Diet Plan for Older Adults: Important Tips and Considerations

    Diet Plan for Older Adults: Important Tips and Considerations

    Eating nutritious foods is always a vital part of being healthy. However, the idea of healthy eating may change as you age. This is due to several reasons. For one, as you get older, your metabolism slows down, prompting the need for fewer calories than before. Additionally, you will need more of certain nutrients. Hence, how should you create an elderly daily diet plan?

    Things to Consider for an Elderly Daily Diet Plan

    Before you can plan a meal, consider the following changes in your body. Acknowledging these changes will give you a better avenue to make adjustments in your nutritional decisions.

    Slower metabolism

    According to reports, after the age of 40, your metabolism slows down yearly. That, together with the possibility of decreased physical activity should be taken into consideration when planning meals. Often, this means fewer calories on your plate.

    Changes in senses

    Aside from changes in hearing and sight, elderlies often have weakened taste buds. This means that you may be less sensitive to bitter and salty foods and may find the unnecessary need to add salt and other seasonings. For this reason, choose herbs, spices, and olive oil to season foods instead of salt which can lead to hypertension and its uncontrolled stages.

    Changes in digestive system

    The digestive system often slows down as you age. This typically means you will produce less saliva and stomach acid, making it difficult to digest and process some vitamins and minerals that are important for mental health and good circulation.

    Hence, in your elderly daily diet plan, consider adding more fiber and talk to your doctor about possible multivitamins supplement.

    Underlying health conditions

    And of course, older adults often suffer from some health conditions that may put restrictions on their diet. If you have a medical condition, be sure to talk to your doctor about your specific nutritional needs. There are several ready diets to help with your current needs, such as the diabetic diet, renal diet, and a low-cholesterol or low-purine diet, among others.

    Tips When Making an Elderly Daily Diet Plan

    Now that you know about the things to consider, here are some tips when creating a meal plan:

    • Add more fruits and vegetables. Aim for 2 to 3 servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Remember to consider the bright-colored fruits and the dark, leafy greens when preparing meals.
    • Don’t forget your calcium. For strong bones, older adults must consider adding calcium sources in their diet.
    • Vary your sources of proteins. As much as possible, stay away from processed protein sources, such as bacon and hotdogs. Try to get your proteins from red meat, eggs, fish, and beans.
    • Rely on good fats. Most older adults remove fats from their elderly daily diet plan, thinking that they are bad for their health. But there are good fats which must be added to your diet, such as the omega-3 fatty acids.
    • Choose whole grains. Instead of the typical white rice and flour which could raise the blood sugar level, try whole-grain products as carb sources.
    • Have more fiber. Over the age of 50, women are encouraged to have 21 grams of fiber while men need 30 grams. However, most older adults do not get even half of these requirements.

    Top 10 Foods for Seniors

    If you need ready suggestions on which foods to add in your diet, consider the following:

    Apples

    Apples have soluble fiber that could help in lowering down high cholesterol levels. On top of that, it could also help in managing blood sugar levels. It contains antioxidants and minerals like potassium and vitamin C.

    Berries

    Berries and other dark-skinned fruits are rich in antioxidants that help fight harmful free-radicals. Try to add strawberries, blackberries, oranges, cherries, and red grapes into your elderly daily diet plan.

    Eggs

    Eggs are a great source of protein and they are easy to include in many meals. One quick tip is to have grab-and-go hardboiled eggs in your fridge to eat as a snack or as ingredients to salads and sandwiches.

    Leafy greens

    One study showed that leafy greens like kale and spinach as well as broccoli are linked to “lower levels of cognitive decline” with aging.

    Asparagus

    Asparagus is packed with a lot of nutrients including fiber, vitamin A for better eyesight, and lycopene which could potentially protect men from prostate cancer.

    Shellfish

    Seafood like scallops, crabs, and oysters are rich in vitamins and minerals like iron, magnesium, vitamin B12, and potassium. These are beneficial for brain function.

    Cold-water fish

    Cold-water fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, and mackerel are great sources of omega-3 fatty acids. They are great for heart and brain health.

    Coffee

    Another great addition when you are making an elderly daily diet plan is coffee. Drinking coffee in considerable amounts, could be linked to the prevention of certain brain, heart, respiratory, and infectious diseases.

    Dark chocolate

    Did you know that dark chocolate has antioxidants? Aside from fighting free-radicals, experts also believe that these can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke.

    Greek yogurt

    Greek yogurt, in particular, is a great source of protein and calcium. But it is mostly renowned for its probiotic content that is good for digestion. Another good thing about it is it is low in sugar.

    elderly daily diet plan

    Foods to Avoid in an Elderly Daily Diet Plan

    After discussing the recommended foods, let us talk about what you must limit or avoid. Experts discourage older adults from consuming the following:

    • Unpasteurized drinks such as juice and milk as they may contain bacteria that may cause illnesses. Also, most pasteurized milk brands are fortified with many vitamins and minerals like vitamin D, so they are a better choice.
    • Raw seafood may have disease-causing bacteria.
    • Diet sodas, because even though they have fewer sugar and calories, they are still generally unhealthy.
    • Some brands of multigrain bread should be avoided because experts say they contain nothing more than white bread with preservatives and dyes to make them look healthier.

    Key Takeaways

    As you age, you need to make some adjustments to your nutritional and dietary needs. The bottom line of the elderly daily diet plan is to get nutrients from various sources. For this reason, many doctors emphasize the need for a bright-colored meal plate filled with lean protein, healthy carbs, good fats, and fruits and vegetables.

    Learn more about Healthy Aging here.

    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Regina Victoria Boyles, MD

    Pediatrics


    Written by Lorraine Bunag, R.N. · Updated Nov 16, 2022

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