A direct link exists between health and diet across all ages. But, your nutritional needs change with age, which means you may not need some food groups as much as you needed when you were younger. However, you may need more of certain other nutrients, like calcium, to maintain healthy bones at an older age.
With age, your appetite may fall, or you may find food not tasting the same due to your medications. Hence, you must ensure optimal nutrition at every meal you take.
Further, awareness of specific nutritional requirements of your body, keeping in mind any existing medical conditions and ongoing medications will help you adjust your food choices required to stay in good health. Here are some pro tips for older adults like you to ease the task of healthy meal planning.
Keep It Colourful
Include leafy vegetables like spinach and kale, and colourful vegetables like carrots, squash, and broccoli, in your diet for maximum intake of vitamins and minerals. Consume 2-3 servings of fruits daily, including melons and berries, besides the regular apples and bananas. Ideally, fruits should make up ⅕ part of your diet, while vegetables and legumes should be ⅖.
Include Whole Grains And Cereals
Include dietary fibres of both soluble and insoluble varieties in your diet to avoid constipation, and keep your blood sugar and cholesterol levels in check. Men and women above 50 years should have 30g and 21g of fibre every day. Whole grains and cereals should make up ⅖ part of your diet.
Drop The Empty Calories
Healthy eating is all about fresh and whole food. So, it is best to ditch items laden with refined sugar, salt, or trans-fat that are known to amplify the risks of several health complications. Satisfy your dessert cravings with fresh fruits in yoghurt or custard. For baking, use whole wheat instead of refined flour. Keep the discretionary food items like chips, fries, doughnuts, etc., limited to once-in-a-blue-moon kinds of treat.
Balance Plants And Animal Protein
Consume both plant-based and animal-based proteins to help your brain function optimally and boost your mood, besides sustaining your muscle reserves. However, avoid red meat and processed meat as much as you can. Instead, include more tofu, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, fish, eggs, seafood, and lean meats in your diet.
Boost Your Intake Of Vitamins And Minerals
Calcium, iron, and vitamins B2, B6, and D are crucial for ageing well. You will get your recommended dietary intake (RDI) of vitamins B2, B6 and D from dairy products, fortified wholegrain cereals, vegetables, fatty fish, almonds, etc. Dairy is a veritable source of calcium, while chicken, fish and wholegrain cereals will satiate your need for iron.
Opt For Planned Meals
Do you find keeping track of RDI and counting calories besides shopping and cooking for yourself troublesome? You can take advantage of healthy meals delivered at your doorstep. You’ll find many online meal delivery services in Australia offering planned and portioned meals that are delicious, nutrient-rich, and meet your daily dietary needs.