Starting a healthy lifestyle is not as hard as you think! It is not a rigid "diet" that restricts all of the "junk" food that we know we are not supposed to have. Instead of looking at healthy eating as a bunch of rules and restrictions, look at it as a framework that lets you enjoy healthy food that fits your personal preferences. The National Institute on Aging offers 5 easy guidelines:
Follow a healthy eating pattern across a lifespan. All food and beverage choices matter. Choose a healthy eating pattern at an appropriate calorie level to help achieve and maintain a healthy body weight, get adequate nutrients, and reduce the risk of chronic disease.
Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts.
Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats, and reduce sodium intake. Cut back on foods and beverages that are high in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Aim for amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.
Shift to healthier food and beverage choices. Choose nutrient-dense foods and beverages across and within all food groups in place of less healthy choices. Choose foods you like to make these shifts easier to maintain.
Support healthy eating patterns for all. Everyone has a role in helping to create and support healthy eating patterns, whether at home, school, at work, and in communities.
MyPlate for Older Adults, shown below, highlights the unique nutritional and physical activity needs of people as they age. It is a guide that shows what a well balanced lifestyle diet should look like. For more resources about dietary guidelines, visit https://hnrca.tufts.edu/myplate
*Source: What's On Your Plate?: Smart Food Choices for Healthy Aging -National Institute on Aging