10 Tips for Choosing Healthy Meals as you Age

Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do—no matter how old you are! Use these tips to choose foods for better health at any stage of life.

  1. Drink plenty of liquids. With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often and limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt.
  2. Make eating a social event. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or look for shared meals at senior centers or places of worship.
  3. Plan healthy meals. Check our resources on what to eathow much to eat, and which foods to choose.
  4. Know how much to eat. Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion sizes. When eating out, pack part of your meal to eat later.
  5. Vary your vegetables. Brighten your plate with different colored vegetables for a variety of nutrients and good sources of fiber.
  6. Eat for your teeth and gums. Dental problems may make it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Eating softer foods can help. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.
  7. Use herbs and spices. Your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both can change as you age. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.
  8. Keep food safe. Throw out food that might not be safe and be sure not to eat raw or undercooked foods like eggs, fish, shellfish, meat, or poultry.
  9. Read the Nutrition Facts label. Pay attention to what’s on the Nutrition Facts label on your food. This will tell you about things like calories, fats, sodium, and more.
  10. Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements. Your doctor will know best if you need any dietary supplements. It’s important to tell your doctor about all the dietary supplements you take, because they could interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.

Learn more about choosing healthy meals as you age on the NIH website.

Last Updated on April 29, 2020

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