Healthy eating is important at any age.
Eating healthy can help you get the nutrients that you need! These nutrients help prevent muscle and bone loss and reduce the risk of falls and broken bones. Healthy eating can also help you stay independent, maintain and improve your quality of life, and manage and lower the risk of chronic diseases.
Check out Canada’s Food Guide to learn more about healthy eating. The food guide includes a specific section with tips for seniors. It recommends eating a variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grains and protein foods and satisfying your thirst with water. In addition to following Canada’s Food Guide, if you are 51 years of age or older, take a supplement with 400 IU (10 µg) of vitamin D every day.
As you age, healthy eating may become more difficult.
- Many people have less of an appetite as they age. This can happen for a variety of reasons. It can make it challenging to get adequate nutrients and lead to decreased muscle strength and an increased risk for falls. To deal with this you can try eating small amounts more often and increasing activity to stimulate the appetite.
- It might be more difficult to chew or swallow some foods. Try choosing and preparing foods differently. For example, for a softer texture, try cooking vegetables instead of eating them raw.
- You may lose teeth, have pain in your teeth, or have loose-fitting dentures.
- Some foods may taste or smell different than they used to. If your sense of taste or smell has changed, try different spices and herbs to add more flavour instead of salt.
- It might be harder to cook or shop. Try using a delivery service for meals and/or groceries or grocery buses organized by seniors or community centres.
- You may spend more time eating alone. Invite a friend or family member for a meal! Check local seniors’ community groups and ask about lunch clubs or community kitchens you could join.
- It may be harder to afford healthy food. If you are looking for information on food banks, community meals and/or food delivery in your area, call 211. The 211 support line is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and has the most up-to-date database of provincial food programs.
If you have any questions about nutrition or healthy eating, you can reach a Dietitian at the 811 Healthline. This service is free and available by phone or email to anyone in Newfoundland and Labrador.
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