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Tracking nutrition important for health of older adults

January 3, 2018

Eating right becomes increasingly important as we age because our bodies are more susceptible to chronic conditions, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

To help you stay on track, thrive. received a few recommendations from the American Heart Association. They first appeared in the Winter 2017 issue of thrive.

Keep a food diary

Whether done with a pen and paper, in an electronic document, or through apps such as Calorific or MyFitnessPal, a food diary allows you to track each food and beverage consumed throughout the day, the associated calories, and notes on each item.

The American Heart Association (AHA) offers a free food diary chart for download.

Fill it out your food diary after each meal for the best accuracy. Also, reflect on your eating decisions at the end of each day.

Control hunger with healthy decisions

Be sure to maintain healthy meals and snacks. Healthy options include fruits and vegetables, whole grains, beans and legumes, nuts and seeds, fish with omega-3 fatty acids or skinless poultry, and low-fat and fat-free dairy.

Limit sweets and added sugars (especially sugary drinks), sodium, saturated fat and processed meats. Avoid trans-fat and partially hydrogenated oils.

Track calories and adjust for your lifestyle

The federal government’s most recent Dietary Guidelines for Americans report recommends 1,800 calories a day for somewhat active women over 65 and roughly 2,200 calories a day for somewhat active men over 65. You might need more or fewer calories depending on your lifestyle.

Don’t break the bank

The AHA recommends a wide range of affordable healthy foods to ensure you can eat right without overspending. Find the list on their website.

Editor’s note: The full version of this article first appeared in the Winter 2017 edition of thrive., a healthy living newsletter for Blue Cross Medicare members. The full issue, along with past issues, is available at bluecrossmn.com/PlatinumBluethrive.  

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