Eating well over 50 and beyond is essential to the mind, body and soul. The rewards of caring for your body include living longer, feeling stronger, a sharp mind and boosted self-esteem. Typically a woman over the age of 50 requires about 1600 calories a day (inactive lifestyle), 1800 calories for a somewhat active lifestyle and about 2000 calories a day for a very active lifestyle. For a man of the same age, 2000 calories for inactive, 22oo-2400 for a somewhat physical lifestyle and 2400-2800 for very active seniors*. Of course, a balanced lifestyle and diet is strongly encouraged and will contribute to a higher quality of life and enhanced independence with age.
Here are a few ways you can make the most out of your shopping experience and get the most
Buy Colorful Fruits and Vegetables
When shopping, spend the majority of your time in the produce section. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories, high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Seniors should get at least 5 servings a day of these nutritional superstars. Be sure to focus on the whole fruit rather than juices which tent to have more sugar. Additionally, choose dark, leafy greens such as kale, spinach, broccoli or Swiss chard for an antioxidant rich boost.
Read Nutritional Labels
Take time to read the labels of various products. Often times, sodium levels are higher than one might expect.
Canned and Frozen Fruits and Vegetables
Canned fruits and vegetables offer similar nutritional benefits as their fresh counterparts, sometimes at a reduced cost. Be mindful to choose unsalted or unsweetened varieties when possible.
Keep Nuts and Fiber on Your Grocery List
Almonds and walnuts have shown to help with heart health. Fiber can help lower blood cholesterol, and it keeps you full, which helps you maintain a healthy weight.
Finally, make sure to stay hydrated year round, not just in the hotter months of the year. Challenge yourself to drink 8-10 glasses of water per day. As we age, some seniors are prone to dehydration simply because our bodies are less efficient at regulating fluid levels and the innate sense of thirst may not be as sharp.
No matter how healthy your diet, eating the same foods over and over is bound to get boring. Rekindle inspiration by browsing produce at a farmers market, reading a cooking magazine, buying foods or spices you haven’t tried before, or chatting with friends about what they eat. By making variety a priority, you’ll find it easier to get creative with healthy meals.
*Source: National Institute of Aging