Healthy eating and
regular physical activity are keys to good health at any
age. They can lower your risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes,
heart disease, cancer, and other chronic diseases. They can
even help ward off depression and keep your mind sharp as
This brochure offers tips and tools to help people
aged 65 and over eat well and get active. Talk to your
health care provider for more specific advice if you have
health problems or concerns. Remember, it is never too late
to make healthy changes in your life.
What is healthy eating?
healthy eating plan includes a wide variety of foods.
Every day, you should try to eat:*
to 11 servings of bread, cereal, rice, or pasta. One
serving equals one slice of bread, 1 ounce of
ready-to-eat cereal (about 1 cup of most cereals), or
1/2 cup cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.
to 5 servings of vegetables. One serving equals 1 cup of
raw, leafy vegetables or 1/2 cup of chopped vegetables,
cooked or raw.
to 4 servings of fruit. One serving equals one medium
piece of fruit like an apple, banana, or orange; 1/2 cup
of chopped fresh, cooked, or canned fruit; 1/4 cup of
dried fruit; or 3/4 cup of 100 percent fruit juice.
servings of milk, yogurt, or cheese. One serving equals
1 cup of milk or yogurt, 1 1/2 ounces of natural cheese
like cheddar or mozzarella, or 2 ounces of processed
cheese like American.
to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs,
or nuts. One serving of cooked meat, poultry, or fish is
2 to 3 ounces; you should eat no more than 5 to 7 ounces
a day. One cup of beans, 2 eggs, 4 tablespoons of peanut
butter, or 2/3 cup of nuts also equal one serving.
Servings and serving sizes are from the U.S. Department of
Agriculture/Department of Health and Human Services Food
for healthy eating
you stay on track with your healthy eating plan, follow
breakfast every day.
high-fiber foods like whole grains
cereals, beans, vegetables and
fruits. They can
help keep you regular and lower your risk for
chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2
lean beef, turkey breast, fish, or chicken with the
skin removed to lower the amount of fat and calories
in your meals. As you age, your body needs fewer
calories, especially if you are not very active.
three servings of low-fat milk, yogurt, or cheese a
day. Dairy products are high in calcium and vitamin
D and help keep your bones strong as you age. If you
have trouble digesting or do not like dairy
products, try reduced-lactose milk products, or
calcium-fortified orange juice, soy-based beverages,
or tofu. You can also talk to your health care
provider about taking a calcium and vitamin D
nutrient-rich snacks like dried apricots, whole
wheat crackers, peanut butter, low-fat cheese, and
low-sodium soup on hand. Eat only small amounts of
dried apricots, peanut butter, and other
high-calorie foods. Limit how often you have
high-fat and high-sugar snacks like cake, candy,
chips, and soda.
plenty of water. You may notice that you feel less
thirsty as you get older, but your body still needs
the same amount of water. Aim for eight to ten
8-ounce glasses of water, unless your health care
provider tells you to drink less because you have
heart or kidney problems. Water-based beverages like
milk or juice count towards your daily amount of
Planning and preparing your meals
is easier to eat well when you plan for your meals and make
them enjoyable. Try these tips:
shop with a friend. It is pleasant and can help save you
money if you share items that you can only use half of,
such as a bag of potatoes or head of cabbage.
ahead and freeze portions to have healthy and easy meals
on hand for days when you do not feel like cooking.
frozen or canned vegetables, beans, and fruits on hand
for quick and healthy additions to meals. Rinse canned
veggies and beans under cold running water to lower
their salt content.
for fruit canned in juice or light syrup.
new recipes or different herbs and spices to spark your
interest in food. Set the table with a nice cloth and
even a flower in a vase to make mealtime special.
regularly with someone whose company you enjoy.
you are unable to cook for yourself, find out about a
community program in your area that serves meals or delivers
"Meals on Wheels." Call the Eldercare Locator at
1-800-677-1116 for information on the program nearest you.
Check with your health care provider
you have a problem eating well, such as trouble chewing or
not wanting to eat, talk to your health care provider or a
registered dietitian. They can give you specific advice on
following a healthy eating plan. Check with your dentist
about caring for your teeth or dentures and your gums.
death of a loved one or moving from your home of many years
may affect your desire to eat. Talk to your health care
provider if events in your life are keeping you from eating
your health care provider if you should take a daily
multi-vitamin/mineral supplement. No pills have been proven
to "stop aging" or "improve your
memory." Taking a "one-a-day" type, however,
can help you meet the nutrient needs of your body every day.
Healthy eating plan
Guide Pyramid, whole grains,
herbs, vegetables and
Weight-control Information Network (WIN)