Healthy Eating for Seniors – Getting Everything We Need

The hardest task for seniors trying to eat healthy is that their metabolism has decreased significantly, meaning that seniors require fewer calories than a younger adult. But with age also comes a lowered immune system and disease prevention becomes a greater concern. According to nutrition professionals, older adults and seniors require more calcium; zinc; vitamins D, B12, B6, C and E; fiber; and folate. So here is the challenge: fitting in more nutrients, working with fewer calories.

The following list are some changes that can be made to any diet. If healthy eating is a new path, try to incorporate just one new change every week. This will give you and your body time to adjust and adapt.

  • Drink 2-3 glasses of milk each day
  • Swap white bread and pasta for whole grain
  • Coffee cream for normal milk, or evaporated milk
  • Chop dark green vegetables into every cooked dish (spinach, kale, broccoli)
  • Start using a butter or margarine that is fortified with probiotics. Also decrease consumption of butter or margarine!
  • Eat a favorite fruit for dessert – even if it’s cooked to has chocolate on it, it still counts
  • Colour your plate – avoid bland coloured meals, always add a variety of fruits and vegetables. Never eat a meal without a serving of F&V!
  • Instead of cookies, try fortified digestive biscuits, or homemade oatmeal cookies.
  • Use rice instead of pasta
  • Banish hard alcohol, and drink one glass of red wine instead
  • When making soups, use low sodium tomato juice instead of water
  • Frozen yogurt with fruit instead of ice cream
  • Eating lean meat – such as ground turkey where you would use ground beef – will decrease cholesterol while maintaining iron that is needed
  • Cook with garlic and onion to boost immune function

Even with all these changes, seniors are usually recommended to use nutritional supplements. Talk with a doctor or a nutritionist to find out what you need.

This list of changes is in no way exhaustive – I am always looking for new suggestions on improving diet. What are your favorite ways to add nutrients to your diet?