Office for the Aging

 
 

Older Americans Month Reminder: Healthy Eating is Important for Healthy Aging

May is Older Americans Month, a time to recognize and celebrate older adults in our communities. Today’s older Americans are working longer, staying active, and striving for better health and wellness. Good nutrition is a key component of healthy aging, and maintaining a balanced diet can help prevent illness and chronic disease.

To adopt healthier eating habits, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics encourages people to make small changes over time, which will help us have better health now and as we age. Three key concepts are highlighted in the Academy’s “Put Your Best Fork Forward” campaign to promote healthy eating and good nutrition:

  1. The importance of making informed food choices.

    Learn how to read the new nutrition facts label. Companies must use the new label by July 2018:
    • Read how many servings are in a container and what a serving size is.
    • Check out total calories in a single serving (consider how many servings you plan to eat).
    • Use percent Daily Value (DV) to decide if the food fits into your eating plan for the day. Five percent (5%) or less is low. Twenty percent (20%) or more is high.
    • Limit saturated fat, trans fat, sodium, and added sugars. Aim for low % DV.
    • Eat more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Aim for high % DV. Vitamin A and C are no longer required on the label, and have been replaced with Vitamin D and Potassium. Calcium and Iron remain on the label.
    • Read the ingredients list. Ingredients are in order of what is in the food in the largest amount first and then stated in descending order. Eight major allergenic foods must be identified if the food is derived from them: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, peanuts, wheat, and soybeans.
  2. Developing sound eating habits.

    • Eat breakfast daily.
    • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables (Goal of two C fruit and two and half C vegetables daily)
    • Watch portion sizes. (Check your usual portion with the recommended serving size.)
    • Have healthy snacks on hand.
    • Follow food safety guidelines (regular hand washing, cooking foods to the right temperature, keeping raw and ready to eat foods separate, and refrigerating food quickly).
    • Drink more water (avoid sugary drinks).
    • Eat seafood twice a week. (Seafood contains healthy omega-3 fats.)
    • • Cut back on added sugars. (Check labels and limit intake to less than 10 percent of daily caloric intake.)

  3. Developing sound physical activity habits.

    • Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day.
    • Physical activity can even be broken into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day and still be beneficial.

Resources

https://www.fda.gov/Food/ResourcesForYou/Consumers

www.homefoodsafety.org

https://www.choosemyplate.gov/

References: Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: http://www.eatright.org/