Eating right as an older adult takes a bit more effort. Even if you stay the same weight as you age, you have less lean muscle mass and your metabolism slows down, which means you need fewer calories than you once did. At the same time, your nutrient needs stay the same or even increase. Your body may have trouble absorbing certain nutrients, such as B12 and magnesium.
That’s why making every bite count is even more important for seniors.
“One needs to be a little more careful about choosing food. The amount of nutrients per calorie should be relatively high,” says Alice H. Lichtenstein, director of the Cardiovascular Nutrition Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (HNRCA) at Tufts.
To help, Lichtenstein and other HNRCA scientists, with the support of the AARP Foundation, recently released an updated MyPlate for Older Adults, a graphic that provides an at-a-glance overview of what constitutes a healthy diet. On May 18, representatives from the HNRCA and the AARP Foundation will meet with policymakers and advocates for older adults in Washington, D.C., to present the graphic and discuss the nutritional needs of seniors, who often don’t get enough of important nutrients. Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass., chair of the House Hunger Caucus, will be the featured speaker.