How to Eat Right as a Senior

The Food Guide Pyramid for people age 70+ speaks directly to age-related body changes. See more pictures of healthy aging.

Because you need fewer calories as you get older, your food choices are more critical than ever. You've got only so many calories with which to make the right decisions. If you don't choose wisely, you may gain weight while attempting to get the nutrients you need from your daily diet -- and weight gain carries its own set of health risks. -- Steps to a Healthier You, provides information on eating a healthy, balanced diet. Developed by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), the ChooseMyPlate tool -- which you can customize based on your age, sex, and activity level -- is interactive and offers personalized guidance on sources of nutrition and portion size. To customize your own plate, visit USDA ChooseMyPlate.

To help older people manage nutritional and caloric intake, the Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University also developed a food guide pyramid specifically for people age 70 and older. It's a good guide for anyone over age 50, too.

Whether you're trying to lose weight, stay fit, or just feel better, it's important to pack the most nutritious foods possible into your daily diet. In the following pages we'll explain how to pick the foods that give you the biggest nutritional "bang" for the least caloric "buck."

 In the next section, find out about the protein and fat requirements for seniors and how to make sure you get enough each day.