7 Simple Guidelines for Senior Nutrition

7 Simple Guidelines for Senior Nutrition

Posted on December 29, 2014 by ElderCare Resources in Blog, Healthy Living, Senior Living

We all understand the value of eating properly and eating those things that provide the nutrition necessary for good health as we age.  Eating properly is often seen as a complex system of counting and measuring that really seems to be more trouble than it’s worth and difficult to stick to.  The National Library of Medicine (NLM) has produced some general guidelines that can help seniors and elderly make wise food choices without feeling like they are giving up everything they enjoy eating.

The following are general guidelines set by the NLM seniors and elderly:

  • Choose a variety of healthy foods.
  • Avoid empty calories, which are foods with lots of calories but few nutrients, such as chips, cookies, soda and alcohol.
  • Pick foods that are low in cholesterol and fat, especially saturated and trans fat.
  • Eat many fresh vegetables and fruits in a variety of colors.
  • Make sure at least half of grains are whole grains.
  • Eat only small amounts of solid fats and foods with added sugars. Limit saturated fats.
  • Eat seafood twice weekly.

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So what about quantity or how much equals a portion.  The following daily guidance from the NLM will certainly confirm seniors will not go hungry.

  • 1 and 1/2 to 2 and 1/2 cups of fruit.
  • 2 to 3 and 1/2 cups of vegetables.
  • 5 to 10 ounces of whole grains.
  • 5 to 7 ounces of protein like chicken, fish, or tofu.
  • 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk or dairy.
  • 5 to 8 teaspoons of healthy oils, like olive oil.

The above recommendations show small portions and larger portions and the difference between the two determines how many calories will be consumed.  The small portions will give the average senior about 1600 calories per day and the higher portions 2,800 calories per day.  The number of calories recommended or needed for good health is in large part based on activity level.

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To understand how many calories you need the USDA has made available these caloric guidelines for older persons:

Women over the age of 50:

  • Who is not physically active needs about 1,600 calories.
  • Who is somewhat active needs about 1,800 calories.
  • Who has an active lifestyle needs about 2000–2,200 calories.

Men over the age of 50:

  • Who is not physically active needs about 2,000 calories.
  • Who is somewhat active needs about 2,200-2,400 calories.
  • Who has an active lifestyle needs about 2,400-2,800 calories.