Eating well is important for everyone, from caregivers to loved ones and families. Eating right is especially important for older adults because good food and nutrition can be as effective as medicine. Healthy eating can reduce risk of developing disease, help manage the progression of disease such as high blood pressure, and control weight to ease the burden on the heart and lungs.

Eating right doesn’t have to be complicated. Try these healthy eating tips:

  • Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits.
  • Eat a rainbow of veggies, from the dark green, to the red and orange.
  • Frozen and canned veggies are just as good as fresh, but be sure to pick the reduced sodium or no salt added cans.
  • Choose a variety of protein foods throughout the week.
  • Choose 100% whole-grain cereal, bread, pasta, and crackers, over the processed white flour alternatives.
  • Older bones need more calcium and vitamin D; eat three servings of milk, yogurt or cheese daily.
  • Add flavor to foods with spices and herbs instead of salt.
  • Drink water instead of sugary drinks.
  • Restrain your portion sizes by using a smaller plate, bowl and glass.
  • Plan healthy meals ahead of time to help you stick to a healthy eating style.
  • Keep a food journal.

If the medicines your loved one takes affect appetite, ask their doctor to try an alternative. If your loved one has special dietary needs, consider consulting a registered dietitian nutritionist who can create a customized eating plan.