Healthy eating when you’re older can help stave off many of the illnesses that plague older people. It can help keep you feeling and looking better, too. Often it’s easier to grab snack food rather than make a healthy meal. Making food ahead and freezing it in portion sizes is one way to ensure you have something easy to make available. Cutting up veggies for snacks is another. The healthier you eat, the less you’ll have to worry about nutritional deficiencies and excess pounds.
There’s a high percentage of older individuals that suffer from Vitamin D deficiency.
Vitamin D comes from exposure to sunshine, but as you age, converting the ultraviolet rays that ultimately end up as natural vitamin D in our bodies, becomes more difficult and older people only convert about 30% of the amount they did when they were younger. Getting out in the sun is also more difficult for those over 70 in colder climates and even then, sunblocks are often used. Fat absorption and vitamin D is also less efficient, making it far harder to make up the shortage with food. A shortage of vitamin D can cause fragility fractures, muscle weakness and bone pain. You must be vigilant and consume a healthy diet to avoid this shortage. Even then supplementation may be necessary.
Eat well balanced meals.
Sometimes, especially if you’re living alone and new to the concept, it’s difficult to eat healthy. You don’t feel like making a meal and live on junk food or you have digestive, a tight budget, dental or other problems that prevent you from eating certain foods. Each day you should have protein such as eggs, meat or fish, 5 to 6 ounces of grain products, 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit, 2 to 2.5 cups of vegetables and 3 cups of dairy. Mix up the colors of the fruits and veggies to ensure you get all the necessary nutrients. The best meal contains a rainbow of colors with green, red, purple and white on your plate.
Eat whole foods rather than fast foods or packaged foods.
It is hard to cook for one or two, so cooking ahead may be the answer. Making large pots of soup and freezing them or creating main dishes and putting the leftovers in individual meal freezer bags is one good answer. Just add a side salad, a cooked vegetable and some fresh fruit and you’ll have a nutritious meal. Don’t forget to take the time to create healthy snacks and have them ready in the refrigerator for those between meal or late night snacks.
- Don’t forget to add exercise to a healthy diet for the best results. Exercise can boost your energy, make you feel great and even help with digestion.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. Tea and coffee count as part of your liquid intake. Dehydration is more prevalent as you age and you tend to get dehydrated faster. It can lead to dizziness confusion rapid heart rate, lethargy, muscle weakness and cramps.
- If you’re overweight, you can lose weight by eating a healthy diet and exercise, while getting other benefits, too.
- Get together with a friend, particularly if you both live alone. Each of you can create three meals for a week and share them with the other. It not only saves time, it saves money, too. For added enjoyment, eat the meals together.