People who have concerns about their health should be mindful of the foods they eat, as these can directly affect their well-being and vitality. The problem with many aging adults is that they only make efforts to eat better when there’s an issue or concern about their health, rather than taking preventive measures to improve their health in the long run. However, they should adopt some healthy food habits as soon as possible to reap immediate and future benefits from them. Here are some healthy food habits for the elderly.
Focus on Nutrient-Rich Foods
Focus on consuming nutrient-rich foods. The federal government suggests filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. Vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and other plant chemicals are excellent sources of health benefits. When choosing foods, color is key—the more colors you eat every day, the better! Consider adding rainbow-colored vegetables to your grocery list—purple cabbage, leafy greens like kale and spinach, tomatoes of all colors (especially red), beets, and sweet potatoes top our list. Keep in mind that fresh is best when buying produce—juicing concentrates nutrients found in fruits and veggies, while cooking can lose some nutrients.
Eat Enough Fiber
Fiber isn’t just a nice-to-have in older people’s diets. It helps in keeping their blood sugar levels in check. Plus, since fiber is so filling, it can help keep individuals from overeating or snacking on unhealthy foods when they get hungry. Be sure to consume 25 grams of fiber daily through high-fiber foods like fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grains.
Choose Healthier Convenience Foods
More than 80 percent of aging family members live independently, so if your loved one doesn’t prepare meals at home very often, it’s easy to slip into old habits and rely on unhealthy ready-made foods for convenience. If you know someone who has decided to retire their culinary talents, encourage them to choose healthier options instead. Buy healthy frozen meals that come in single-serving portions that can be microwaved or get meals delivered directly to their door by subscription services. They may not be as convenient as a hot dog from a street cart—but they are much healthier.
It’s never too late to consider taking multivitamins and other supplements. Many aging family members live on a limited income and may not be able to eat as well as they should. The best way to get your vitamins is through food, but if that’s not possible, it’s good to know that supplements can help fill in gaps. Just be sure you don’t overdo it: Excessive doses of any supplement could cause side effects and interactions with other medications.
For all golden-age adults, it’s essential to make sure you stay hydrated. Drink water throughout your day, and be careful not to add too much sugar to your diet. If you add sugar, make sure it’s not more than half of what would be in a 12-ounce can of regular soda or about 25 grams, a good guideline for all adults regardless of age.