Learn about healthy eating for older adults

Healthy diets for anyone include different vegetables and fruits, whole grains and only small amounts of solid fats or added sugars.

With age, some nutritional needs and eating habits can change.

For example, older adults need to eat more protein to keep their muscles strong. The sense of thirst often becomes less strong with age. If dentures don't fit well, they can make chewing difficult.

In their diets, many older adults don't get enough:

  • Lean proteins, like beans, fish and eggs

  • Vitamin D and B12, which are in eggs, fish and supplements

  • Fiber, which is in vegetables, unpeeled fruits and whole-grain cereals and breads

  • Fluids, especially water

Healthy daily food choices for adults age 50 and older include:

  • 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 cups fruit, where a peach is about 1/2 cup

  • 2 to 3 1/2 cups vegetables

  • 5 to 10 ounces grains, where a slice of bread is about an ounce

  • 5 to 7 ounces proteins, where an egg or a tablespoon of peanut butter is about an ounce

  • 3 cups of low-fat or fat-free milk

  • 5 to 8 tablespoons oils, including oils from foods like nuts, olives and avocados

  • Very small amounts of solid fats or added sugars

Health professionals can explain if older adults' medications or health conditions require following special diets or avoiding specific types of food or drink.