Are You Eating Healthy as You Age?

Healthy eating can make a big difference in your health.
Older couple washing and chopping fresh vegetables.

As you age, healthy eating can make a big difference in your health.  It can improve how you feel and encourage a sense of well-being.  Eating healthy foods has many benefits for older adults. 

When you think about nutrition, remember that your body needs many different nutrients like potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals and dietary fiber, which can all be found in common foods. Reduce your risk of chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease by eating healthy.  Consider talking about what a healthy diet is with your physician or a registered dietitian.

Our daily eating habits change as our bodies get older.  Try making these small changes to enjoy food and beverages:

  • Add flavor to foods with spices and herbs instead of salt and look for low-sodium packaged foods.
  • Add sliced fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks. Look for pre-sliced fruits and vegetables on sale if slicing and chopping is difficult.
  • Ask your physician to suggest other options if your medicines affect your appetite.
  • Drink three cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day. If you cannot tolerate milk, try small amounts of yogurt, hard cheese or lactose-free foods.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks. It is recommended you drink eight 8-ounce glasses, which is about half a gallon. This is the 8×8 rule and is very easy to remember.
  • Eat foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals.  Vitamin B12 is also found in animal foods like fish, meat, poultry, eggs, milk and milk products, but not in plant foods.

Try to maintain a healthy body weight. Being physically active can help you stay strong and independent as you grow older. If you are overweight or obese, weight loss can improve your quality of life and reduce the risk of disease and disability. 

  • Adults need at least two and a half hours of moderate physical activity each week. Getting active at least three days a week is a good goal.
  • Find an activity that works for your fitness level. If you are not active, start by walking or riding a stationary bike. Aim for at least 10 minutes of exercise at a time.
  • Include activities that improve balance and reduce your risk of falling, such as lifting small weights.
  • Adopting an active lifestyle will make it easier to enjoy other activities such as shopping, playing a sport or gardening.
  • If you are not sure about your level of fitness, check with your physician before starting an exercise program.

Try this recipe for chili.

Pinto Bean Chili - Serves 2

Ingredients:

½ Tbsp. Canola Oil

½ cup onion

2 gloves of garlic minced

½ green pepper, chopped

½ cup tomatoes, diced, fresh or canned

½ cup tomato sauce

½ 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed

½ tsp chili powder

¼ tsp cumin

½ tsp oregano

Directions:

  1. Put Canola oil in a large non-stick skillet and heat over medium heat. While oil heats, chop the onion, garlic and green pepper.
  2. Sauté the onion and garlic until golden, about 1 minute. Add the green pepper and sauté one or 2 minutes.
  3. Add beans, tomatoes, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and bring to a boil. Simmer until onions and green peppers are tender, about 8 minutes.

Nutrition Facts Label for Pinto Bean Chili   Bowl of Pinto Bean Chili with cheese and fresh cilantro