Making healthy food choices is a smart thing to do — no matter how old you are. Your body changes through your 60s, 70s, 80s and beyond. Food provides nutrients you need as you age.

Use these tips from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to choose foods for better health at each at each stage of life.

Healthy Eating Tips for People Age 65+

Drink plenty of liquids

With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100 percent juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt.

Make eating a social event

Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others. Invite a friend to join you or take part in a potluck at least twice a week. A senior center or place of worship may offer meals that are shared with others.

Plan healthy meals

Find trusted nutrition information from ChooseMyPlate.gov and the National Institute on Aging. Get advice on what to eat, how much to eat and which foods to choose – all based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Know how much to eat

Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. The Texercise Portion Guide Fact Sheet (PDF) shows the amount of food you need. When eating out, pack part of your meal to eat later. One restaurant dish might be enough for two meals or more.

Vary your vegetables

Include a variety of different colored vegetables to brighten your plate. Most vegetables are a low-calorie source of nutrients. Vegetables are also a good source of fiber.

Use herbs and spices

Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook. Your sense of smell, sense of taste or both may have changed. Medicines also may change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.

Keep food safe

Don't take a chance with your health. A food-related illness can be life threatening for an older person. Throw out food that might not be safe. Avoid foods that are risky for an older person, such as unpasteurized dairy foods. Other foods can be harmful to you when they are raw or undercooked, such as eggs, sprouts, fish, shellfish, meat or poultry.

Read the Nutrition Facts label

Make the right choices when buying food. Pay attention to important nutrients to know as well as calories, fats, sodium and the rest of the Nutrition Facts label. Ask your doctor if there are ingredients and nutrients you might need to limit or to increase.

Ask your doctor about vitamins or supplements

Should you take vitamins or other pills or powders with herbs and minerals? Your doctor will know if you need them. More may not be better. Some can interfere with your medicines or affect your medical conditions.

Texercise Nutrition Fact Sheets

Note: The following are in PDF format.

Online Resources