Nutrition for Adults’ Life: Older Adults: Your Needs Are Different… Or Are They

During these years your diet and activity may change. Life changes may affect how you eat and how active you are. There are many ways in which you can eat healthy and stay active


Eat regular meals based on a variety of foods, with moderation in portion sizes. Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet that includes lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Be physically active. Drink lots of fluids, especially water. Nutritional supplements should be discussed with your doctor.


Food assistance programs:Home-delivered and congregate meals Administration on Aging 1-800-677-1116 or USDA’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Michigan 1-800-481-4989


Nutrition Tips for Older Adults:

Prepare meals attractively with lots of color, flavor, shapes, textures and smells

Add flavor enhancing ingredients such as herbs and spices

Read food labels carefully

Eat with other people

Eat in a pleasant area


Older adults may have problems getting the recommended amount of these nutrients in their diet.

Protein: Men need about 56 grams of protein and women need about 46 grams of protein daily. Good sources of protein are lean meats and fish, low fat dairy and soy products.

Iron, Zinc: Good sources of iron include lean meats, fish, iron-fortified cereal, as well as vegetables such as dark green leafy vegetables, beans and peas. Good sources of zinc are lean meat, fish, whole-grain products, eggs and milk.

Calcium: Older adults need about 1,200 milligrams of calcium daily to maintain strong teeth and bones. Good sources of calcium include low fat dairy products such as low-fat or skim milk, low-fat or fat-free yogurt and cheese, calcium-fortified juice and cereals, and broccoli and greens.

Vitamin D: Vitamin D is produced in skin from sunlight. Good food sources of this vitamin include vitamin D fortified milk and cereal.

Physical Activity

Physical activity is important for staying healthy. Here are a few suggestions for how to include activity in your day:

  • Clean the house
  • Garden
  • Play with grand- children
  • Go for a walk with a friend or pet
  • Go bowling
  • Join a community center program
  • Take up a dance class such as ballroom dancing
  • Play a game of tennis or golf
  • Swim or do water exercises (especially good if you have arthritis)

For examples of strength training exercises and other valuable exercises visit: beginning an exercise program, check with your doctor and start off slow to avoid overexertion and accidents.

Benefits of Physical Activity

Improves your strength so you can do daily tasks Improves your balance and coordination, so you are less likely to fall Keeps your heart and lungs working well Keeps you from being sick as often Makes you feel good Helps you stay independent


Food and Nutrition Information Center

Go to: Lifecycle Nutrition under “Subject,” then go to: Aging

Center for Disease Control and Prevention


Consumer Advice for Seniors

Go to: Life Stages under “Subject,” then go to: Seniors