Good nutrition for adults and the elderly


submitted by Saman Shaikh, RD., M.Sc.
Leeds, Grenville and Lanark DHU

Good nutrition is important for adults because it provides energy and nutrients to maintain health, and helps prevent chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes. Being informed about nutrition, and practicing and building skills for balanced eating, can help you overcome challenges with eating well, such as deciding which foods to choose or not having enough time to prepare meals.

As an adult, you can foster good nutrition by: 

  • Choosing a variety of vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods, and protein foods that you enjoy
  • Reading labels to help you make good food choices
  • Planning your meals and snacks in advance. Choose some recipes to prepare and make a grocery list, so that you have everything on hand when you need it
  • Preparing for busy days by prepping ingredients in advance, making and storing meals in the fridge or freezer to have on hand, or cooking in double batches so that you can save leftovers for quick meals
  • Having ready to eat or grab and go snacks like vegetables and fruits available, or by carrying a reusable water bottle
  • Eating meals with others if possible. This can give you a chance to connect with family and friends, and share your food culture and traditions
  • Being mindful. Enjoy the food you are eating without distractions and listen to your body’s hunger and fullness cues
  • Making healthy drink choices, including water, unsweetened lower fat milk, or plant-based fortified beverages
  • Remember that healthy bodies come in all shapes and sizes. Eat a variety and balance of foods, and focus on overall health rather than body size.

Good nutrition is also important for elderly people because it can help keep you healthy and strong as you age, which can help you maintain your independence and quality of life. Eating well as you get older can also help you prevent or manage chronic diseases, and it can help keep your bones and muscles strong.

Here are some ideas for eating well for seniors:

  • Enjoy a variety of nutritious foods, such as vegetables and fruit, whole grain foods, and protein foods 
  • As we age, our sense of taste or smell can change. Try different herbs and spices for flavour instead of adding salt. You can also change the temperature or texture of foods to make things more interesting
  • If dental changes make certain foods difficult to eat, try choosing or preparing foods differently to make them easier to eat
  • Stay hydrated, and choose water, unsweetened lower fat milk, or plant-based fortified beverages
  • Plan and prepare your meals when you have more energy. Choose some recipes and shop for what you need so that you have everything on hand. Prep ingredients ahead of time, make and store meals in the fridge or freezer, and cook in batches so you can use the leftovers later
  • Due to changes in lifestyle, you may only need to prepare food for 1 or 2 people, so keep this in mind if you’re used to cooking for more people
  • If you’re not used to cooking, choose simple recipes with few ingredients, which require little or no cooking.
  • Eat meals with others if possible. Try joining a diners group, eating with a neighbour, inviting a family member or a friend over, or planning a potluck with friends

For more information, visit, call us at 1-800-660-5853, or connect with us on Facebook and Twitter. Also visit Canada’s Food Guide at


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here