National Nutrition Month: Healthy Eating for Seniors

Happy National Nutrition Month! Starting a healthy eating regimen isn’t always easy.

Keep in mind that the most important habit to adopt is to make only one change at a time. Completely changing eating habits isn’t sustainable and is much harder to adopt. Making changes one at a time will help make the changes last. Taking the salt shaker off the table is an easy change and helps to decrease salt intake. Switching to whole-grain bread and buying more seafood, vegetables and fruit at the grocery store are also good starting points.

With age comes a change in nutritional needs. Certain vitamins and minerals are more difficult to absorb, like B12, lutein, calcium and vitamin D, so it’s more important to seek them out in food choices. The best sources for vitamins and minerals are whole, unprocessed foods. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables coupled with lean proteins create a well-balanced diet. When possible, it is best to prepare meals in advance. Here are the top five foods to include in a healthy diet:

  1. Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and vegetables rich in color are also rich in nutrients and antioxidants. Fruits like blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, cherries and oranges are high in antioxidants. Vegetables like kale, spinach, Brussel sprouts, beets and bell peppers are packed with nutrients. It’s important to try different types of fruits and vegetables or eat based on what’s in season. See this helpful guide to seasonal fruits and vegetables via the United States Department of Agriculture here!

  1. Dairy

Calcium needs increase with age. Both vitamin D and calcium are essential for healthy bones. Vitamin D production becomes harder with age and a healthy diet is necessary to supplement what little vitamin D might be absorbed through sunlight. It is recommended to take a vitamin D supplement, especially in sunny Seattle!

  1. Whole Grains

Whole grains are a good source of vitamin B and are high in fiber. High fiber foods help control blood sugar and aid in digestion. Great options are oatmeal, whole wheat and quinoa.

  1. Lean Proteins

Lean proteins help build muscle mass, but are lower in saturated fat and cholesterol. Look for fish, poultry, lean meat, beans, legumes, nuts and dairy products.

  1. Fish with Omega-3s

Oily fish like salmon, tuna and mackerel are high in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help combat inflammation and cardio vascular disease. It is recommended to have at least two servings of fatty fish per week.

If assistance is needed in grocery shopping or meal preparation, home care services like Homecare by Wesley can aid in a nutritious lifestyle!