As adults age, their interests, priorities, and eating habits change—and so do their nutritional needs. The core principles of a healthy diet remain the same at 25 or 85: people need a balance of nourishing foods to enable them to look and feel their best. Eating a well-balanced diet can help people maintain a healthy weight, stay energized, and get necessary nutrients. It also lowers the risk of developing chronic health conditions.
However, people also require specific nutrients as they progress through different life stages. The US Department of Agriculture offers the following nutritional recommendations for older adults:
It’s important to obtain nutrients needed by the body such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals, and dietary fiber. This can help older adults:
- Lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. If you have a chronic disease, eating well can help to manage the disease.
- Help to maintain energy levels.
Special Nutrition Concerns for Older Adults
Our daily eating habits change as our bodies get older. Make small adjustments to help you enjoy the foods and beverages you eat and drink.
- Add flavor to foods with spices and herbs instead of salt and look for low-sodium packaged foods.
- Add sliced fruits and vegetable to your meals and snacks. Look for pre-sliced fruits and vegetables on sale if slicing and chopping is a challenge.
- Ask your doctor to suggest other options if the medications you take affect your appetite or change your desire to eat.
- Drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk throughout the day. If you cannot tolerate milk try small amounts of yogurt, butter milk, hard cheese or lactose-free foods. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
- Consume foods fortified with vitamin B12, such as fortified cereals.
In addition to healthy eating, it is important to focus on maintaining a healthy body weight. Being physically active can help older adults stay strong and independent as they grow older. For those who are overweight or obese, weight loss can improve quality of life and reduce the risk of disease and disability.
Even though the recommendations are clear and simple, it can be hard to put them into practice with limited mobility or income. AgeWell Cincinnati’s partner agency, the Mayerson JCC, has several healthy and affordable meal options for older adults—all of which are available to community members, regardless of whether they belong to the J.
Breakfast: The JCC is launching a brand new 60 & Better Breakfast program in August. For a suggested donation of $3, older adults can enjoy veggie frittatas, an oatmeal bar, yogurt bar, and more.
Lunch: From Louisiana tilapia with red beans and rice to brisket with mashed potatoes and gravy, to apricot chicken with Israeli couscous, this hot, kosher meal is available to older adults every day at noon for a suggested donation of $3.
Super Senior Meal Deal: Adults ages 60 and older can choose from a variety of healthy options from the J Café at a special discounted rate. Older adults can enjoy two meal deals every day for a suggested donation of $4 per meal. The Super Senior Meal Deal menu has been approved by a dietitian to provide essential daily nutrients.
To Go Meals: This deal enables older adults to order the same kosher meal from the hot kosher lunch menu and pick it up by 3 p.m. to enjoy at home—for just $4 per meal.
AgeWell Cincinnati can help older adults and their caregivers learn more about healthy eating and the nutrition and meal services available in Jewish Cincinnati. Maintaining a well-balanced diet is one of the best ways to stay healthy and active.