps prevent constipation. Foods that include fibers and are recommended by the Academy include beans and peas, whole-grain bread, and some other products that are rich in fiber
- Healthy fats – Contrary to popular belief, fats aren’t the enemy, as long as you know which ones are beneficial to your health and which ones are not. Examples of bad fats include trans fats that be commonly found in junk food and processed foods, while good, healthy fats can be found in fish oils, nuts and seeds which include polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats, as these are completely safe to eat and you will greatly benefit from.
Contrary to popular, belief healthy and nutritious diet is not something that’s hard for seniors to achieve. You only need to be more mindful of the lifestyle and dietary choice you make on daily basis, and taking the necessary steps to improving the quality of the nutrients you take in through your diet.
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