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Nutrition Notes

Healthy eating for older women

nutrition month graphicMarch is National Nutrition Month, a campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to focus attention on healthful eating and developing long-term sound eating and physical activity habits. The theme for 2016, “Savor the Flavor of Eating Right,” encourages everyone to appreciate the pleasures, flavors, and social experiences food can add to our lives. On March 8, we also recognize International Women’s Day, celebrating the achievements of women. In honor of Nutrition Month and women, let’s take a look at nutrition recommendations for aging women.

It’s never too late to improve your diet! As we age, the benefits of adopting a healthy diet include increased energy, increased resistance to illness, decreased stress, and helping you look and feel your best physically and mentally so you can enjoy your life.

Healthy Eating Suggestions

  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Balance the food you eat with physical activity; maintain healthy weight.
  • Eat plenty of whole grains, vegetables, fruits, water.
  • Select foods low in sugar and salt.

Many older women need fewer calories than they did in their younger years. A sedentary woman over 50 needs approximately 1600 calories daily, while an active woman needs 2000+ calories.

How much protein do women need? A woman over 50 weighing 140 pounds needs at least 64 grams of protein daily. Select poultry, dairy, beans, fish, limiting red and processed meats. Add beans to soups and stews and snack on nuts, seeds, and yogurt instead of cookies or chips.

Whole grains, fiber, “good” carbohydrates: Many people think they should eliminate carbohydrates to lose weight or control diabetes. Carbohydrates are an important part of a healthy diet and shouldn’t be eliminated. “Good” carbohydrates are high in fiber, help make you feel full longer, and include high fiber cereals, whole grains, and brown rice. Fiber benefits digestive health and can lower your risk of diabetes and other diseases. Other fiber sources include nuts, seeds, fruits, and vegetables.

Bone health: As women are at risk of developing osteoporosis, calcium and vitamin D are crucial for bone health. Calcium sources include dairy, green leafy vegetables, and calcium-fortified cereals and orange juice. Vitamin D sources include sunlight, salmon, and dairy, however supplements are often necessary.

Choose healthy fats, including olive oil, avocado, and salmon, to protect against heart disease.

Don’t eat alone or skip meals. Sometimes it’s easier to eat unhealthy food. Eating with others helps you enjoy meals and eat healthier. As the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests, “How, when, why and where we eat are just as important as what we eat. Develop a mindful eating pattern that includes nutritious and flavorful foods.”

Additional Information

Consider joining us for a meal at one of our dining centers (find a complete list here), or call LifePath to set up Meals on Wheels: 413-773-5555 or 978-544-2259.