Seniors and NutritionHealthy Aging | November 6, 2015
Why Seniors should be Concerned with Healthy Eating Habits
Getting the proper nutrition is important for all stages of our lives. What we eat affects not only how we feel, but how we look, too! As we age, it’s common for our eating habits to start to change, making it somewhat difficult to get the essential nutrients we need for our overall health. As our metabolisms begin to slow down, our activity levels drop off, resulting in the body needing fewer calories to function.
However, proper nutrition for seniors is a sure way to promote better health among the elderly. A well-balanced, healthy mix of foods can help reduce your risk for infections like the common cold or the flu, as well as lower your chance for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and much more!
Benefits of Nutrition for Older Adults
The benefits of proper nutrition for seniors include:
- Maintaining a healthy weight.
- Promoting higher energy levels.
- Aiding in digestion issues.
- Keeping all systems of the body functioning properly.
- Preventing illness and disease.
- Building better memory and mental capacity.
- Strengthening bones and teeth.
Promoting Healthy Eating Habits among Seniors
Even though your appetite might not be what it used to be, it’s still important to eat well in your older years. The better your eating habits, the better you’ll feel and the longer and stronger you’ll live! If your find you’re having difficulty getting the nutrition you need, here are a few ways to help:
- Prepare healthy snacks in advance. Prepackaged foods like chips or cookies are easy to reach for when you’re looking for something to hold you over until your next meal. However, avoid those empty calories by preparing healthy snacks you can easily grab. Chop up some veggies and portion them out into small plastic containers or baggies; take the same approach to fruits, nuts and whole grain crackers.
- Increase the nutrient in your meals, not the portion size. Seniors tend to have smaller appetites, so a plate heaped with food will most likely just go to waste. Instead, you can prepare soups or hot cereal with milk instead of water, or spread peanut butter on your toast instead of butter. You’ll get more nutrients without even realizing it!
- Set a regular schedule for eating. Humans are creatures of nature; our bodies thrive on routine. By eating at the same time each day, even just when snacking, you can help increase your appetite.
- Try something new. Stuck in a food rut? Don’t be afraid to try new foods and flavors! You can start by just adding different spices, sauces or marinades to your tried and true recipes.
- Treat yourself! Allowing yourself a treat every once in a while gives you something to look forward to and keeps you on the right track the rest of the time. Just avoid overindulging; a 200-calorie treat like dark chocolate for your sweet tooth or pretzels for your salty cravings are healthier ways to spoil yourself a bit.