Healthy Eating after 50

 

Food and Drug Administration logoGood nutrition is recommended at all ages, but as you get older, healthy eating becomes even more important. For adults who are 50 or older, a proper diet can give you the energy you need to stay active while helping you to stay mentally sharp. Good nutrition is also essential for avoiding chronic health problems and maintaining optimal immune system function.

As you age, your body will go through a variety of changes that will also affect your diet. Once you’ve reached 40 years of age, your metabolism will begin to slow, so you may find yourself gaining weight. Digestion also slows, so it might be harder for your body to process certain nutrients, especially folic acid and vitamins B6 and B12, all of which are necessary to maintain good circulation, a keen memory, and mental alertness. By using some simple tips to make your meals more nutritious, you can enjoy a long and healthy life.

Breakfast

As you age, you may take extra precautions to keep yourself safe and healthy, such as investing in senior alerts or life alert systems, but senior health and wellness begins with what you eat. When choosing your breakfast, always look for food items that will give you the energy you need to power through your day. Protein, colorful fruit, and breads that are high in fiber are great choices. If cereal is your breakfast food of choice, you can add some fiber to your diet by choosing a whole grain option, and simply switching out your Corn Flakes for Bran Flakes can provide you with about six extra grams of fiber.

Just because your breakfast is healthy doesn’t mean it has to be boring, and there are several things that you can do to make a healthy breakfast more interesting. If you have a bowl of oatmeal, dress it up with honey, walnuts, or cherries. Instead of plain eggs, create an omelet packed full of your favorite vegetables. Japanese food culture recommends putting five different colors on your plate, and breakfast is a great meal to employ this rule.

Lunch

After a long morning of working, volunteering, or watching your grandchildren, your body needs to recharge. Lunch can help you to do this while providing your body with fuel to get through your afternoon activities. If you are choosing meat, make sure that you are selecting lean options, and always include vegetables or fruits to make sure you are getting nutrients from different areas of the food pyramid.

Dinner

Dinner is a great way to end your day on a healthy and wholesome note. Start your dinner with a salad, and liven it up by adding black beans, peas, kidney beans, seeds, or nuts. Also work hard to ensure your meal consists of a good protein source, but instead of simply relying on red meat, change up your diet to include fish, eggs, beans, and low-fat cheese and milk.

Along with being a good protein source, milk and cheese with dinner can also help you to maintain your bone health as you age. Older adults will need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium per day, and while dairy products are the most well-known of sources, you can also get your calcium by eating almonds, kale, broccoli, and tofu. If you find it difficult to get enough calcium each day, consider adding a supplement to your diet.

Snacks

Despite what you may believe, most nutritionists actually recommend that people snack throughout the day. However, it is important that you are making good food choices for your snacks. While you may be tempted to open up a bag of chips or to grab a candy bar at your local grocery store, fruit, almonds, and raisins are better choices. Other smart snacks include vegetables with humus, apples with peanut butter, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

Snacks are also a great time to ensure that you are getting enough water throughout the day. Many people are prone to dehydration as they age, as the body may lose some of its ability to regulate fluid levels. Make sure that you are sipping on water throughout the day so that you can avoid constipation, disorientation, and urinary tract infections.