Eating a variety of foods from all food groups can help you get the nutrients your body needs as you age. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy; includes lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts; and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium) and added sugars.
Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with these recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:
- Eat fruits and vegetables. They can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables like leafy greens or broccoli, and orange vegetables like carrots and sweet potatoes.
- Vary your protein choices with more fish, beans and peas.
- Eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day.
- Have three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy.
- Make the fats you eat healthy ones (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats). Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.
Add Physical Activity
Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is your best recipe for health and fitness. Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day. You can break up your physical activity into 10-minute sessions throughout the day.
If you are currently inactive, start with a few minutes of activity, such as walking, and gradually increase this time as you become stronger. Check with your healthcare provider before beginning a new physical activity program.
Reviewed December 2012