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Maintaining Good Nutrition Is More Important Than Ever for Older Adults

by Michelle Brill, MPH, FCHS Educator, Rutgers Cooperative Extension of Mercer County

During the Coronavirus pandemic, everyone is becoming more knowledgeable and aware of measures to take to remain healthy. Handwashing and social distancing are two of the most critical.  It’s also very important to maintain good nutrition, especially for older adults who are most vulnerable to experiencing severe cases of COVID-19. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals and follow these tips and resources.

The National Institute on Aging website offers many articles and tips for maintaining good nutrition. Here are some examples:

Drink Plenty of Liquids

With age, you may lose some of your sense of thirst. Don’t wait until you feel thirsty to drink water or other fluids. Drink water often. Low-fat or fat-free milk or 100% juice also helps you stay hydrated. Limit beverages that have lots of added sugars or salt.

Know How Much to Eat

Learn to recognize how much to eat so you can control portion size. One restaurant dish might be enough for two meals or more.

Eat for Your Teeth and Gums

Many people find that their teeth and gums change as they age. People with dental problems sometimes find it hard to chew fruits, vegetables, or meats. Don’t miss out on needed nutrients! Eating softer foods can help. Try cooked or canned foods like unsweetened fruit, low-sodium soups, or canned tuna.

Use Herbs and Spices

Foods may seem to lose their flavor as you age. If favorite dishes taste different, it may not be the cook! Maybe your sense of smell, sense of taste, or both have changed. Medicines may also change how foods taste. Add flavor to your meals with herbs and spices.

Vitamins and Minerals

Most older people can get all the nutrients they need from foods. But if you aren’t sure, talk to your doctor or a registered dietitian to find out if you are missing any important vitamins or minerals. He or she may recommend a vitamin supplement.

Feeling Sad and Don’t Want to Eat?

Feeling blue now and then is normal, but if you continue to feel sad, ask your doctor for help. Being unhappy can cause a loss of appetite. Help might be available. You might need to talk with someone trained to work with people who are depressed.


Visit these websites for more details: