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Senior Nutrition by Keely Helbock

May 1, 2017

Keely Helbock is the nutrition manager and dietitian of Emerald Heights’ on-site health care center, The Corwin Center, as well as the independent living sector of Emerald Heights.

Nutrition for everyone is crucial for wellness and successful aging, but even more so with seniors. The framework we’re creating for our lives starts when we’re young, and we should be mindful of incorporating alterations and modifications as we age. One of the most important parts of nutrition is to support the changes in our body. Below are top tips for seniors:

Ensure You’re Incorporating Healthy Fats

When people think of “fats,” they typically think of something to avoid, which is why products with a “low-fat” label are booming in the market. However, there are healthy fats that we should be intaking daily, which support the cellular changes our bodies make as we age. Consuming good fats can also be heart-healthy, which is something seniors need to be mindful of. Healthy fats can be found in nuts, avocados and fish.

Hydration is Key

Staying hydrated is extremely important for seniors. As we age, we lose that thirst sensation, so it’s hard to remember to constantly drink water. Senior dehydration is a common health issue that can lead to bigger problems, if proper hydration is not made a priority. A helpful tip for seniors is to drink 8 oz. of water every time medication or vitamins are taken, if not contradicted by a physician.

Diversity is Necessary

Throughout the years, our bodies get used to the same thing, whether that be nourishing our bodies with fruits and vegetables, or divulging in comfort foods. With a routine eating style day after day, we can often lose the excitement and stimulation nourishing foods have to offer. Changing the composition of our plates whether by flavor, texture or color, we can activate our senses and stimulate our mind all while enjoy eating beautiful food selections.

Boost Your Memory with Four Foods

One of the major concerns of senior health is how to boost memory while helping to protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are four types of food that can help to support memory and brain function: veggies, berries, omega 3’s and nuts. Each of these foods contain a balance of macronutrients, micronutrients and bioactive properties that are essential in supporting healthy brain function.  They also incorporate fiber and healthy fats to support functions through the body to include intestinal health. All-in-all, a good balanced diet is crucial for maintaining healthy cognitive functioning.

Portion Sizes

One challenge of eating out at restaurants is the portion sizing is usually double the amount we should be putting in our bodies. Baby boomers are also trained to not waste food and to clean their plates. That mentality is one of the factors that I try to get seniors to stray away from, and to reeducate the emphasis of portion control. Because our needs change as we grow older, whether it’s modifications that need to be made to our diet or dietary modification we need to incorporate, it’s important that we adapt our portion sizes base on our needs.


Delicious and Nutritious Prune Bites

  • 1 cup of dried prunes
  • ½ cup of dates
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • Dash of salt

Blend in a food processor until consistency is almost a paste. Roll mixture into small balls and then in shredded coconut. Ready to eat immediately. Store in refrigerator.