Your life after 60 can be the most peaceful and rewarding, yet as you cap off decades of hard work, live your dream retirement and take up new hobbies. But to live your best and have the energy to enjoy daily life, it is important to stay strong and healthy.
In addition to regular exercise, you should also maintain a healthy and balanced diet, one that suits your specific needs and lifestyle.
As you get older, your nutritional needs will become slightly different from when you were younger. There will be certain eating habits that could increase your risk of diet-related conditions and chronic diseases. And because you’ll need a boost of nutrients and minerals to maintain your physical and mental well-being.
Of course, the first step is to discuss your options with your doctor. But you can also consult nutrition journals and reputable websites for up-to-date information. But to give you an idea of what you should put on your plate when you’re over 60, here are some tips and ideas:
- Eat more protein
After 60, your risk for losing muscle mass becomes higher, which is why your diet should include at least one gram of protein to every kilogram of body weight. But be wary of the types of protein you consume. Replace your favorite red meats with chicken and seafood like wild salmon, tuna, and sardines, instead. Foods like eggs, dairy, legumes, nuts and seeds, and vegetables are also good protein sources. If you’re also trying to lose weight without losing bone and muscle mass, adding more protein to your diet will also help.
- Drink plenty of water
Do you know that thirst is often mistaken for hunger? Regardless of your age, it’s important to hydrate as it helps regulate body temperature, keeps your joints lubricated and your organs functioning properly. It also helps improve your sleep, mood, and cognitive function. To make sure you’re well-hydrated, enrich your diet with foods naturally rich in water like tomatoes, gourds, and cucumbers.
- Eat small, frequent meals
As you age, your metabolism slows, so starving yourself would make it even slower. To avoid unhealthy weight gain during your retirement years, try to eat more small meals and snacks and try not to go three hours without eating. This way, you don’t ever get hungry and feel the need to binge. Plus, small frequent meals will give you enough energy to run errands, exercise, and get creative throughout the day.
- Count your calories
You may think that measuring your food down to a macronutrient is obsessive, but it’s actually quite effective. In science-based nutrition, it’s well-known that portion control trumps any other kind of restrictive dieting. By counting your calorie intake through macros, you get to eat most, if not all, kinds of food you enjoy. Plus, a balanced diet ensures you maintain the ideal body composition for your weight, age, and lifestyle.
- Limit sugary and salty food
Sweet and savory meals and snacks are addictive, and you’ve probably had plenty of them when you were younger. However, refined sugars, artificial sweeteners, and foods and drinks containing added salt have been linked to many chronic illnesses. Opt for healthier, more natural alternatives, instead, like monk fruit, stevia, kosher or sea salt, but use them sparingly. Go for fresh fruit juices and smoothies, instead, as they have a natural, healthier sweetness. While it’s fine to treat yourself from time to time, always eat your guilty pleasures in moderation.
- Avoid saturated fats
As much as possible, limit foods high in saturated fat such as cakes, pies, biscuits, processed meats, pizza, deep-fried food, and the like. Reduce your intake of butter, cream, coconut and palm oil, and margarine, as well. Instead, opt for healthier alternatives like olive oil, avocado, and nut butter and pastes. Other foods high in good fats include vegetable oils like sunflower, soy, and corn), fish, nuts, and seeds.
- Prepare your own food
One advantage of living in an assisted-living home is that you get meals that have been studied and approved by dietitians and nutritionists. But if you’re living at home alone or with your husband, always go for home-cooked meals. It may be tempting to eat out or order in, but preparing your own meals based on your nutritionist’s advice is still the healthier option.
Healthy eating is essential, regardless of your age. Feel and look your best after 60 by maintaining a healthy and balanced diet.