Nutrition for Seniors

Who this information can help

This information is for seniors who have a basic level of good health. Please work with your doctor and a dietitian if you:

  • Are losing too much weight or have a poor appetite
  • Have a health problem, such as: Diabetes, Kidney Disease, Heart Disease or Liver disease
  • Are not able to swallow very well
  • Struggle to cook or shop for groceries

For more general healthy food choices, please refer to “choosing healthy foods” resources.

Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout.

Canada’s Food Guide

How important is Protein?

  • Keeps the immune system healthy
  • Helps heal wounds
  • Slows down the loss of muscle
  • Keeps bones strong
  • Carries vitamins and minerals around the body
  • Makes meals more filling
  • Balances blood sugar levels for better energy

It is important to spread out your protein intake throughout the day!

Bone Health

How to keep your bones healthy

  • Calcium and Vitamin D intake
  • Protein intake
  • Decrease alcohol and caffeine intake
  • Exercise daily – weight bearing exercise (walking) / Strength training (weights, yoga)
  • Stop or reduce cigarette smoking

Vegetables & Fruit and Protein have the most calcium!

Which food can we get calcium / vitamin D from, and how much do we need?

Food Sources of Calcium
Senior’s Calcium Needs
Food Sources of Vitamin D
Senior’s Vitamin D Needs

Sodium (Salt) Intake

How to Reduce Salt in Your Diet

  • Substitute other seasonings for salt, such as herbs, dry mustard, spices, lemon juice, ginger or garlic
  • Choose fresh rather than canned food when possible
  • Rinse canned foods under water to remove some salt
  • Avoid processed, cured or smoked meats (sausages, hot dogs, ham, bacon and pepperoni)
  • Limit salty snack foods, such as crackers and chips
  • Avoid frozen dinners

Where is Sodium Found in Foods?

Myth : “I don’t add salt to my food, so my sodium intake is low”

Fact: Most of the sodium we eat is hidden in foods

  • 12% occurs naturally
  • 6% added at the table
  • 5% added during cooking
  • 77% from processed foods

Resources

Information on this page can be downloaded as a handout. If you have any questions, please contact us.


Disclaimer: This material is not a substitute for the advice of a qualified health professional. This material is intended for general information only and is provided on an “as is”, “where is” basis. Although reasonable efforts were made to confirm the accuracy of the information, Alberta Health Services does not make any representation or warranty, express, implied or statutory, as to the accuracy, reliability, completeness, applicability or fitness for a particular purpose of such information. Alberta Health Services expressly disclaims all liability for the use of these materials, and for any claims, actions, demands or suits arising from such use. Last updated October 2022.