C. Lulu Fulda on healthy eating for seniors – LIVING WELL Magazine

Healthy Eating for Seniors

By C. LuLu Fulda, dietary manager, RD eligible, New Orleans LIVING WELL Magazine

For seniors, a healthy lifestyle is the key to aging well. It can keep your body free of chronic diseases, help to retain a sharp mind, and extend the quality of your life, (ADA, 2011).

Older adults should follow the recommendations of the USDA’s 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans by:

-Increasing intake of fruits and vegetables; particularly dark green, red, and orange colored ones

-Varying sources of protein to include lean meats and poultry, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, and nuts and seeds

-Consuming at least ½ of all grains as whole grains

-Increasing intake of low fat milk products

-Using oils instead of solid fats like butter, margarine, or lard

Seniors also need to increase their intake of certain nutrients due to the bodies’ changing needs:

-Calcium and Vitamin D to help maintain bone health

-Sources include fortified milk products and cereals, dark green and leafy vegetables, and fish with soft bones like sardines

-Vitamin B-12, which is involved in red blood cell formation and DNA synthesis

-Sources include fortified cereals, lean meats, poultry, milk products, and some seafood

-Fiber for digestive regularity, weight control, and disease prevention and treatment

-Good sources include whole grains, beans and peas, and fresh fruits and vegetables

-Potassium to prevent or treat high blood pressure

-Sources include fruits, vegetables, and milk products

Finally, older adults need to stay active! The USDA recommends at least 30 minutes of physical activity every day. If you are currently inactive, check with your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Then, begin with just a few minutes of activity every day.

For additional help, visit a registered dietitian or go to the American Dietetic Association’s website at www.eatright.org. In addition, the USDA’s Dietary Guidelines website,  www.choosemyplate.com, can help you create a plan that’s right for you.


  1. Healthy Aging.  American Dietetic Association Web site.  http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6837.  Accessed April 21, 2011.
  2. Chronic diseases and health promotion.  Updated October 7, 2009.  Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Web site.  http://www.cdc.gov/nccdphp/overview.htm.  Accessed April 22, 2011.
  3. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010.  Updated January 31, 2011.  US Department of Agriculture Web site.  http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/dietaryguidelines.htm.  Accessed April 22, 2011.

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