9 Healthy Eating Habits for the Golden Years

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Something happens as you get older, and it's not just gray hair and more candles on your birthday cake. Your taste buds change. You don't need to eat as many calories. And your body's nutritional needs change.

So how do you navigate the Golden Years of eating?

Here's the easiest way. Let someone else do it. Our Senior-Friendly menu has 99 meals made from fresh ingredients in just the right portion sizes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner fit for the Golden Years. But that's not the only way to eat healthy as you age.

Here are a few healthy-eating tips for the Golden Years.

1. Drink up

You might not notice being thirsty as much as you get older, but you still need to hydrate. Drink water, low-fat milk, or 100 percent juice, and steer clear of sugar-sweetened beverages.

2. Never eat alone

Seniors who always eat alone are more likely to skip meals or make poor food choices, than those who eat with others. You hungry? Invite a friend over for a meal, organize a potluck, or plan a trip to a restaurant with friends.

3. Plan healthy meals

Ever wonder what a balanced diet or healthy meal looks like for seniors? It's not always the items on the senior menu at a restaurant. If you want to learn to eat healthy, follow recommendations from organizations like ChooseMyPlate.gov and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Both of these resources include meal-planning tips and recipes to help prepare healthy meals you enjoy.

4. Practice portion control

The average adults only needs about 2,000 calories a day. But it's usually less than that for older people. If you're going out to eat, pay attention to portion sizes. Order from the senior or children's menu, or place half your meal in a to-go box before you dig in.

5. Mix your vegetables

If you've munched your way through the same vegetables for years, it's time to switch things up. Eat a variety of different-colored vegetables to get the most nutrients from food.

6. Take care of your teeth and gums

You don't have to floss your teeth, just the ones you want to keep. You've probably heard that advice before. As you age, so do your teeth. And it's important to take care of them to protect your smiles and your health. Brush and floss daily. And avoid chewing on hard food, candy or ice, that can break your teeth.

7. Spice things up

If you notice that food doesn't taste as good as it used to or flavors seem dull, it's a normal part of the aging process. But there's an easy fix. Spice things up with natural herbs, spices, and seasonings.

8. Read food labels

Trying to manage your weight, or eat healthier? The next time you take a trip to the grocery store, read the food labels. They contain information about calories, service size, and macronutrients like carbohydrates, protein, and fat your body uses.

9. Find out if you need supplements

It's not uncommon to develop nutritional deficiencies as you age. It's also possible that your food choices may not include key nutrients. In most cases, a simple blood test can identify deficiencies you can correct with changes to your diet or supplements. Talk to your doctor.