Balanced Meals For Older Adults
We all know as you get older, your health becomes more important. As time passes we need to do to take care of our own health, and we can't rely on our youth to get over things quickly! Inevitable changes, such as your energy levels, for example, may begin to reduce, particularly if your activity levels change. It can be a bit of a chicken and egg scenario. If our energy goes down, our activity goes down, our energy goes down etc! That's why the things we're putting into our body become even more vital. It’s time to throw out your old habits and introduce some new ones that will greatly benefit you day after day.
This quick and easy guide is aimed to help those of you who no longer take a lot of interest in cooking, especially if you are suffering from an illness or for those you who might live alone. We want to help put a spring back in your step and that starts in the kitchen. You may also know someone this applies to and might already be concerned about how much nutrition they are getting day-to-day.
Keep in mind: It’s important to keep up a balanced diet as no one food group can provide everything that the body needs to function healthily. And remember to drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Great Foods for Nutrition
- Fruits and vegetables
Full of vitamins, minerals, fibres and low in fat. There’s a reason health care professionals bang on about fruit and veg, they can help prevent heart disease and in some cases, they can prevent certain cancers and other illnesses. The great thing about this food group is, you can buy it frozen, fresh or tinned and still reap the benefits. Staying clear of fruits canned in syrup and vegetables in brine.
- Starchy foods - meat, potatoes, bread, rice and pasta
You can eat plenty of these as they are full of starch, fibre and B vitamins. Use them as the base for your meal. Switch to wholegrain and high-fibre options, such as brown rice and pasta and leave the skins on your potatoes. If you’re suffering from intestinal discomfort, a bowl of high-fibre cereal might just give you the relief you need. Make sure you increase your fibre content gradually.
- Proteins - beans, pulses, fish and eggs
For those of you that are meat-free, or for those of you who have meat-free days, then beans and lentils are great alternatives. Eggs are a no-brainer, due to their versatility. When it comes to fish, have 2 portions a week; one of which should be oily. Reach for tinned fish which contain omega 3 - your heart will thank you. Help to prevent anaemia with a good dose of meat rich in iron.
- Dairy and alternatives
We all know that dairy is important for calcium, vitamins A, D & B12, protein and fat. It works wonders. Make the switch to low-fat variants of your favourite milk, yoghurt or cheese. If you are dairy-free then avoid anything sweetened and make sure they are fortified with calcium.
Time to eat less of these foods:
- Sugary snacks - okay in moderation
- Large portions - portions tend to get smaller as you get older due to fewer calories being needed
- Too much salt - time to take care of that heart
- Alcohol - in large quantities alcohol contains many calories resulting in weight gain. As we get older we have less body weight than younger adults which means the alcohol just sits in the blood.
It’s normal, as you get older, to eat less but make sure you stick to eating 3 meals a day. That way you get the nutrients and fuel you need without overeating and making yourself feel unwell.