Diet for Elderly People
Geriatric Diet or Diet for Mature Adults
As we progress in age, our bodies go through certain changes that make nutrition and the food we eat very important. In most mature adults, some body functions slow down and daily physical activities tend to decrease considerably. The lifestyle tends to be much more sedentary and less active as we grow older. Because of this, our caloric requirements diminish. Although we need fewer calories, our intake of vitamins and minerals should not decrease.
Here are some suggestions to help maintain a healthy and nutritious diet and provides adequate calories.
- Restrict the amount of fat in your diet. Fats are rich in calories and low in nutrients. The American Heart Association recommends we limit our fat intake to 30% of our total daily calories. To help achieve this goal, avoid fried foods, and use butter, margarine, oils, and salad dressings sparingly. Use low fat, skim milk products and fat sprays.
- Restrict consumption of simple sugars by eating fewer sweets such as pastries, pies, cakes, cookies and candies. If you have a sweet tooth, pick fruits, unsweetened fruit juices, or low fat yogurt. These are much more nutritious and satisfying substitutes.
- Limit salt intake. High salt intake has been linked with high blood pressure. Instead of salt, use herbs, condiments and spices to season foods. These are rich in phytochemicals and very nutritious. Also, cut back on the amount of salty snacks, lunch meats, sausages, and processed foods like canned and dehydrated soups, that you eat.
- Increase your intake of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Avoid alcoholic beverages. They offer no nutritional benefits and are high in calories.
- Avoid constipation which is very common with age. You can do this by increasing fiber intake to 20-30 grams per day. It is also important to increase fluid intake to at least 8 glasses of water or beverages (non-caffeinated).
Sample Meal Plan
Orange Juice or Fresh Orange
1 slice whole grain bread with margarine
low fat milk
coffee or tea
Sweeteners if desired
Homemade or low sodium vegetable soup
Sliced tomatoes and cucumbers or Carrot and celery sticks
1 slice whole grain bread with melted cheese
Low sodium beans (black eyed, baked beans, pinto, garbanzo)
sweeteners if desired
A fruit or mixed fruit bowl
Lettuce Greens with Dressing
Broiled chicken breast
Italian green beans
Low fat milk
Coffee or tea
Sweetener if desired