Health & Wellness > Diet & Nutrition

Healthy Eating Habits

Eating healthy is important at any age, but it becomes especially crucial as we get older. Proper nutrition can help seniors maintain their health, manage chronic conditions, and prevent illnesses. But with so much conflicting information out there, it can be hard to know what to eat and what to avoid. In this article, we’ll share some tips on healthy eating for retirees and seniors that are easy to follow and will make a big difference in your health and well-being.

Focus on nutrient-dense foods
As we age, our calorie needs decrease, but our nutrient needs remain the same or even increase. This means it's important to choose nutrient-dense foods that pack a lot of vitamins, minerals, and other important nutrients into each calorie. Examples of nutrient-dense foods include:

  • Fruits and vegetables: These should make up a large part of your diet. Aim for at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables per day, and choose a variety of colors to get a wide range of nutrients.
  • Whole grains: Choose whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole wheat bread instead of refined grains like white bread.
  • Lean protein: Choose lean protein sources such as fish, skinless chicken or turkey, beans, lentils, and tofu.
  • Healthy fats: Choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts, and avocados.

Avoid processed and sugary foods
Processed foods tend to be high in carbohydrates, salt, and sugar, which provide little nutrients and can lead to an increased risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and heart disease due to their high calorie content. Try to limit your intake of:

  • Sugary drinks:
    This includes soda, juice, and sports drinks, which are often high in sugar and calories.
  • Processed foods:
    These often are high in carbs, added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. Examples include frozen meals, packaged snacks like cookies, crackers, etc. Its a very good idea to read the label before you buy to ensure it is within your daily recommendated allowance. White Breads, cakes, pastries, pizza, rice and potatoes are all high in carbs which if eaten in the excess can contribute to developing diabetes, so try to limit those and read their labels to ensure your are not consuming more carbs than you should in a day.

Limit red meat
While red meat can be part of a healthy diet, it's important to limit your intake due to its high saturated fat content to help reduce clogged arteries which can lead to a heart attack.

Stay hydrated
Dehydration can be a common problem among seniors, and can lead to issues such as constipation, confusion, and kidney problems. Make sure to drink plenty of fluids throughout the day, and aim for at least 8 cups of water per day unless your doctor advises otherwise based on your medical condition.

Consider vitamin and mineral supplements
While it's best to get your nutrients from whole foods, some seniors may have trouble getting enough of certain vitamins and minerals through diet alone. Always talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian about whether you should consider taking supplements to avoid any conflicts with your medication.

Practice mindful eating
Eating mindfully means paying attention to your food and the experience of eating. This can help you eat more slowly, savor your food, and tune in to your body's hunger and fullness signals. To practice mindful eating, try:

  • Eating without distractions, such as the TV or phone.
  • Chewing your food slowly and thoroughly.
  • Noticing the flavors, textures, and smells of your food.
  • Paying attention to your hunger and fullness cues.

By following a diet, you can better maintain your health, manage chronic conditions, and help prevent illnesses. By focusing on nutrient-dense foods, limiting processed, high carbohydrate and sugary foods, and staying hydrated, you can set yourself up for a long and healthy life. If you have any questions or concerns about your diet, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian.

Useful Products

Here's a few useful products you might consider that may help you prepare healthy meals:

Food scale: A food scale is an essential tool for portion control and accurately tracking calorie intake. There are many affordable options available, such as the Greater Goods Food Scale on Amazon (paid link), a premium-quality digital scale that weighs up in ounches and up to 22 pounds.

Meal prep containers: Meal prep containers are a great way to plan ahead and ensure that you have healthy meals ready to go throughout the week. Look for containers that are BPA-free and microwave-safe, like the Enther Meal Prep Containers available on Amazon (paid link).

Nutrition tracking apps: There are many apps available that can help you track your food intake and monitor your macros. MyFitnessPal and Lose It! are two popular apps that are free to use and include a vast database of foods and nutrients.

Blood glucose monitors: For individuals with diabetes or those concerned about their blood sugar levels, a blood glucose monitor can be an essential tool. The Contour Next EZ Glucose Monitoring System on Amazon (paid link), is a popular option with seniors that is compatible with a free app for tracking and monitoring. Of course, check with your doctor to determine if this is right for your needs.

Low-carb cookbooks: For individuals looking to reduce their carb intake, a low-carb cookbook can provide plenty of inspiration and new recipe ideas. You might enjoy The Wholesome Yum Easy Keto Cookbook available on Amazon (paid link) by Maya Krampf. It is a very popular option and includes over 100 easy and delicious keto recipes.

Digital Smart Bathroom Scale: The RENPHO Smart Scale available on Amazon (paid link), for body weight, connects with fitness apps to help you monitor your progress. It measures 13 essential body measurements including weight, BMI, body fat percentage and muscle mass. It works with Samsung Health, MyFitnessPal, Fitbit, Google Fit, and Apple Health. The app is user-friendly and works with iPhone, Android and Apple Watch. It has high precision sensors and can support users up to 400lbs.


Retired couple making healthy meal Photo by Rh2010 / Adobe Stock

healthy salad on a plate Photo by Tinnakorn / Adobe Stock

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