Nutrition for Older Adults

Throughout your life, eating balanced meals plays an important role in keeping you feeling great. Canada's food guide recommends eating a variety of foods every day to help provide energy and essential nutrients to maintain health, prevent or lower the risk of chronic diseases, and prevent muscle and bone loss to reduce your risk of falling or breaking your bones.

Enjoy a variety of foods to make sure you get enough of the different nutrients you need. Each day:

  • Have plenty of vegetables and fruits.
  • Choose whole grain foods.
  • Eat protein foods.

Learn more:
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Seniors Nutrition


Calcium is an important mineral to build healthy bones and teeth. Your bones can become weak and fragile over time if you don’t get enough calcium. It also helps your heart, muscles and nerves work properly.

After 50 years old, both men and women need more calcium to keep bones strong. The best food sources of calcium include:

  • Lower fat unsweetened milk, yogurt and kefir
  • Tofu (prepared with calcium)
  • Many cheeses that are lower in fat and sodium
  • Some dark green vegetables
  • Some fish and shellfish
  • Unsweetened fortified plant-based beverages
  • Some legumes

Talk to your health care provider or a Registered Dietitian if you do not eat food high in calcium every day. You may need a calcium supplement.

Learn more:
What you Need to Know About Calcium
Food Sources of Calcium
Calcium Rich Meal and Snack Ideas

Vitamin D

Calcium and vitamin D work together to help you maintain healthy bones and teeth Vitamin D helps your body absorb calcium.

Your body can make vitamin D from sunlight, but many older adults do not get enough exposure. If you are 51 years of age or older, a supplement with 400 IU (10 µg) of vitamin D every day is recommended by Health Canada.

You can also increase your vitamin D intake by eating foods that contain vitamin D every day. Some examples are:

  • Eggs (yolk)
  • Soft margarine
  • Fatty fish (salmon, artic char, rainbow trout)
  • Unsweetened lower fat milk
  • Unsweetened fortified plant-based beverages

If you don't eat foods that contain vitamin D on a daily basis, you should talk to your health care provider or Registered Dietitian about vitamin D supplements.

Learn more:
What You Need to Know About Vitamin D
Tips and Meal Ideas for Getting More Vitamin D

Drink plenty of fluids

With age, you may not feel thirsty as often, making drinking plenty of fluids especially important for older adults. Dehydration can lead to dizziness, fainting and low blood pressure, which may put you at risk of falling. Not drinking enough liquids may also make constipation worse.

To stay hydrated, drink throughout the day and with each meal and snack. Satisfy your thirst with water instead of sugary drinks.

Learn more:
Make Water Your Drink of Choice
Facts on Fluids – How to Stay Hydrated

Eating together is better

Eating meals alone often can result in feelings of loneliness which, along with other changes that come with aging, can decrease appetite. Eating with others brings social interactions which turns mealtimes into an enjoyable affair. Studies show that you eat more nutrients when dining with company, which can help you get more of the important nutrients you need to stay healthy.

To eat with others, try:

  • Eating with a family member or friend
  • Inviting a neighbour
  • Planning a potluck with friends

Learn more:
Healthy Eating for Seniors
Eat Meals with Others


Cooking and Shopping for 1 or 2
Planning Wisely When Cooking for One
Tasty Meals When Cooking for One

Stretching your Food Dollar
10 Tips for Planning Meals on a Budget
Best Buys at the Grocery Store
Healthy Eating on a Budget

Community Programs
Green Food Box
Ontario 211: Find community and social resources
Seaway Valley Community Health Centre – Nutrition Programs
Health811: Chat online or call 811 to speak with a Registered Dietitian