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Older Adults

Older Adults

Eating healthy has benefits that can help people ages 60 and up.

As we age, healthy eating can make a difference in our health, help to improve how we feel, and encourage a sense of well-being.

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Unique Needs of People Ages 60+

  • Enjoy a variety of foods from each food group to help reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.
  • Choose foods with little to no added sugar, saturated fats, and sodium.
  • Get enough protein during your day to maintain muscle mass.
  • Focus on the nutrients you need, including potassium, calcium, vitamin D, dietary fiber, and vitamin B12.
  • With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low- or fat-free milk, including lactose-free options or fortified soy beverage and 100% juice can also help you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight or prevent additional weight gain by following a healthy dietary pattern and adopting an active lifestyle.
  • Learn how much to eat from all five food groups and find out how many calories you need each day to help you maintain energy using the MyPlate Plan.
  • Try to prevent foodborne illness (food poisoning) by keeping food safe. Learn more about the four steps to safer food choices—Clean, Separate, Cook, and Chill—at FoodSafety.gov.
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Nutrition Tips for Ages 60+

Eating habits change throughout the life span. Learn how the foods and drinks choose each day help you meet daily nutrient needs, maintain a healthy body weight, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

  • Eat seafood, dairy or fortified soy alternatives, beans, peas, and lentils to help maintain muscle mass.
  • Add fruits and vegetables to your meals and snacks. If slicing and chopping is a challenge, choose frozen, canned, or ready-to-eat options.
  • Turn eating into a social event. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite friends to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. Some community centers and places of worship offer meals that are shared with others. There are many ways to make mealtimes pleasing.
  • The body’s ability to absorb vitamin B12 can decrease with age. Taking certain medicines can also lower absorption. Eating enough protein and fortified foods can help the body get the vitamin B12 it needs. Speak with your healthcare provider to learn if you should take supplements and what is right for you. 
  • If you use or are thinking about taking dietary supplements, talk about this with your healthcare provider to learn what is right for you. This includes nutrition supplement drinks, which can have added sugars. The My Dietary Supplement and Medicine Record can help you track your supplement and medicine use.

Be Active

Being physically active can help you stay strong and independent. For older adults, regular physical activity supports a number of health benefits, including brain function, balance, and bone strength.

  • Try to get at least 150 minutes (or two and a half hours) of moderate activity per week. Moderate means any activity that gets your heart beating faster.
  • Do activities that make your muscles work harder than usual at least two days of the week.
  • Learn more in the Move Your Way Fact Sheet for Older Adults.

MyPlate Tips on Alexa

Get MyPlate nutrition information straight to your home on your Amazon Alexa smart speaker, or on your phone or tablet via the free Amazon Alexa app. For more information, visit our MyPlate Alexa page.

Below are some of the many tips available for older adults. And just like the MyPlate.gov website and MyPlate tools, all of the information provided by MyPlate on Alexa is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025.

Calcium and Vitamin D

The nutrients in dairy are important for all ages. Include foods like low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt. Need an alternative? Try lactose-free dairy milk or yogurt that's low-fat or fat-free. You can also try fortified soy versions.

Protein and Vitamin B12

Keep seafood on hand. Canned seafood, such as salmon, tuna, or crab, is quick to prepare and enjoy. Canned items also store well.

Sodium/ Salt

Look for cue words. Items that are “pickled,” “brined,” or “cured” tend to be high in sodium. Include these foods in your meals sparingly.

Dietary Fiber

Start your meal with veggies. If you start your meal with a salad or eat your vegetables first, you will feel full sooner and ensure that you get valuable vegetable nutrients.

Healthy Eating

Try a twist on a dish. Substitute unsweetened applesauce for butter when baking, or use low-fat milk when a recipe calls for cream. Experiment with low-salt herbs and spices.

Added Sugars

Satisfy your sweet tooth. Indulge in a naturally sweet dessert – fruit! Enjoy a fresh fruit salad, baked apples with cinnamon, or a piece of fruit right out of the fridge.

Fats

Choose your sauce. Pick sauces made from vegetables like marinara, rather than cream or butter sauces to limit calories from saturated fat. You can ask for them on the side or for the dish to be prepared with less or no sauce.

Beverages

Perk up plain water or seltzer water with lemon, lime, or orange slices. Maybe even add some fresh mint leaves or a few fresh or frozen berries.

Dairy/ Fortified Soy Alternatives

Move to low-fat or fat-free dairy milk or yogurt, or lactose-free dairy or fortified soy versions.

Grains

Instead of sandwich bread, try a whole-grain pita, tortillas, naan or other whole-grain flatbread, sliced breads, or rolls.

Resources

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Healthy Eating for Older Adults Tip Sheet

English    Spanish

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Take the MyPlate Quiz

English    Spanish

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Healthy Eating on a Budget

English    Spanish

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Get Your MyPlate Plan

English    Spanish

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Move Your Way Older Adult Fact Sheet

English    Spanish

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Move Your Way: Activity Planner

English    Spanish

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Using the Nutrition Facts Label for Older Adults

English    Spanish

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MyPlate Tip Sheets

English    Spanish

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More Print Materials

English   Spanish

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Shop Simple home screen on a phone

Shop Simple with MyPlate

Find savings in your area and discover new ways to prepare budget-friendly foods.

Learn more

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Alexa Speakers and Devices

MyPlate on Alexa

Get MyPlate nutrition tips on Amazon Alexa devices or the free Alexa app.

Learn more

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Start Simple app on phone and watch

Start Simple with MyPlate App

Build healthy eating habits one goal at a time! Download the Start Simple with MyPlate app today.

Learn more

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MyPlate.gov is based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2020-2025