The definition of healthy eating changes a bit with age. For example, as you get older your metabolism slows down, so you need less calories than before. Certain nutrients are needed in more quantity by your body. This means that choosing foods that provide you with the best nutritional value is more important than ever.
Explore the documents below for tips on how to find the best foods for your body and your budget.
Tips for selecting healthy foods as you age
Here are 6 tips to help you choose the best foods for your body and your budget.
1. Learn what a healthy plate looks like
You may recall the Food Pyramid, but the USDA recently unveiled an easier way to help people see what they should eat each day. It’s called MyPlate. The simple graph shows exactly how the five food groups should line up on your plate. These are the building boxes of a healthy diet.
2. Look for important nutrients
Make sure you are eating a variety of foods to get all the nutrients you need. Your plate should look like a rainbow: brightly colored foods are always the best option! A healthy meal should include:
- Lean protein (lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans)
- Fruits and vegetables (think green, orange, purple and red)
- Whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat pasta)
- Low-fat dairy products (milk and its substitutes)
Remember to choose foods that are rich in fiber and low in salt or sodium. Also look for vitamin D, an essential mineral as we grow old.
3. Read the Nutrition Facts label
The healthiest foods are whole foods. These are often found around the grocery store in the produce, meat and dairy sections. When you eat packaged food, be a smart shopper! Read labels to find items that are low in fat, added sugars, and sodium.
4. Use the recommended servings
To maintain your weight, you need to eat the right amount of food for your age and body. The American Heart Association provides recommended daily servings for adults 60 years of age and older.
5. Stay hydrated
Water is also an important nutrient! Don’t get dehydrated: Drink small amounts of fluids regularly throughout the day. Coffee, tea and water are your best options. Keep liquids that contain sugar and salt to a minimum, unless your doctor tells you otherwise.
6. Stretch your food budget
Want to get the best nutritional value for your money? The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help you buy healthy foods when you need them. Over 4 million older Americans use SNAP to buy food, and the average senior gets $113 per month.