Daily Food Guide for Older Adults

Daily Food Guide for Older Adults

Author -  Emily Hope

The Ministry of Health have developed healthy eating guidelines for older adults. Here we show you how you can meet your daily nutrient needs by eating a wide range of foods from the four major food groups.

As we age, our health can often decline. Our nutrient needs also change, so it’s important to fuel our bodies with the right type (and amount) of foods each day. This gives us every opportunity to live life to the fullest with plenty of energy!

The Ministry of Health has developed healthy eating guidelines for older adults(1). Here are some practical tips to help you achieve their recommendations:

Fruit & Vegetables

Choose at least 2 serves of fruit & 3 serves of vegetables each day                                      
1 serve = 1 medium sized, ½ cup canned or cooked, ½ cup salad

  • Top breakfast cereal with ½ cup of canned, fresh or stewed fruit.
  • Have a piece of fruit with your lunch each day.
  • Roast or mash a variety of vegetables together to accompany lunch or dinner – try pumpkin, kumara, parsnip, potato.
  • Grate raw carrot, pumpkin, courgette or beetroot into mince dishes, e.g. Bolognaise.
  • Always aim to fill half of your dinner plate with vegetables.

Breads & Cereals

Choose at least 6 serves each day
1 serve = 1 cup cereal, 1 slice bread, 1 cup cooked rice or pasta, 1 bread roll, ½ cup porridge

  • Have 1 cup of cereal or ½ cup of porridge with fruit and yoghurt for breakfast.
  • Make a toasted sandwich filled with creamed corn & Edam cheese for lunch.
  • Fill ¼ of your dinner plate with wholegrain bread, rice or pasta at dinner time.                                                      
  • Try low-fat cream cheese & jam on a slice of fruit toast as a snack.
  • Enjoy a home-made cheese scone hot out of the oven!

Lean meats, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes

Choose at least 1 serve each day
1 serve = ¾ cup canned beans, mince or casserole, 2 slices meat, 1 egg, 100g steak, 1 fillet fish

  • ½ can of baked beans on toast makes an easy breakfast or lunch.
  • Enjoy scrambled eggs on toast for breakfast or add chopped, boiled egg to green salads.                                                   
  • Try eating fish like salmon or white fleshed fish twice per week for dinner.
  • Enjoy a traditional Sunday Roast of your favourite lean leg of meat served with vegetables.

Milk & Milk Products

Choose at least 3 servings each day
1 serve = 1 glass milk, 1 pottle yoghurt or 2 slices cheese

  • Add reduced fat milk to hot drinks. 
  • Enjoy milk-based puddings like rice pudding and custards after dinner.
  • Add grated or sliced cheese to sandwiches & salads.
  • Try a pottle of yoghurt as a snack in between meals.                                                                      
  • Add low-fat cheese such as Ricotta to lasagne.

Sample day that ticks the boxes

  • Breakfast: ½ cup cooked porridge, 1 banana, 1 cup milk
  • Snack: 1 small cheese scone
  • Lunch: Bowl of pumpkin soup, wholegrain roll, 2 small kiwifruit                                                           
  • Snack: 1 pottle of yoghurt, 1 handful of unsalted nuts
  • Dinner: Baked salmon fillet, roast potato, steamed green beans & broccoli
  • Supper: Rice pudding 

(1) Ministry of Health. Eating for Healthy Older Adults. 2010. Wellington, New Zealand