Healthy Diet for Seniors

A balanced diet is needed to keep you steady on your feet

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This page was last updated on 9 August 2022

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    Eating a balanced diet is essential for body health and to avoid malnutrition. A healthy diet Fuels your body with energy and allows your muscles and bones to repair and grow. Strong muscles will make you more stable on your feet and strong bones are less likely to break during a fall.

    Why Is Eating Healthy Important for Fall Prevention?

    Lightheadedness and tiredness and are all symptoms of not eating well, these symptoms put you at higher risk of falling. Making sure you drink enough fluids is also a vital part of a healthy diet, dehydration can cause dizziness, fatigue and confusion.

    Tips for Eating Healthily:
    • Stay hydrated, drink regularly throughout the day
    • Don’t rush when eating, eating and chewing slower can stop you from overeating
    • Don’t skip meals, eat at least 3 meals a day
    • If you struggle to eat big meals, have smaller meals more often
    • Do not skip breakfast
    • Bake food instead of frying
    • Drink water over fizzy drinks
    • Eat fresh fruit instead of dried fruit

    Food Groups Needed for Healthy Eating

    There are 5 different food groups you should consume on a daily basis to maintain a balanced diet. Each food group should be consumed in moderation and some food groups should be consumed more than others.

    The 5 food groups are:

    • Fruit and vegetables
    • Starchy carbohydrates
    • Dairy
    • Proteins
    • Fats

    Fruit and Vegetables

    It is recommended to eat at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day. Overall fruit and vegetables should make up just over a third of your daily food intake.

    All types of fruits and vegetables count including frozen, fresh, juiced, pureed, tinned and dried. Be careful with certain types of fruit and vegetables such as dried, juiced and pureed as these tend to have added sugar. Read the nutrition values on the packaging to find out if your food has any added sugar so you know how much to consume.

    How Much Counts as One Portion?
    • Fresh, frozen and canned fruit and vegetables are 80g a portion
    • Dried fruit is around 30g a portion (stick to only one portion a day)
    • Juiced and pureed fruit and vegetables are 150ml a portion (stick to only one portion a day)

    Starchy Carbohydrates

    Carbohydrates should make up another third of your daily food intake. Carbohydrates provide the body with energy.

    Starchy Carbohydrates Include:
    • Bread
    • Pasta
    • Rice
    • Potatoes
    • Cereals
    • Noodles
    • Porridge

    Carbohydrates can be high in fibre; fibre helps your digestive system function properly. They also help you feel fuller and more satisfied for longer.


    It is recommended to eat around 2 – 3 servings of dairy foods a day. Dairy foods are packed with calcium and other essential vitamins which are great for bone health. However, dairy foods can often have a high amount of fat in them so be aware of your portion size.

    Dairy Foods Include:
    • Cheese
    • Milk
    • Yoghurt
    How Much Counts as One Portion?
    • 200ml of milk or a milk alternative
    • Three tablespoons of natural yoghurt
    • One tablespoon of cream cheese
    • 30g of cheese

    Due to food intolerance or beliefs, some people do not eat dairy. There are plenty of non-dairy foods you can get your calcium from.

    Non-dairy Calcium Rich Foods Are:
    • Tofu
    • Calcium-fortified plant-based milk
    • Sardines
    • Broccoli


    It is recommended to eat around 2 – 3 servings of protein-rich foods a day. Protein is needed to help your body repair cells and build new ones. Protein is crucial for bone strength and preserving muscle mass.

    Protein Rich Foods Are:
    • Meats
    • Fish and seafood
    • Eggs
    • Beans and pulses
    • Nuts
    • Tofu
    • Almonds

    Getting a sufficient amount of protein In your diet will help keep you mobile in old age and keep your immune system working properly, so if an accident does happen your recovery process is likely to be quicker.


    You should only consume a small number of foods high in fat and sugar. 1 portion is all that’s recommended daily. Food’s high in fat or sugar are often high in calories, this can cause weight gain if eaten too much.

    Healthy and good fats are called monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. Unhealthy fats to avoid are saturated and trans fats.

    Foods With Healthy Fats:
    • Avocados
    • Mackerel
    • Salmon
    • Nuts
    • Dark cholate
    • Flaxseeds
    • Olive oil

    Healthy fats are needed to help your body absorb vitamins. Vitamins are essential for your overall body health, including a well-functioning immune system.

    Importance of Staying Hydrated

    It is important to stay hydrated throughout the day, not consuming enough liquid can cause dizziness, confusion and dehydration. Being dehydrated will significantly increase your risk of falling and can cause serious health complications.

    Try to drink around 7 glasses of liquid a day, this can include:

    • Water
    • Fruit juice
    • Fruit-infused water
    • Milk
    • Tea
    • Sports drinks

    Foods and Drinks to Avoid in High Quantities

    Most foods are okay in moderation however there are some foods that you should try to avoid as they offer very little nutritional value and are unhealthy.

    Foods you should try to avoid are:

    • Deep-fried foods – these foods are typically high in trans fats and high in calories.
    • Sugary cereal – Starting your day off with a high intake of sugar can spike your blood sugar levels then cause them to crash later on in the day, this can lead to cravings and overeating.
    • Sugary drinks – fizzy drinks are often high in sugar and because they are liquid, they aren’t good at filling you up. Too much sugar in your diet can lead to obesity.
    • Crisps- they are low in nutrition and often high in fat, salt and calories.
    • Foods high in sodium – Too much salt in your diet can higher your blood pressure, which increases your risk of stroke and heart disease.