Healthy Living Monthly Theme March

Changing Nutritional Needs for Seniors

Eating healthy is important no matter your age. Proper nutrition is necessary for overall health, quality of life, and feeling great on the inside and the outside. As we get older, our bodies change in many ways, and it’s essential to adapt nutritional intake to account for these changes.

Physiological changes later in life can spur nutritional changes too. Energy and function are two main areas where we see the most significant decline. Energy usually decreases due to a constant and gradual decline in basal metabolic rate, decreasing the need for large amounts of calories.

The recommended daily nutrition for seniors, according to the USDA, is as follows:

    • 1 ½-2 ½ cups of fruits
    • 2- 3 ½ cups vegetables
    • 5-10 ounces grains
    • 5-7 ounces protein foods
    • 3 cups fat-free dairy foods
    • 5-8 teaspoons oils

Adequate nutrition helps older adults feel more energized for daily activities and ultimately healthier. A couple of critical nutrients to monitor in daily meals include:

Calcium and Vitamin D

  • Older adults need calcium and vitamin D to maintain bone health. Aim for three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products each day. Fortified cereals, fruit juices, dark green leafy vegetables, and fatty fish are great calcium and vitamin D sources.

Dietary Fiber

  • Eat lots of fiber-rich foods to help you stay regular. Fiber can also lower your risk for heart disease and Type 2 diabetes. Eating more whole-grain bread and cereals, beans, and peas are all ways to increase the amount of fiber in your diet.

As bodies change, they don’t function as well as they used to but, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your quality of life as you age. Eating healthy and adopting recommended nutritional guidelines is one sure way to keep you feeling young and energized.