How to Eat a Well-Balanced Diet While Aging
October 02, 2019 | Abigail Mckay

How to Eat a Well-Balanced Diet While Aging


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One of the familiar and unfortunate complaints frequently associated with the aging process is that appetite tends to decline. Lack of appetite can contribute to considerable weight loss and possibly unhealthy eating habits, leading to altered lipids levels and blood sugar. While reduced appetite is common throughout the aging process, it is still vital to understand how to eat well. Two main reasons for malnutrition in the elderly include lack of appetite and noticed differences regarding how food tastes. Decreased sensitivity to the five senses is one of the age-related challenges that can drastically impair your nutritional status. The taste buds are diminished due to the amount of time that they have been operating. The smell, which is a driving force behind the desire to eat, is also significantly reduced. That means both senses that primarily drive your desire to eat are suffering. While these things are not correctable, there are ways to work around the natural changes associated with the aging process. 


When approaching diet and nutrition regarding those over the age of 65, it is essential to stick with the basics and not make “diet” a tricky word.  While you may have decreased senses, it is still obviously necessary to eat. Try making your foods appealing and visually stimulating, which can help convince your mind that you are indeed hungry. Also, some have reported that eating smaller meals throughout the day is more appealing than three large meals. This is an excellent alternative to ensure you are still consuming enough food to meet your caloric goal. Discuss with your physician how much you should be eating each day. Your doctor might suggest an appointment with a registered dietician who will be able to better guide you on what and how much to eat. To learn about ways to boost your appetite when you are 65 years or older, read below.


1. Season your food with herbs and spices to provide more of an enhanced flavor, which can stimulate taste buds.


2. Add naturally sweetened foods and instead of reaching for the ice cream tub or a slice of cake every night, substitute a handful of strawberries or blueberries topped with whipped cream. This will curb your sweet tooth, but it is a healthier alternative than sugary sweets.  


3. Meal planning is a productive way to increase your food consumption.  Not only will it encourage you to eat what is in your refrigerator before it goes bad, but it is also financially sound.  Additionally, you will have the opportunity to find meals that appeal to your senses that particular week.


4. Plan to have a friend over once or twice a week to prepare and share a meal. It will provide company and friendship, but it will also encourage you to eat a well-rounded meal. 

These tips serve as a good starting point to encourage those over the age of 65 to eat appropriately. The body cannot function optimally without the proper food flooding the body each day. Despite the various disadvantages that can plague the elderly population in regards to proper nutrition, it is vital to find ways to overcome them. Speak with a physician at Shifa4U if you fall into the population of people 65 years or older to discuss ways to promote positive eating habits.

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Abigail Mckay

Abigail has been a nurse for five years, and throughout her time as a nurse, she has worked in multiple medical-surgical units as well as spent time in the infusion therapy clinic and endoscopy lab. She is passionate about preventative medicine through patient education regarding nutrition and exercise. Due to her passion, Abigail has gone on to earn two certifications including a certification in medical-surgical nursing (CMSRN) and a certification in holistic nursing (HNB-BC), in hopes of being able to better serve her patients. Abigail earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA and now bettering patient education in the healthcare system through partnering with American TelePhysicians.