As we get older, it is normal for our everyday diet plan to change. Many people tend to eat foods that they normally would not during their 20s and 30s.
Whether it is a change in taste buds or the need to eat more healthily, a change in the foods that you enjoy each day can be a positive step in the right direction.
People who are over the age of 50 can benefit from stronger mental stamina, higher energy levels, and faster healing when they choose to switch to a healthier diet plan.
Regardless of what your reason may be, healthy eating does not mean that you have to go on a strict diet or give up the foods that you love. You simply need to add more nutritious options to your meal plan.
How Many Calories Per Day Do Seniors Need?
While the exact calorie needs are different for each person, there are some guidelines that all individuals over the age of 50 can live by to ensure healthy eating.
Women who are over the age of 50 and are not physically active should have around 1600 calories per day. Those who are moderately active can take in around 1800 calories each day, while those that are very active will require around 2000 calories.
Men over the age of 50 that are not physically active should take in 2000 calories per day. Those who are moderately active should have anywhere from 2200 to 2400 calories, while those that are very active will need 2400 to 2800 calories to enjoy a healthy lifestyle.
The Healthiest Food Choices for Seniors
There is more to healthy eating than simply counting calories. Choosing healthy foods that will help your body as you age is another way to improve your diet plan. A good diet will be rich in fruits, vegetables, calcium-enriched foods, grains, and protein.
Eating whole fruits instead of simply drinking juice will provide you with more vitamins and a better source of fiber. Choose fresh berries or melons for a refreshing change from apples and bananas.
Vegetables, especially leafy greens like spinach, kale and broccoli are rich in antioxidants which everyone needs more of as they get older.
Calcium rich foods such as cheese, milk and yogurt can help to prevent osteoporosis and decrease the risk of bone fractures. It is recommended that seniors get at least 1200 mg of calcium each day. You can also try non-dairy sources of calcium such as kale, tofu or almonds.
Finally, while protein may not be as essential as other food choices, it is still necessary to provide us with plenty of energy. If you want to stay away from red meat, you can try out other protein-rich food sources such as beans, nuts, eggs, seeds, cheese and non-fat milk.
Choosing to add more high-quality protein to your diet and eliminating red meat or processed meat products has been shown to help improve your mood and resist conditions such as anxiety and depression.