Healthy eating tips for seniors in honour of National Nutrition Month

As we age, our nutritional requirements naturally change as well. Since March is National Nutrition Month, it's the perfect time to start thinking about how to improve your overall well-being during retirement. While many senior living homes provide nutritional meals as part of their offerings, it's still beneficial to know exactly what you should be choosing to eat. Here's what you need to know about your changing dietary requirements.

Eat more frequently
Smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day keep you energized and satisfied. Eat Right Ontario noted that this method of eating helps prevent unwanted weight loss*, as it gets you in the habit of eating more food over an extended period of time. Try snacking on meal replacement bars or enjoy a fresh smoothie for a quick snack. You should be eating every 2-3 hours if you decide to incorporate this into your diet.

Use more spices
As people age, their sense of taste and smell may slowly decline, noted Time magazine. Using more spices not only helps add some flavour to seemingly bland food, but it also assists with digestion* and provides additional nutritional value to the meal. Try a standard chicken dish with chipotle seasoning to jazz up its taste and clear your sinuses while getting a good amount of much-needed protein.

Increase your protein intake
Speaking of protein, it's important for seniors to up their intake as they grow older. Time magazine explained that the decrease in stomach acid that's typically seen throughout the aging process is one of the major reasons why protein becomes more important in old age. The body needs protein to generate acid for digestion. Foods like chicken, fish, nuts and legumes are great choices for a well-balanced diet, so perhaps opt for a meal that's high in protein the next time you're ordering off the menu at your retirement residence.

Choose foods that help with digestion
The decline of stomach acid production makes digestion more challenging for seniors. In addition to adding more spice to your meal, opt for foods that are known to aid digestion and settle upset stomachs. Time recommended sauerkraut, vinegar and coffee. For additional stomach relief, add ginger to your meal or sip on ginger tea.

Stop smoking
It's never too late to kick a bad habit. Not only is smoking harmful to your physical health, but it also further curbs your appetite and dulls your sense of taste, which can exacerbate existing medical conditions and reduce your enjoyment of food.

Chartwell is dedicated to providing its residents with delicious and nutritious meals that are based on recommendations from Canada's Food Guide. Recipe and food suggestions are warmly received, especially from residents who have allergies or dietary restrictions.

To download a sample menu, click here.

*The following sources provide references for this blog, in order of appearance:

  1. UnlockFood. "A guide to healthy eating for Older Adults", Online:
  2. Time. "The Nutrition Advice Every Senior Citizen Needs"(2015), Online: