10 Tips for Better Senior Nutrition

Close up of a man eating being mindful of his senior nutrition.

When facing the changes and challenges of growing older, there are still several proactive steps we can take to create a high quality of life. Ensuring that we maintain a healthy diet is one area that can greatly impact both our physical and mental well-being.

Nutrition plays a significant role as a balanced diet affects the ability to recharge, refuel and perform at our best.

The benefits of healthy senior nutrition

Senior nutrition keeps our bodies and minds healthy, including the following ways:

  • Enhanced mental performance: Nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish can help keep the brain sharp and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
  • Boosted immune function: A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can strengthen the immune system, making it easier to fight off illnesses.
  • Improved digestive health: This can help protect the body from potential pathogens and suppress inflammation.
  • Heart health supported: Eating foods low in saturated fat and cholesterol can help reduce the risk of heart disease.
  • Increased energy levels: Balanced meals with the correct nutrients can help maintain energy levels throughout the day.

Examples of healthy diets for optimum senior nutrition

When considering different diets that might be healthy for older adults, focus on the variety and value of foods offered. Here are a few of the more popular diets:

  • The Mediterranean diet: Emphasizing plant-based foods and healthy fats, this diet can lower the risk of cardiovascular disease and several chronic conditions. Highlights include lots of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, olive oil and lean protein sources like fish and poultry, with little or no red meat.
  • The DASH diet: The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet can help in creating a heart-healthy lifestyle. Foods include vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Fat-free or low-fat dairy products are included as well as fish, poultry, beans and nuts.
  • High-fiber diets: Incorporating beans, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables can improve digestion, help control weight and lower the risk of heart disease.

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10 tips for better senior nutrition

There are several steps older adults can take to improve their diets. Consider adding the following actions to your daily life:

  1. Plan meals in advance: Planning ahead makes meal preparation easier. You’re likely to include more nutrients in your diet and avoid processed or fast-food meals.
  2. Cook with herbs and spices: Instead of salt, use herbs and spices for flavoring. This not only adds a different taste but reduces sodium intake.
  3. Enjoy a variety of foods: Create meal plans that include selections from each food group. However, limit choices from those that include added sugar, saturated fats and high sodium.
  4. Get enough protein: To help maintain muscle, add seafood, dairy, beans, peas and lentils to meals, which all contribute to a healthier senior nutrition.
  5. Have sliced or chopped fruits and vegetables handy: If healthy foods are readily available, it’s easier to choose as your snack.
  6. Stay hydrated: Older adults often experience a diminished feeling of thirst. Drinking water throughout the day is essential to maintain good health.
  7. Keep calories in mind: Be aware of the calories you need daily and adjust based on your activity levels. Set weight and fitness goals and understand how your diet can influence both.
  8. Changes in appetite and taste: If you notice a change in your sense of taste and smell, check with your doctor about medication side effects and try adding spices or lemon juice to food. If you’re not as hungry, check for medication side effects or add more activities to your daily life.
  9. Eat with others: Sharing meals can make eating a more enjoyable experience and has been shown to encourage healthier food choices, social interaction and improved senior nutrition.
  10.   Consult with a nutritionist: Personalized advice on how to eat right can help address specific dietary needs, medical conditions and challenges you may have with maintaining healthy choices.

Source: National Institute on Aging

How an assisted living community supports better senior nutrition

A great benefit of a senior living community is the opportunity to eat well without doing the cooking. Communities understand the importance of a healthy diet and how presentation affects appetites.

The following examples illustrate how an assisted living community can help improve senior nutrition:

  • Nutritious meal plans: Dining programs include meals prepared with fresh, wholesome ingredients. Along with offering a variety of menu selections, dietary restrictions and preferences can be accommodated.
  • Educational workshops: Communities often provide informational sessions about nutrition and healthy eating, as well as how to maintain a balanced diet. For example, check out our blog, “Eat This, Not That”, from Maeghan Corbo, Culinary Director at Avita of Wells, for nutrition and healthy eating suggestions.
  • Social dining experiences: A community’s dining areas encourage residents to socially interact. A positive experience can improve appetites and the enjoyment of healthy food.
  • Convenience and accessibility: With on-site dining options, residents have access to healthy meals without shopping or cooking – and may find it easier to maintain a nutritious diet.

Eating right is essential for the overall health, well-being and enjoyment of life. By offering nutritious meals, educational resources and personalized support, you’ll discover senior living communities empower their residents to make informed dietary choices. Your loved one will not only find proper nourishment but also the joy and satisfaction that mealtime can bring.

Discover life at a Northbridge community

If you’re considering senior living for yourself or a family member, we hope you’ll visit one of our communities. You’ll find a maintenance-free, activity-filled and engaging lifestyle to help support your wellness goals.

You’ll also discover many benefits in a Northbridge Senior Living community, including our Signature Program S.T.A.R. Club (Sharp Thinking, Active Residents) – which offers our residents several activities to participate in with others, including:

  • Daily exercise group
  • Walking club
  • Tai Chi & yoga
  • Nutritional classes
  • Library and book club
  • Museum outings
  • Artists in residence program
  • Multi-generational music
  • Genealogy Generations

We’re here to answer any of your questions. Please contact us if we can provide further information or if you would like to schedule a personalized tour. Download our complimentary Family Decision Toolkit.

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