March is National Nutrition Month®! This year's theme is "Go Further with Food" and encourages everyone to make informed food choices to develop better eating habits.

Eating healthy is good at any age. But as we get older, nutrition plays an even more important role in our ability to keep bones healthy and strong, boost the immune system, increase energy levels, aid in digestion and build memory.

5 Steps to Proper Senior Nutrition

In honor of National Nutrition Month, here are some quick and easy healthy eating tips for seniors.

Eat More Fruits & Veggies with Every Meal

Fruits and vegetables contain a number of the essential vitamins and minerals seniors need to stay healthy. Eat a variety of vegetables each day, including dark green, red and orange vegetables, as well as green beans and peas. Add fruit to your breakfast and eat as a snack throughout the day. And remember, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables have the same nutritional values as fresh. Just be sure to look for canned veggies that are either no-salt or low sodium and fruits canned in either water or 100% juice.

Opt for Whole Grains

Look for 100% whole grains in bread, cereal, crackers, pasta and brown rice. Whole grains are often packed with nutrients including fiber and B vitamins. And studies show that eating a diet rich in whole grains may reduce heart disease and type 2 diabetes. High fiber whole grains can also aid healthy digestion.

Up Your Dairy Intake

Calcium and vitamin D are essential in helping seniors maintain strong, healthy bones. That's why it's important to have three servings of dairy, whether from milk, cheese or yogurt, each day. Lactose intolerant? Look for lactose-free milk or soy milk that is fortified with calcium.

Eat a Variety of Proteins

Muscle mass decreases as we age. Eating a variety of proteins, including seafood, nuts, beans, poultry and eggs can help seniors maintain and build muscle mass. Having strong muscles can help protect your bones and helps you maintain balance, reducing the risk of falls.

Watch Out for Sodium and Added Sugars

Our taste buds change as we get older and many seniors find themselves craving foods that are salty or sweet. But consuming too much sodium or added sugars can lead to conditions such as high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes and weight gain. Avoid prepackaged foods and canned goods that are high in sodium. Opt for water over sugary sodas and juice cocktail beverages, and select fruit for dessert over sugary desserts.

Eating a nutritionally rich diet is essential to staying healthy at any age. For seniors, it's important to pair a healthy diet with regular exercise. Find ways to be active each and every day. Pick an activity you enjoy and make it a part of your daily routine.

Western Home Communities Helps Seniors Eat Healthy

At Western Home Communities, our dining options are designed to help seniors maintain a healthy diet. This, in addition to our wide-variety of living options, activities and social options ensure residents can stay healthy and happy. Click here to learn more about our community options and services or contact us today for more information and to schedule a tour.