Eating a well-balanced, nutrient-rich diet is key to maintaining good health as you age. A poor diet can increase your risk of health issues and chronic diseases such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and more.
Healthy foods, including lean proteins, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, are full of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients that give your body the nourishment it needs. These healthy compounds can lower your risk of chronic disease, boost energy levels and immunity, and help you maintain a healthy weight and muscle and bone mass.
Learn simple, healthy snacks and meals to include in your diet.
Simple Snack Ideas
Swap unhealthy snacks for healthy alternatives. If you don’t usually eat snacks, including about two snacks daily can help you maintain your energy throughout the day.
Fruit and Vegetables
Eating fruits and vegetables doesn’t have to be boring! Switch up your snack menu with these nutrient-packed, delicious ideas.
- A healthy take on chips and dip: Dip your vegetable of choice (such as carrots, bell peppers, celery, or cucumber) into hummus or guacamole.
- Chips of all flavors: Try baked kale chips, sweet potato chips, banana chips, or apple chips with a sprinkle of cinnamon for added flavor.
- Ants on a log: Fill celery sticks with your choice of nut butter (such as peanut butter or almond butter), then add raisins on top.
- Satisfy your sweet tooth: Dip your favorite fruit such as orange slices, berries, bananas, or apples in dark chocolate. Dark chocolate offers various health benefits and is full of antioxidants.
- Fresh fruits or vegetables such as a fruit medley or sliced tomatoes are great for a quick, healthy snack.
As you age, you naturally lose muscle mass and strength — getting enough protein throughout the day helps you build and maintain it.
Add these protein-packed snacks into your diet:
- Turkey slices
- Roasted nuts such as almonds, walnuts, cashews, or peanuts
- Hardboiled eggs
- Low-fat, hard cheeses with whole-grain crackers
- A smoothie with protein powder
- Cottage cheese or Greek yogurt with your choice of fruit on top
- Canned tuna on top of whole-grain crackers
Easy, Healthy Meals
Meals can take more time to prepare than snacks, but making healthy meals doesn’t have to be hard. Here are some simple, healthy meal ideas to help you keep a well-balanced diet.
- Oatmeal topped with your favorite fruit — berries are a popular, antioxidant-rich choice
- Eggs with whole-wheat toast
- A bowl of your favorite fruits
- Avocado on whole-wheat toast
- A fruit smoothie made with almond milk
- Build your own sandwich.
- Start with whole-wheat bread.
- Choose your protein — lean meats such as fish, chicken, or turkey are good options.
- Add your favorite vegetables. Lettuce, tomato, and onion are a classic combination.
- Add other toppings and condiments such as hummus, guacamole, mustard, or pesto.
- Make a colorful salad.
- Start with a strong base. Dark green leafy vegetables like kale, spinach, collard greens, and more are packed with beneficial nutrients that promote health and wellness.
- Add protein. Include protein-rich foods such as hardboiled eggs, beans, legumes, or lean meats such as fish, chicken, beef, or turkey.
- Finish with your favorite healthy toppings. Include a variety of toppings for the ultimate flavor boost. You can use raw or cooked vegetables such as bell peppers, cucumber, carrots, onion, celery, broccoli, and more. Add fresh or dried fruit, roasted nuts, avocado, or any other healthy toppings you have available.
- Power bowl. These are made with a mixture of various healthy ingredients and are assembled just like a salad. The base is usually a whole grain such as quinoa or brown rice. Add your toppings and protein of choice.
- Seafood pasta. Use whole-wheat pasta and add shrimp for a protein-packed, delicious dinner. Add your vegetables of choice, and top with fresh herbs for more flavor.
- Beans and rice. This is a simple, delicious combination that reheats well throughout the week. Use canned white, black, or red beans and pair with a whole grain such as brown rice.
- Crockpot meals are an easy dinner option. You can typically put all ingredients in the slow cooker, set a timer, and let it cook — by the time you get home, dinner is ready. What’s more, they’re big enough that you can make food for the entire week. Cook your protein of choice and serve it with whole grains and roasted vegetables. Turkey chili and soups are an easy, healthy option. The choices are endless.
Seniors are particularly vulnerable to dehydration. In addition to eating healthy snacks and meals, make sure you’re drinking enough water, especially when you’re engaging in fitness programs — health professionals recommend drinking eight eight-ounce glasses per day.
Aviva Offers High-Quality, Healthy Options to Our Residents
At Aviva, we work with Morrison Healthcare — a highly recognized food service specialist focused on preparing dishes that excite the senses and restore the body. Each month, a new superfood is chosen and incorporated into many recipes and snacks. The daily menus in our independent living community feature a low-calorie or vegetarian option, along with a selection of healthy, gourmet, 100% Kosher meals made of locally sourced ingredients. The independent living apartments are equipped with their own kitchens so you can make any of the healthy meals and snacks covered in this article.