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Healthy Eating Tips from a Nutrition Savvy Senior

June 2, 2015 by Adrienne Ngai, Registered Dietitian

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My mom is a nutrition savvy senior who likes to keep up-to-date with nutrition trends and new food products. She and her friends are always looking for ways to eat well. They share nutrition advice based on tradition, what they learn from doctors on TV, chain emails, and popular websites. My mom is always excited to share, confirm, and apply what she learns with me.One of the challenges my mom and her friends face is shopping and meal planning for fewer people. I’d like to share the tips my mom uses to make healthy meals and snacks for two.

The Healthy Eating for Seniors handbook has tips and recipes to help older adults address barriers to healthy eating, including shopping, planning, and cooking for one or two people. This handbook is available in English and French and is also adapted and translated into Chinese and Punjabi.

Shopping Tips:

  • Make and keep a shopping list during the week to keep track of what you need. This helps avoid impulse purchases.
  • Many grocery stores have Senior Days. Mark these days in your calendar to take advantage of discounted items.
  • Find the best deals by comparing the unit price, such as price per gram (ounce) or price per kg (pound) on shelf labels. Often store brands are more affordable.
  • Shop with a friend. Buying in bulk can be less expensive - you can split the cost of foods and get the quantity you want by sharing with friends. It’s also a great social activity!
  • Buy frozen or canned vegetables and fruits. They don’t spoil as quickly as fresh ones, are easy to prepare, and are often a more affordable option. Fresh, frozen, and canned vegetables and fruit are all nutritious choices. Look for canned fruit packed in water or juice. Drain and rinse canned vegetables before using to lower the salt content.
  • Choose lower sodium options of canned soups, fish, beans and legumes, and prepared meals.
  • Check the “best before” date, especially for discounted items – they may be close to expiry.

Meal Planning Tips:

  • Plan to eat three meals and one to three snacks per day. Here are some healthy snack ideas.
  • Use your plate as a guide to plan healthy, balanced meals. Make ½ your plate vegetables and fruit, choosing dark green and orange vegetables (such as spinach, broccoli, carrots, and winter squash). Fill the rest of your plate with whole grains (such as brown rice, quinoa, and whole grain pasta), and meat and alternatives (such as beans, tofu, fish, chicken, and meat). Add a serving of milk or milk alternatives (such as a cup of milk or fortified soy beverage or ¾ cup of yogurt) to complete your meal.

As you age, your appetite may become reduced. It’s important to eat throughout the day to meet nutrition needs and keep you feeling your best. Learn about ways to get a few more nibbles in. To get more information on healthy eating, call 8-1-1 to speak with a Registered Dietitian, Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.


Related blogs

Tips to Lower Sodium
Tea with Nan – Part 1
Tea with Nan – Part 2

Recommended resources

HealthlinkBC: Healthy Eating for Seniors Handbook
Dietitians of Canada: Healthy Snacks for Adults
Dietitians of Canada: Seniors
CPMA - Half Your Plate

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