Eating healthy can be highly beneficial for seniors. Receiving proper nutrition and staying adequately hydrated can help seniors to avoid illnesses, improve mental acuity, speed recuperation times, and manage many different types of medical conditions more effectively. By following a healthy eating plan, seniors may also avoid the pitfalls that come with obesity, which approximately 25 percent of seniors cope with at the present time. Healthy eating plans may differ depending on the needs and preferences of the individual. Caregivers and family members can help seniors to embrace a healthier diet and discover what works best.
General Caloric Guidelines
While calorie counts aren’t everything, knowing approximately how many calories should be consumed per day is a good starting point to developing a healthy eating plan. Women that are over 50 should generally consume about 1600 calories if they are not active, 1800 calories a day if they are somewhat active, and 2000 calories a day if they are very active.
Men over 50 should consume about 2000 calories a day if they are not active, around 2300 calories per day if they are somewhat active, and around 2600 calories per day if they are very active in order to maintain a healthy weight. These calorie counts may vary slightly based on height and physical build.
Balancing Dietary Needs
Dietary needs may vary greatly based on health conditions. For every nutritional category, however, there are substitutions that seniors may be able to eat in place of items that may adversely affect conditions. Medical professionals may be able to advise seniors on the best ways to substitute certain food items in order to achieve a healthy and well-balanced diet while avoiding foods that may interfere with medications or conditions.
To maintain health and wellbeing, seniors should consume approximately:
- Two to two and a half cups of a variety of vegetables per day
- One and a half to two cups of fruit per day
- About one and a half grams of calcium per day
- Six to Seven ounces of grains per day
- Two and a half to five ounces of protein per day
Effectively Altering Habits
Most people will not respond positively to be forced into eating differently, so it is necessary to work with seniors so that a healthier diet will be embraced. Caregivers or family members that are assisting with the changes may ask seniors for a list of their favorite foods and work with them to make delicious substitutions.
Seniors should be involved in the process as much as possible, so that they are able to make alterations to their liking. The process of altering the diet can be fun and can help seniors to improve the quality of life, so every effort should be made to make the experience positive.