Healthy nutrition for teenagers and the elderly in a nutshell

Healthy nutrition for teenagers and the elderly in a nutshell

Need a healthy balanced diet because of growth and anticipated physical changes.
Teenagers are advised to eat a variety of foods and cut down on foods that are high in fat, salt and sugar.
Key nutrients for teenage diet are: Iron that helps form blood and can be obtained from red meet, green leafy vegetables. Sufficient iron ensures high energy levels and especially critical for girls who lose it in their monthly flow.
Vitamin D and Calcium are key for bone and teeth development. Vitamin D can be obtained from sunlight, oily fish, eggs and cereals. Calcium from dairy products.
A teenager should
·        Have a balanced diet that incorporates all the food groups;proteins,    carbohydrates, minerals  and vitamins.
·        Not skip breakfast.
·        Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day.
·        Snack healthy. Avoid snacks high in sugar, fat and salt.
·        Drink 6-8 glasses of water a day.
Avoid fad diets that advocate for quick loss of weight. If weight needs to be lost consult a doctor or nutritionist for healthy options.
Eating disorders may arise in teenage due to stress, guilt or poor body image.

Senior citizens too should not be lost in their  quest for  a healthy diet;

A healthy diet for the over 50s leads to a longer life, stronger body, sharpens the mind and energizes.
As in all other age groups; a balanced diet for the elderly incorporates all the food groups and has a good mix of fruits and vegetables, calcium, grains and proteins, water, food high in fibre – that is unprocessed and that reduces the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, improves health of skin, helps lose weight, boosts the  immune system.
In addition senior citizens are advised to watch their sodium intake  by reducing salt intake, avoid saturated fats obtained from animal fats and instead opt for vegetable oils that are rich in unsaturated fats, reduce sugar intake, cook smart; steam, sauté food, reduce hidden sugars in food.
ü Avoid skipping meals and snack healthy.
ü Seek advice from the doctor on food that may alter the taste and sensation of certain foods or certain dietary restrictions.
ü Metabolism slows down with age, hence it is easy to put on weight. Senior citizens should  incorporate exercise into one’s lifestyle.
ü Loneliness, depression, death and divorce may make one avoid meals; to mitigate this  our senior citizens should seek the company of family, other senior citizens or a caregiver to enjoy meals with.
ü Foods can be steamed, blended or smoothied where chewing may be a problem.
ü Incorporate at least eight glasses of water into ones diet a day.

ü  With a limited budget one can have a balanced diet by shopping from a variety of cost effective markets.

A toast to a healthy diet for our teenagers and senior ctiizens!


© Kwambie Nyambane,
August 2015.
Kwambie is a food science graduate from the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Kenya.