You can expect to spend up to a third of your life in retirement.
People are living longer than ever before. Many seniors live active and healthy lives. But there’s no getting around one thing: as we age, our bodies and minds change. There are things you can do to stay healthy and active as you age. Eating a balanced diet, keeping mind and body active, not smoking, getting regular checkups and practicing safety habits at home and in the car will help you make the most of life.
Food provides the energy and nutrients you need to be healthy. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water.
Studies show that a good diet in your later years reduces your risk of osteoporosis, high blood pressure, heart disease and certain cancers. As you age, you might need less energy. But you still need just as many of the nutrients in food. To get them, 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 fats
The more physically active you are, the more you might be able to eat without gaining weight. Most people should have at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity on most days of the week. Regular physical activity will help all areas of your life as you grow older.
The flavor of the food is probably the same as always. With age your sense of taste and sense of smell may change. This affects how foods taste. They may seem to have lost flavor. There are other reasons food may not taste the same. Some medicines can change your sense of taste or make you feel less hungry. Maybe you have slowed down a bit, so your body needs fewer calories. Maybe chewing is difficult because your dentures need to be adjusted or your teeth or gums need to be checked. You might want to pick softer foods to eat.
Try adding spices, herbs, and lemon juice to add flavor to your food. Also make sure your diet is rich in foods containing potassium. That will help counter the effects of salt on your blood pressure. Some foods that have a lot of potassium are leafy green vegetables, fruit from vines like tomatoes, bananas and root vegetables like potatoes.
Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to start drinking. With age you may lose some of your sense of thirst. In addition, medicine can sometimes cause you to lose fluids. If you are drinking enough, your urine will be pale yellow. If it is a bright or dark yellow, you need to drink more liquids.
Because your sense of taste and smell may not work as well as you get older, you may not always be able to tell if foods have gone bad. You might want to date foods in your refrigerator to keep yourself from eating foods that are no longer fresh. If in doubt, throw it out .
Senior’s Food Choices
Plan your meals in advance. Check your supply of staples like flour, sugar, rice and cereal. Make a list of what you need. Keep some canned or frozen foods on hand. These are handy when you do not feel like cooking or cannot go out.
Learn to read food package labels. There, you will find a list of ingredients. The first one listed is present in the food in the largest amount. The ones that follow are present in smaller and smaller amounts. Look at “Nutrition Facts” for the calories, protein, carbohydrate, fat, sodium, fiber, vitamin and mineral amounts per serving. The label also suggests a serving size for comparing foods. There may be an expiration or “use by” date on the label or container.