Half Pint Palates consults with Breanne Vaughan, a nutritionist and chef, and Claire Maestri, an expert on the aging population, who works for Mom’s Best Friend in senior care.
Nutrition for Every Stage of Life
Seniors:Some nutrient needs increase. Because bone density decreases, it is important to increase your intake of vitamin D when over the age of 70. The sun is the absolute best source of this vitamin. Twenty to 30 minutes a day makes a huge difference. Vitamin D is synthesized in the liver and promotes a healthy mood, gut function, calcium absorption in the gut and adequate serum mineralization of bone. Light, moderate, and even high intensity weight lifting can benefit bone density depending on your history.
Adults: Maintain a balanced diet. It is imperative to maintain a balanced diet as responsibilities increase, as well as stress. Drinking plenty of water, as well as getting enough sleep are also key to keeping your body healthy and happy. It is also important to give your body the nutrients it needs; protein, complex carbohydrates, plenty of leafy greens and fresh seasonal fruit. Depending on your activity level, the volume of micro and macro nutrients you need will vary.
Teens: Adequate calcium intake is critical. Calcium is needed to achieve peak bone mass, which is reached in late teens and early twenties. Consider your teens activities when meal planning. An athlete and a non athlete may be eating at the same table. Their plates should not necessarily look the same. Sleep is critical along with water intake.
Toddlers:Vitamins and minerals need to increase. To insure that your child is receiving the recommended amounts of vitamins A,C, and E, as well as the minerals calcium, iron, and zinc, make sure they are eating a variety and plenty of fruits and vegetables. These nutrients are key to health, growth, and development. I like to also break this into weeks instead of days. On average did my child get the vegetables, complex carbohydrates, and protein he or she needed this week. On average, did my child get less than 15% of his or her calories from sugar this week.
Infant: Fat is their friend. Because fatty acids are essential for rapid brain growth and nervous system development that takes place in the first 1 to 2 years of life, make sure your child is getting enough fat in their diet (35-45%). Full fat yogurt, avocado, fatty fish such as wild salmon, whole eggs and nuts after the age of 1 are all great ways to get healthy fats into your little one’s diet.