The more we learn about nutrition, the more we understand the important role it plays in aging well. Eating a well-balanced diet means consuming meals rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. It also means reducing processed foods and sugary treats.
That combination gives your body the vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients it needs to fight off diseases. High blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and some forms of cancer have been linked to a poor diet.
The USDA’s MyPlate program was designed to help older adults develop meal plans that meet their unique nutritional needs. Seniors have different dietary needs, such as increased amounts of vitamin D and vitamin B, than younger adults.
For many seniors, two healthy snacks per day help stabilize blood sugar between meals (which helps prevent overeating) and maintain energy levels. While they may be more convenient, store-bought snacks are often high in sodium, fat, sugar, and preservatives. A healthier option is to prepare your own snacks and keep them on hand at home or in a cooler when you travel.
Here are a few snacks that won’t compromise your commitment to living a healthy lifestyle as you grow older:
- Baked apple chips sprinkled with cinnamon
- Frozen grapes or a frozen banana
- Hummus with carrots and cucumber slices
- Greek yogurt with peach slices or fresh berries
- A handful of roasted almonds or heart-healthy walnuts
- Glass of unsweetened almond or cashew milk
- Cherry tomatoes with mozzarella cheese
- Whole-grain popcorn (skip the salt and butter!)
- Apple slices and almond butter or natural peanut butter
- Whole-grain crackers topped with canned tuna
- Bowl of oatmeal topped with blueberries
- Black bean dip with veggie stick dippers
- Hard-cooked egg
- Avocado on whole-wheat toast
- Melon with low-fat cottage cheese
- Sliced tomato with feta cheese and a drizzle of olive oil
- Whole-grain toast with low-fat cream cheese and raspberries
- Pita bread with black beans
- Homemade baked sweet potato chips
- Celery with nut butter and raisins
- Salsa with baked tortilla chips
- Edamame seasoned with sesame oil
- Turkey slices
- Kale chips
- Unsweetened almond milk and fruit smoothie
- Marinated artichoke hearts
- Baked banana chips
- Orange slices dipped in dark chocolate
- Bell pepper with guacamole
- Cottage cheese sprinkled with flax seed and cinnamon
It’s also important to stay hydrated. Most physicians recommend patients try to drink eight to 10 glasses of water each day. That can keep you feeling full and avoid overeating.
If you choose healthy, whole-food snack options, they can help keep you full throughout the day and limit your cravings for unhealthy foods. Choosing delicious treats that are packed with nutrients, vitamins, and minerals will fuel your body and keep your blood sugar levels steady. Healthy nutrition is a part of everyday life!