There are two times in life when proper nutrition and active living have the biggest impact on quality of life – in our infancy and in our old age. As people age, our metabolism slows down and our bodies require more of certain types of nutrients. For seniors, healthy eating is a key part of maintaining an active lifestyle throughout life.
When pursuing proper eating, it is important to select diets that match your health needs as an individual as well as the general nutrition changes that occur as people age. So nutrition for seniors becomes very important.
My Plate Eating
The food pyramid was recently reconfigured by the USDA as a “plate.” You can find more about how to select proper types and amounts of foods at Choose My Plate. Proper nutrition starts with balanced food groups and always includes a rainbow of colors. Since different vitamins and minerals are found in colored substances, eat diverse colored foods to make certain you are receiving a diversity of nutrients and micronutrients.
The main types of diets people pursue include low fat, low carb, vegetarian, raw food, and regional diets. It’s important that seniors research any diet and discuss with a doctor any significant changes to eating habits before beginning a diet. Many diets, like Keto, a low carb diet, have scientifically verifiable benefits. But seniors need to be especially careful of the habits of “yo-yo dieting,” where an individual commits to a diet that is too difficult or costly to maintain long-term. If a diet is too difficult to maintain, people swing back and forth between different diets and do not develop healthy eating habits.
Resources for Further Information
Besides the Choose My Plate website listed above, Eat Right and the National Council on Aging both have excellent resources to help seniors think about and plan healthy nutrition. On the NCOA page there are several videos on how to budget for healthy living, how to make the right food choices at the store, and some innovative methods for creating healthy comfort foods. Their videos are essential to learning “how smart substitutions can turn guilty pleasures into healthful treats.”
Pacific Care Center and The Terrace Assisted Living Community plan and prepare meals and snacks that will offer our residents tasty choices with nutritious benefits. If you or your loved one has any questions regarding meal planning and proper nutrition, please call us at 636-271-4222.