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What’s on my plate: Quick nutritional tips for older adults

Elder's plate

Here are some essential and quick nutritional tips to help you stay healthy and in shape:

Vary your veggies

  • Include more dried beans and peas, like pinto, black, or kidney beans, and lentils in your diet.
  • Eat more orange colored vegetables, like carrots and sweet potatoes.
  • Eat more dark-green vegetables, such as broccoli, salad greens, and cooked greens.
  • Make sure you have 2 ½ cups of vegetables every day in your diet.

Go for whole grains as much as can

  • Choose cereals that are fortified with vitamin B12.
  • Make sure you eat at least three oz. of whole-grain cereals, bread, rice, crackers, or pasta daily.
  • Make sure you include at least six oz. of whole grains in your diet every day.

Focus heavily on fruits

  • Include a variety of fruits in your daily diet like fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit.
  • Go for fruits instead of drinking fruit juice for most of your fruit choices.
  • Eat a variety of fruits of every color, like bananas, berries, grapes, pineapples and oranges.
  • Go for 1 ½ cups of fruit every day.

Daily dairy dosage in calcium-rich foods

  • Always go for fat-free or low-fat milk, yoghurt and other dairy products.
  • If you don’t prefer milk products or are lactose intolerant, go for lactose-free dairy products and other calcium sources like calcium fortified food and beverages.
  • Make sure you include at least three cups of dairy servings in your diet.

Go lean with protein-rich foods

  • Include a variety of protein sources in your diet, such as eggs, dried beans, tofu, fish, nuts, and seeds.
  • Always go for low-fat or lean cuts of meat and poultry.
  • Avoid frying and as much as possible try to bake, broil or grill.
  • Have at least five oz. of protein-rich food in your daily diet.

Remember: Always eat right

  • As much as possible, choose fiber-rich foods in your diet to keep you in good shape.
  • Include fortified foods or supplements in your diet to meet your daily vitamin D and vitamin B12 requirements. But make sure you talk to your doctor about the supplements you’re taking.
  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated all throughout the day. And always go for water and other beverages that are low in added sugars.
  • Get your important oils from fish and nuts, and liquid oils such as canola, olive, corn or soybean oils.
  • Limit your intake of sweets to decrease the amount of empty calories you consume.
  • Always choose and prepare foods that are less in sodium and salt.

Be active, stay healthy and enjoy life

  • Enroll in an exercise or dance class at a community center or gym.
  • Go for regular walks.
  • Spend some time working in your garden.
  • Play with your grandkids and pets.
  • Remember that every activity you do adds up, so you don’t have to do it all at once.


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