Your caloric needs may decline as you get older, but your nutrient needs do not. Malnutrition is common among seniors due to altered taste, loss of teeth, lack of appetite, use of medications, and shopping difficulties. By paying attention to your diet and choosing nutrient-rich foods, you may avoid some common conditions of aging and maximize your energy.

Your diet should be based on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products; sweets and fats should be limited. Consume plenty of fluids: water, milk, and juice plus high water content foods such as fruits.

If you have difficulty shopping, ask someone to drive you or consider using a transport service. Programs such as Meals on Wheels can deliver meals right to your home. Groceries can also be ordered online or by phone in many locations. Choose foods carefully to maximize your nutrient intake. Get plenty of fibre by eating fruits and vegetables with peels, whole-grain bread, lentils, and nuts. Purchase leaner cuts of red meat, and skinless chicken or turkey. Eat your vegetables raw or lightly steamed to preserve nutrients. Choose low-fat milks and cheeses for calcium; if you're lactose intolerant, try yogurt or lactose-free products. Use spices and herbs for flavour instead of extra salt.

If you have trouble chewing, see your dentist and prepare easy to chew foods such as casseroles and soups.  If your appetite is poor, eat small nutritious snacks throughout the day and ask your doctor about nutritional supplements.

Marlene Veloso