Updated: November 21, 2022
As we get older, our bodies don't function as they did when we were younger. This means that certain foods might affect us differently. For instance, some seniors find that their stomachs no longer produce enough acid to break down food properly.
Eating healthy is essential to living a long and healthy life, and it isn't always easy. The good news is that there are things we can do to improve our well-being.
How is nutrition for seniors different? What foods should you avoid? The answers to these questions vary from person to person and depend on factors such as lifestyle, health status, and preference.
You'll need to change your eating habits and diet to eat healthier. Here are some tips to help you achieve your goals.
Benefits of Eating Well as a Senior
Keeps your body healthy: Eating well as you get older is essential for many reasons, and one of the most important is that it can help keep your mind sharp and your body healthy.
Eating right is not just good for your health: it can also help keep you happy, upbeat, and ready for anything.
Better absorption of vitamins and minerals: Eating foods rich in vitamins A and C helps your body absorb more nutrients from food sources like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats (but not red meat).
More energy throughout the day: When you have a healthy diet full of whole grains and lean proteins (think lean meats like chicken), the amino acids from these foods can help boost your energy levels throughout the day.
Obstacles to Eating Well as a Senior and What To Do About It
If you're a senior, you've probably noticed that eating well can be difficult.
There are several obstacles to eating well, including:
Lack of appetite
Laziness in cooking
The following is how you tackle each obstacle to achieve good nutritional habits for seniors.
Lack of Cooking Motivation
As we age, the body tends to lose muscle mass and bone density, making it harder to move about and exercise. This can lead to less-active lifestyles, which can result in laziness when it comes to cooking or preparing meals.
Many seniors don't have the motivation needed for cooking anymore because they don't enjoy doing so as much as they used to.
When you're trying to eat well as a senior, some things can help you feel more motivated to cook:
Do something fun with your family and friends that makes you want to cook.
Cook at least one meal a day for yourself or share with others in the household.
Cook something that requires manual dexterity (like kneading dough.)
If you find yourself being lazy while cooking, it may be because there are too many steps involved in preparing a meal for yourself—so try breaking down those steps into smaller chunks instead of trying to do everything at once.
For example, if baking takes too long for you, break down each step into smaller portions until it becomes easier.
Cook small, manageable portions of food.
Lack of Appetite
As we age, we tend to experience changes in our appetite that can make it harder to eat as much food as we did when we were younger. This may be because of changes in hormones, medications, or other physiological factors.
It's important to try not to let this affect your eating habits too much. If you're not feeling hungry after a meal, don't worry about what others think or feel.
You don't have to force yourself into eating something if you don't want it—go ahead and eat what makes you feel best!
Older Adults Nutrition Guidelines
As you age, your body changes and becomes less able to process food and absorb the nutrients it needs. You may also find that you have less appetite as you age. However, it's not too late! There are ways to eat better and feel better as you age.
The first step is knowing what foods are good for you as you age.
Eat more vegetables, fruits, and legumes (beans). These foods are high in fiber, which helps keep your digestive system working smoothly.
Fill on healthy fats such as olive oil, avocado, or coconut oil. These fats help steady your blood sugar, which is essential for brain function and energy levels.
Eat whole grains like brown rice or quinoa instead of white rice or pasta now and then. Whole grains contain more fiber than refined grains, keeping your digestive system working smoothly.
Drink water. Water helps keep you hydrated, which helps prevent constipation. It also keeps your digestive system running smoothly, making you feel fuller longer. Your body needs water to stay healthy, so drink enough throughout the day (14 cups.
Lifestyle tips to Healthy Living as a senior
Avoid processed food: It's easy to overeat, so it's best to stick with whole foods instead of packaged meals, snacks, or treats.
Don't skip meals: You must eat regularly to keep your body running smoothly and efficiently.
Think about how much exercise you do each day—try to do at least 30 minutes of physical activity if possible! Exercise improves bone density, muscle tone, and balance; keeps your weight under control; improves cardiovascular health.
Get a home caregiver.
One of the best ways to eat well is by finding a private in-home care provider. Our professionals at Life Care at Home will come to your home regularly, cook meals, help with housework, and provide other services crucial to maintaining your well-being.
Life Care at Home can provide seniors guidance on preparing nutritious meals that are delicious and easily digested while helping seniors feel more confident in preparing meals again.
Contact us today to learn more about our meal preparation and nutrition tips for seniors who want to eat better.
Get more information about the in-home life care services Life Care at Home provides in Hyde Park, Chicago.
See if we're the right fit for you!