Healthy Eating Plans for Seniors
A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can help ward off potential health problems that are common in senior citizens, like constipation, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. Nutritious foods will also help you maintain a healthy weight and can work wonders for your energy level.
Even if you’ve never followed a nutrition-based diet before, healthy eating isn’t difficult. The National Institute on Aging suggests two options for seniors:
The USDA Food Guide MyPlate Plan. This plan offers tips for building a healthy, balanced diet, including:
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables.
- Make at least half your grains whole grains.
- Enjoy your food, but eat less.
- Compare sodium in foods like soup, bread, and frozen meals — and choose the foods with lower numbers.
The DASH Diet. The DASH eating plan includes all the key food groups, but is designed to help reduce blood pressure and emphasizes foods that are heart healthy. These are recommended daily serving amounts:
- Grains: 7 to 8 ounces
- Meat and beans: 6 ounces or less of chicken, meat, and fish plus 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds, and/or dried beans per week
- Milk: 2 to 3 cups
- Vegetables: 2 to 2.5 cups
- Fruit: 2 to 2.5 cups
- Oils: 2 teaspoons
There’s no question about it: Our bodies change as we age. In turn, seniors have very different nutritional needs than teenagers, children, and even middle-aged adults.