It is almost March! “Eat Right, Your Way, Every Day” is the theme of this year’s National Nutrition Month celebrated in March across America. Because dietary nutrients change as we age, National Nutrition Month is an excellent time to make sure senior loved ones’ diets include more of the following:
- Calcium and Vitamin D to help maintain strong bone health. Older adults should eat three servings of vitamin D-fortified low-fat or free-free milk or yogurt daily. Other sources of calcium-rich foods include dark green leafy vegetables, canned fish and fortified cereals and fruit juices.
- Vitamin B12 is often low in people older than 50. Lean meat, fortified cereals and some fish and seafood are excellent sources of vitamin B12.
- Potassium is found in fruits, vegetables, and milk and yogurt products. To lower high blood pressure, seniors should increase potassium in their diets while reducing sodium or salt intake.
- Fiber found in whole-grain breads and cereals, beans, peas, fruits and vegetables is a natural way to stay regular, prevent Type 2 diabetes, control weight and lower one’s risk for heart disease.
- Healthier Fats found in olive oil and peanut oil, for example, are considered polyunsaturated or monounsaturated vs. saturated and trans fats found in many commercially processed and baked foods.
To help people think about healthy food choices, the U.S. Department of Agriculture presents the Dietary Guidelines for Americans with the five essential food groups and offers the ChooseMyPlate.gov website with recommended daily calorie allowances, nutrition tips, and sample menus and recipes.
How do you ensure your aging loved ones are eating a healthy, balanced diet?