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Why Seniors Should Talk to a Dietitian

Senior woman consulting with her dietitian

Most people know balanced meals equate to better health, but for seniors, thoughtfully planned meals can have an even greater balancing effect than you realize. As the body ages, it becomes less efficient at retaining important nutrients. Eating the right foods can help offset those deficiencies and restore nutritional balance.

 This is why many doctors recommend seniors consider the benefits of a dietitian consult. A dietitian who is well versed in nutritional changes in the elderly can help you create a healthy diet that gives you more of what you need, while taking into account the foods you like (and dislike, for that matter).

 More specifically, here are some of the potential benefits of a dietitian’s guidance on senior nutrition:

 

Natural nutrient boosters: Although your calorie needs will likely decrease as you grow older and your physical activity level slows, your nutrient needs stay the same or even increase, which means everything you eat must work a little harder to meet your body’s needs. For example, protein plays an important role in lean muscle mass, but many older adults aren’t getting enough. In addition to traditional protein sources like meat, eggs, and poultry, foods like dairy, seafood, beans, peas, and lentils all provide protein along with nutrients like calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, and fiber.

 Identifying the gaps: You may not realize you’re missing out on important nutrients, so in addition to helping you understand the recommended dietary guidelines for your age, a dietitian can help you create an action plan for closing the gaps. Another benefit of a dietitian’s assessment of your diet is the insight you’ll gain on where you can boost your nutrients naturally through healthy eating, and which nutrients you might be better served to bump up with supplements.

 Ideas for easy meals: As you age, your appetite may diminish or you may not feel like going to the trouble of making a full meal just for yourself. As a result, you may find yourself skipping meals or defaulting to quick-prep processed options. Neither is particularly good for your health, and both options probably mean you’re missing out on important nutrients. One benefit of a dietitian’s input is suggestions for fast and simple dishes that are packed with great-tasting nutrition.

 Adapting to a new diagnosis: In your later years, you’re more likely to develop health conditions like high blood pressure or diabetes that require you to pay more attention to what you eat. Learning how to adapt a healthy diet to these new requirements, breaking habits, and curbing cravings are all ways a dietitian can help.

 Smart alternatives: Often, easy changes can make it possible to keep enjoying your favorite recipes without the harmful effects. Salt is one common example. People who are accustomed to a high-salt diet find it hard to enjoy many foods without that familiar flavor. Experimenting with herbs, seasonings, vinegar, and even light oils can bring terrific flavors out of many of your favorite proteins and veggies.

 

See What We’re Serving

At Winchester Gardens, the culinary experience earns rave reviews from our residents and dietitian alike. Our Executive Chef delights in preparing mouthwatering meals that blend techniques and flavors from around the world with residents’ specialized nutritional needs.

 For those who have a particular interest in nutrition—and those who need a little extra support—our dedicated dietitian offers a monthly Dietitian Dialogues session, as well as regular office hours so residents can reap the benefits of a dietitian’s expertise. Residents can also find additional wellness resources through LivWell, our award-winning program that promotes stronger, healthier, more engaged living.

 Plan a visit to discover more of the delicious retirement lifestyle residents enjoy at this senior living community in northern New Jersey.