Food and Diet Plan for Seniors: Nourishing Your Way to Wellness

Seniors Benefit Authors Image

As we get older, our body demands more nutrients and vitamins. Fortunately, opting for healthy foods can help compensate for the body’s nutrient needs. That’s where a good diet plan comes at the top priority.

Planning your meals can be quite frustrating considering there are a lot of options to choose from and many factors to consider. To help prevent that from happening, I will share some valuable tips to make your meal planning easier and simpler to prepare.

What Foods To Focus On In Your Senior Years

As we get older, our risk of getting diseases increases. That’s why it's crucial to include foods that are loaded with nutrients in our daily meals. Some of the best food options for your meal plan include:

Protein-rich foods

Seniors are more prone to falls and fractures because of muscle loss and weakened bones. Protein is considered the building blocks of life and it helps in the production of cells. This means that it will help improve strength and regain muscle mass among seniors. Examples of these foods are:

  • Tofu
  • Eggs
  • Chicken
  • Beef
  • Fish meats such as salmon and tuna

Fruits and vegetables

When we were little, doctors and parents always said that we should eat a lot of fruits and vegetables to grow strong and healthy. But just like children, seniors also need to eat lots of fruits and vegetables.

Known for being loaded with vitamins, minerals, and fibers, these foods will help keep your body healthy and strong against diseases. Regular consumption of these foods can even lower your risk of getting chronic illnesses.

Some of the best fruit and vegetable choices include:

  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Beans and lentils
  • Green leafy veggies such as spinach
  • Cruciferous veggies such as broccoli and cauliflower
  • Berries such as strawberries and blueberries


Also known as the “good bacteria”. Probiotics help in the digestion and absorption of nutrients in the body. Listed below are just some of the best sources of probiotics.

  • Yogurt
  • Buttermilk
  • Miso
  • Sauerkraut
  • Kimchi

Dietary fats

Not all fats are considered bad for your body, in fact, there are 2 types of fats that are good. These are called monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat, which are good sources of energy. Healthy fats can be found in:

  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Nuts
  • Avocado
  • Olive oil
  • Coconut oil

Daily Eating Recommendations for Seniors

In planning your meals, make sure to include all necessary foods from different food groups. According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), a healthy daily diet for seniors should include:

  1. Fruits - 2 to 5 servings per day
  2. Vegetables - 2 to 2 ½ cups per day
  3. Protein - 65 grams per day
  4. Sodium - Maximum of 1500 mg per day
  5. Calcium - Maximum of 1200 mg per day
  6. Whole Grains - 6 to 7 oz. per day

Note: If you want to make sure that you’re eating just right, you can use USDA’s MyPlate tool to help you plan your meals with the right amount of foods from different food groups.

What To Consider Before Planning Your Meal

Before starting your meal plan for your or your elderly loved one, here are some things you should consider first:

  • Teeth loss - Tooth loss is not uncommon among seniors. It’s one of the most common signs of old age. If you are a loved one or a caregiver, it’s important to choose foods that are light and easy to chew. Juices, soups, porridge, and sauces are just several ideas.
  • The decline in the sense of smell and taste - Old age also affects the sense of smell and taste, which is one of the reasons why seniors lose their appetite. To make every meal more exciting for you or your elderly loved one, use various flavorings and seasonings to make every meal savory and attractive. Adding a bit of color like greens in veggies or yellows in potatoes might also be helpful.
  • Food/diet restrictions - Some seniors with existing health conditions have diet restrictions set by their physician. If you fall under that category, make sure to take note of your current food restrictions and do not include them on your meal plan, and instead find some alternatives that include the same amount of nutrients.
  • Vitamins and food supplements - Though vitamins and food supplements can help with nutrient and vitamin deficiencies, it’s essential to take note that you should still focus on actual foods that are high in nutrients.
Tips on Meal Planning for Seniors

To help you start your meal planning, here are several valuable tips you should keep in mind:

  • Plan your meals - Deciding what to eat can be quite frustrating especially for seniors, given all the factors that should be considered. The best time to plan your meals for the week is a day before your scheduled visit to the market. In this way, you’ll be able to allot enough budget for your meals for the coming week, and it will also help you avoid overbuying supplies.
  • Opt for budget-friendly foods - It’s okay to be thrifty so long as your health and nutrition needs are not at stake. If you already have an outline of your meal plan, now it’s time to list down all the needed ingredients. Listing down helps you control your budget and prevents you from buying unnecessary things or foods. To give you an idea about healthy, nutritious, and budget-friendly foods, you can find cheap, easy-to-prepare, and healthy recipes.
  • Monitor calories - Seniors’ daily calorie consumption should be in small amounts. Too much calories may cause various illnesses and obesity, that’s why monitoring your daily calorie intake is a crucial part of meal planning. Talk to your physician or health care provider to know your ideal daily calorie needs. Once you already know your calorie limits it’ll be easier for you to choose foods suitable for your health.
  • Think about preparation time - Are you a senior who is living alone or with a caregiver? Are you a caregiver who’s loaded with duties or have a hobby in cooking? These are just some questions to ask when meal planning. It’s also important to choose recipes that are easier to prepare especially if you are a caregiver loaded with other duties. On the other hand, if cooking is your hobby, then it’s up to you if you want to prepare simple or specialty dishes.
  • Know the recommended daily nutrients for you - Knowing your body’s needed nutrients is as important as monitoring your calories. Refer to USDA’s eating recommendations for seniors mentioned earlier in this article.

Take Aways

Meal planning is an important step to practicing a healthy lifestyle, especially for us seniors. This is because our bodies need an extra amount of nutrients to keep bones, muscles, skin, and the immune system strong and healthy.

Related Article
The Mediterranean Diet: A Delicious Path to Heart Health and Longevity

The Mediterranean diet is one of the most recommended diet plans for adults and seniors as it promotes good overall health and reduces one’s risks of chronic illnesses. Not only that, studies revealed that Mediterranean diet can also be a good memory help for seniors who are experiencing cognitive decline.

Read More
Food and Diet Plan for Seniors: Nourishing Your Way to Wellness

As we get older, our body demands more nutrients and vitamins. Fortunately, opting for healthy foods can help compensate for the body’s nutrient needs. That’s where a good diet plan comes at the top priority.

Read More
What Are The Building Blocks of Proteins: From Sequence to Structure

Proteins are considered the building blocks of life because of their crucial role in maintaining various processes in our body. This macromolecule is present in almost every part of us including bones, muscles, hormones, enzymes, and the bloodstream, without it, our body will not be able to function properly.

Read More
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram