Whenever you read about nutrition, it’s important to remember that most information is directed toward the “average” person. However, actual nutritional needs can vary according to the individual. Factors such as age and health status impact your own needs, sometimes significantly.
For the over-60 crowd, you face two distinct challenges: Your metabolism has slowed, meaning you probably need fewer calories, but you also need more of certain nutrients. This means you need to design your eating plan more carefully than before.
Balance your meals. About half of your plate should contain fruits and vegetables, with grains, protein, and dairy making up the other half.
Eat all the colors. When it comes to fruits and vegetables, include all colors in your diet. Eating a variety of red, yellow, orange, green, purple, and blue foods will help you reap a variety of vitamins and minerals from your meals.
Get your vitamin D. Look for this vitamin on food labels. It helps to protect your bones and performs other important functions in your body as you age.
Choose foods that are high in fiber and low in sodium. Fiber promotes healthy digestion and can ward off several age-related diseases, whereas too much sodium can be harmful.
Avoid added sugar. It’s not good for anyone.
Watch your serving sizes. You probably don’t need as many calories now, as you did when you were 30.
Remember to stay hydrated. Water doesn’t contain calories or vitamins, and yet it is the most important component of a healthy diet. Dehydration can contribute to many health problems, so keep drinking 8 glasses of water per day.
Talk to your primary care provider. He or she can help you understand your nutritional needs at this stage of your life, and refer you to a nutritionist if you prefer expert guidance.