5 Ways to Improve Your Nutrition as a Senior

5 Ways to Improve Your Nutrition as a Senior

Good nutrition is crucial no matter what age you are. But as you get older, your nutritional needs change, which means your diet needs to change, too. 

Fortunately, improving your eating habits is pretty simple — as long as you know what to do. In this post, the team at Primary Care Associates offers five things you can do — starting today — to improve your nutrition and enjoy better health as you age. 

#1: Plan your meals

For most of us, meal times happen at roughly the same times every day — yet it can still feel like hunger sneaks up on us, driving us to make unhealthy “snap” decisions about the foods we eat. The result: too many unhealthy fats and empty calories, too few crucial nutrients, and increased risks of hypertension, heart disease, and other serious medical problems that tend to be more common with age.

Planning your meals supports intentional eating, along with better nutrition. Not sure what nutrients you need? On its website, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) offers this handy widget to help you create a healthy eating plan based on your age and other factors. 

When it comes to meal planning and nutrition, it’s not just what you eat that’s critical, but also how much you eat. Portion sizes have increased substantially over the years, contributing to obesity and related medical problems. Estimating portion size isn’t always easy when you’re cooking from scratch. These simple guidelines can help. 

#2: Get to know herbs and spices

As we age, our taste buds also age, and that means we don’t taste foods the way we used to. For most people, salt is the first taste to be affected. As foods taste less salty, the natural reaction is to add more salt. But that’s a move that can wind up raising your blood pressure.

Instead of reaching for the salt shaker, try adding dried citrus peels, a splash of citrus juice, or prepackaged spice combinations created to mimic the salty flavor you crave. Or experiment with spices and herbs on your own to find combinations suited to your evolving palate.

#3: Make every snack count

It’s easy to reach for cookies, donuts, or chips when between-meal hunger sets it. But those unhealthy choices can increase your risk of health problems, like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. 

Better choices: Low-fat cheese, whole-grain crackers, yogurt, or fresh fruits and raw vegetables. In moderation, hummus and natural peanut butter make tasty, satisfying dips that also provide a dose of protein for better muscle health. Make snacks ahead of time to curb the urge to reach for unhealthy options.

#4: Be a label reader

Nutrition labels offer a wealth of information that can help you make healthy eating choices, and they’re not difficult to “decode.” Food Labels contain information about calories, serving sizes, and sodium, fats, and nutrients, making it easier to tailor your shopping habits to your health and nutrition needs.

Pay attention to serving size. Some packages contain multiple servings, and in those cases, calories and nutritional information typically are provided per serving — not for the entire package. Assuming a packaged food represents a single serving can lead you to inadvertently consuming far too many calories or excessively high sodium levels.

#5: Drink plenty of water

Water (and other healthy beverages) keep your body hydrated, which is essential for keeping your body “running.” But it also aids in digestion, helping you absorb more nutrients from the foods you eat.

Drinking a glass of water before a meal may help you eat fewer calories by helping you feel full faster. Don’t like the taste of water? Add some cucumber slices, a little ginger, or a slice of lemon or lime. (If you have kidney problems, talk to your doctor about an appropriate amount of water to consume each day.)

Getting older ushers in a unique set of health challenges and medical needs. Regular geriatric care visits at our offices in Clarksburg and Frederick, Maryland, help you meet those needs and challenges, so you can enjoy better health and a better quality of life as you get older. 

To learn more about senior nutrition and what else you can do to stay healthy, book an appointment online or over the phone at Primary Care Associates today.

You Might Also Enjoy...

What Aspects of My Overall Health Can Dementia Affect

Millions of Americans are diagnosed with dementia, and while many people only think about the cognitive effects, the fact is, dementia can affect many other aspects of your life, too. Here are some of the symptoms and effects you should know about.

At-Home Exercises to Help Counteract Incontinence

Incontinence affects millions of Americans, becoming more common as we get older. Fortunately, there are things you can do to manage and reduce your symptoms. Medical treatment can help, and so can these exercises.

How Diabetes Affects Your Foot Health

Diabetes affects millions of Americans, and they have an increased risk of developing serious foot problems. Here’s what you should know about the link between diabetes and your foot health — and what you can do to keep your feet healthy.

Can Stress Cause Migraines?

Millions of Americans suffer from migraines. Millions of Americans are chronically stressed out. Could the two be related? This post explores the link.

Childhood Skin Problems: When to See a Specialist

Childhood skin problems can look alarming — but they’re not always a sign of something more serious. Still, seeing a doctor is a good idea to find out what’s causing the issue and help your child find relief. Here’s when to call our office.

5 Foods to Eat for Improved Heart Health

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for Americans, so it makes sense to do all you can to keep your heart healthy. Adding these five foods is a smart way to give your cardiovascular system the nutrients it needs, especially as you get older.