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Food Choices for Healthy Aging

Achieving a healthy eating pattern to make sure you’re getting the calories and nutrition you need to support you as you age isn’t the easiest thing in the world, but it’s probably not as hard as you might think. Contrary to popular belief, healthy eating isn’t a rigid prescription, but more like a framework of guidelines that you only have to stay within, letting you find foods you enjoy and fit within your budget.

Following a healthy eating pattern across your lifespan has countless benefits that compound as we age. Maintaining a healthy weight, achieving nutrient needs, lessening the risk for chronic diseases, and a potentially increased lifespan are all upsides to making smart choices with food.

You don’t need to run to a health food store and buy expensive, exotic health foods. Making substitutions of less healthy foods and beverages with nutrient-dense ones that you like will give you the greatest chance of success in sticking to good eating habits.

For example, instead of high calorie, nutritionally empty snacks like potato chips or candy, try having a snack like carrot sticks, a couple handfuls of almonds or cashews, or fresh fruit. Switch out refined baked goods like pastries and white bread with whole-grain versions. The added fiber will keep you fuller, longer, as well as enhance and improve digestion.

Fats that are solid at room temperature, like butter or lard, are saturated fats that can increase cholesterol and put stress on the heart. Try using unsaturated fats, like olive or canola oil when cooking.