Healthy Eating After 50

Healthy eating solutions for seniors

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

Eating well is important for people of all ages. Staying on top of your nutrition plan can mean better control of your blood sugar and preventing diabetic complications such as heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.

Eating well as you get older might bring some new challenges that you or your loved ones aren't used to. For example, a natural part of the aging process involves a decrease in muscle mass which leads to a slower metabolism. Sometimes there are also changes in appetite and thirst. Talk to your doctor or registered dietitian about how your body's need for nourishment is both staying the same in some ways and changing in others.

Here are some common dilemmas — and solutions — for healthy eating after 50.

Problem: I cooked for 40 years and now I want to go out for dinner.

Solution: If you find yourself eating out more, simply opt for healthier entrees such as baked or broiled fish, chicken, pork tenderloin, non-cream soups, vegetables without cheese/butter sauces, and salad with the dressing on the side. You can also split your entrée with your spouse to help with portion control.

Problem: I can't afford to eat healthy.

Solution: If you are on a tight budget, being able to pay for the foods you should eat might seem like a stretch. With some planning and the right resources, you should be able to keep your food costs down. Here are some tips:

  • Always make a low carb shopping list before going to the grocery store and try to stick to it. Know what's on sale and take advantage of choosing generic over name brands.
  • Make the most of leftovers. 
  • Check out this slideshow for 6 Dinners Under $6.
  • Do your research. There are Federal Government programs to help people with low incomes buy groceries. Visit the Eldercare Locator or www.nutrition.gov to learn more.

Problem: I'm no longer able to cook for myself.

Solution: If your health has declined and you are not able to cook for yourself, you can look into meal delivery programs in your area. In addition, you can buy healthy frozen dinners — just make sure to read the nutrition labels and check the carb counts. If you are really having trouble living on your own, it may be time to look into an assisted living situation.

Problem: I'm having trouble planning my meals and cooking healthy.

Solution: If you have diabetes and are on Medicare, medical nutrition therapy is a covered benefit. This means you can make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian to help you plan your meals and give you healthy eating recommendations for diabetes. To find a dietitian specialized in diabetes in your area, click here.

Problem: I'm feeling alone in my life with diabetes and find it challenging to do what I need to do to take care of it.

Solution: Talk to you doctor or health care professional if you are feeling depressed. They can refer you to a specialist if needed. You can also try to join a local support group for assistance and support in your journey with diabetes. Check out this dLife article on support groups.

You can find a support group near you by contacting your local American Diabetes Association office or by using the dLife Resource Locator. You can also check out the Senior Center Forum in the dLife Community to share your experiences with other people living with diabetes.

Problem: I need recipes that make smaller quantities and don't feed large families.

Solution: The American Diabetes Association has a great cookbook titled, Heart Healthy Meals for Two. You can also cut most recipes in half or freeze some recipes such as soups, stews or chili's. The dLife Recipe Finder has a feature that allows you to adjust the number of servings in a recipe. 

NEXT: Check out this great selection of diabetes-friendly, delicious breakfasts, lunches,
and dinners designed for one or two people. 

Read Lara's bio here.

Read more of Lara Rondinelli's columns.

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Fully revised and better than ever, this 2nd edition of Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking is packed with new recipes to give cooks with diabetes over a year of delicious, diabetes-friendly meals. Organized around weekly menus and complete grocery lists that are designed to save readers time, effort, and money, this cookbook is a meal-planner and recipe book in one. With hundreds of recipes and an innovative design, it's easy to see why this is one of the American Diabetes Association's all-time best-selling cookbooks.

In addition to new recipes and menus, this updated edition includes dozens of recipes and recipe alterations designed to created gluten-free meals. Like many with diabetes, author and dietitian Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and subsequently went on a gluten-free diet. Using her firsthand experience, she gives readers expert tips on how to plan meals, alter recipes, and follow a gluten-free diet.

Copyright © American Diabetes Association from Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking. Reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association. To order this book, please call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at http://www.shopdiabetes.org/1253-Healthy-Calendar-Diabetic-Cooking-2nd-Edition.aspx

Last Modified Date: May 08, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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by Nicole Purcell
Awhile back, I wrote about trying out the Whole 30. After giving it a good solid go, I discovered that honestly, that eating style didn't work for me. Too restrictive for one thing. And my bloodsugars didn't seem to want to stabilize. I was low, all the time, and I found myself feeling pretty lousy energy wise three days in. Still wanting to make a commitment to healthier choices, I decided to start just plain eating clean. What does that mean? ...