Senior Citizen's Guide digital books
Senior Citizen's Guide to Baltimore

Nutrition for Seniors
Diet and Exercise

Below are several ways to incorporate diet and exercise into your everyday life. Don’t worry about doing them all at once; this is just a guide to help you feel great and enjoy senior living. Start with a few and begin to incorporate more of the tips over time. The amount of attention you pay to diet and exercise will effect the way you feel.

  1. Eat three healthy meals during the day, including a good breakfast. Skipping meals causes increased hunger and may lead to excessive snacking.
  1. Focus on fruits and vegetables. Top off your morning cereal with sliced strawberries or bananas. Stir berries or peaches in yogurt or cottage cheese. Liven up your sandwiches with vegetables, such as tomato, lettuce, onion, peppers and cucumber. Eat 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables daily.
  1. Weigh yourself regularly. Monitoring your weight can tell you whether your efforts are working and can help you detect small weight gains before they become even larger.
  1. Don’t keep comfort foods in the house. If you tend to eat high-fat, high-calorie foods when you’re upset or depressed or bored, don’t keep them around. Availability of food is one the strongest factors in determining how much a person eat.
  1. Plan a family activity. Get the family together to go for a bike ride, play disc golf or kick the ball around in the yard.
  1. Eat healthy foods first. Eat foods that are healthy and low in calories first so that when it comes time to enjoy sweets or junk food, for example, you won’t be hungry.
  1. Pay attention to portions. Serve meals already dished onto plates instead of placing serving bowls on the table. Take slightly less than what you think you’ll eat. You can always have seconds, if really necessary.
  1. Create opportunities to be active. Wash your car at home instead of going to the car wash. Bike or walk to the store. Participate in your kid’s activities at the playground or park.
  1. Sit down together for family meals. Avoid eating in front of the television. TV viewing strongly affects how much and what people eat.
  1. See what you eat. Eating directly from a container gives you no sense of how much you’re eating. Seeing food on a plate or in a bowl keeps you aware of how much you’re eating.
  1. Vary your activities. Regularly change your activity routine to avoid exercise burnout. Walk a couple of days, swim another and go for a bike ride on the weekend. Seek out new activities: karate, ballroom dancing, cross-country skiing, tennis, or Pilates.
  1. De-stress your day. Stress can cause you to eat more. Develop strategies that can help you relax when you find yourself becoming stressed. Exercise, deep breathing, muscle relaxation techniques and even a good laugh can ease stress.
  1. Don’t have seconds.
  1. Use low fat or fat free dairy foods.
  1. Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  1. Eat slowly.
  1. Use the stairs instead of elevator.
  1. Park your car farther out in the parking lot.
  1. Get out a bus stop early and walk the last two blocks.
  1. Walk the mall.
  1. Doggy bag after a big restaurant meal for another day.
  1. Treat yourself! Have a small serving of your favorite food once in a while.

You may have noticed that nutrition for the elderly is not much different from nutrition for people of any age. The idea is to be sensible and incorporate exercise with proper dietary habits to lead a healthier lifestyle. Not overdoing it at the dinner table and enjoying aerobic activity are the key.

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