It’s important to pay extra attention to how you eat as you age. For example, as one grows older, their metabolism significantly slows down, and they, therefore, need fewer calories than before. Your body will start needing more of certain nutrients. That means it’s even more important than ever to ensure that you choose foods that give your body the best nutritional value.
4 Tips for Picking Healthy Food as You Get Older
1. Understand what a healthy and balanced plate looks like.
Sure, you might remember the food pyramid, but the USDA in recent years unveiled a different way to help people see what exactly they should eat each day. It’s called MyPlate. This simple graphic exemplifies exactly how the five different food groups should be portioned out on your plate. They are the basic building blocks you need for a healthy diet.
2. Look out for essential nutrients.
Make it a point that you eat a variety of foods to get each and every nutrient you need. Your plate should resemble that of a rainbow; (naturally) different colored foods are guaranteed to be chock full of vitamins. A balanced meal should include:
- Lean protein (lean chicken, steak, seafood, eggs, beans)
- Fruits and vegetables (think green, orange, red, purple, etc.)
- Whole grains (brown rice, complete grains, whole-wheat pasta or bread)
- Low-fat dairy (milk and all other plant alternatives)
Don’t forget to eat foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium or salt (keeps you regular and helps avoid high blood pressure, respectively).
3. Don’t forget to read the Nutrition Facts label.
Generally speaking, the healthiest foods are whole foods. These are typically found in the produce, dairy, and meat sections of the grocery store (among a few others). When you do happen to eat packaged foods, be a smart shopper! Read the nutrition labels to find items that are lower in fat, sodium, and added sugars.
4. Be aware of the recommended servings.
To maintain a healthy weight, you must eat the appropriate amount of food for both your age and body. The American Heart Association provides the recommended daily servings for senior adults aged 60+.