Overcome Roadblocks to Healthy Eating

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Some older adults may face roadblocks that make healthy food choices more difficult. Here are examples of some common problems and solutions:

  • Tired of cooking or eating alone? Try cooking and sharing a meal with friends. Look into having some meals at a nearby senior center, community center, or religious facility. Not only will you enjoy a free or low-cost meal, but you will have some company while you eat.
  • Problems chewing food? If you are having trouble chewing, see your dentist to check for problems. If you wear dentures, the dentist can check how they fit.
  • Sometimes hard to swallow your food? If food seems to get stuck in your throat, it might be that less saliva in your mouth is making it hard for you to swallow your food. Talk to your doctor about what might be causing the problem and if drinking more liquids with your meal might help.
  • Food tastes different? If foods taste different, it might not be the cook’s fault! Growing older can cause your senses of taste and smell to change. Both are important for a healthy appetite and eating.
  • Just not hungry? Changes to your body as you age can cause some people to feel full sooner than they did when they were younger. Or lack of appetite might be the side effect of a medicine you are taking. If so, your doctor might be able to suggest a different drug. You can also try exercising more, eating a wide variety of foods, and experimenting with seasonings (like herbs and lemon, not salt) to boost flavor.

Want to learn about more common eating problems that may affect older people? Visit the NIA website for tips to help you make healthy food choices as you age.

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