Dietary needs change as we age, and although intermittent fasting and ketogenic diets have been touted recently for their success in helping people lose weight, seniors also need to remember that protein and fiber are essential to help preserve muscle and promote healthy digestion. Skipping breakfast may help older adults shed weight but studies have found the practice can also lead to a loss of muscle mass. The following are some dietitian-recommended healthy breakfast choices for older adults to protect brain, gut, and physical health.
According to a recent HuffPost Food & Drink report, breakfast is an essential component of a nutritious and healthy diet at any age, but middle-aged adults and seniors have different dietary needs. Nearly 90 percent of American men and women don’t eat enough fiber – boosting fiber intake by including whole grains, fruits, and vegetables in a healthy breakfast can improve gut health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Adding a variety of vegetables to eggs, choosing whole grains like oats, or swapping out white flour for whole wheat in waffles and pancakes can increase dietary fiber.
Many older adults find they don’t have as robust an appetite as they once did, but eating enough protein is important to preserve muscle mass and strength which helps seniors stay active, and independent and avoid falls. Eggs, protein shakes, and Greek yogurt are all good sources of protein. If it sounds appetizing, smoked salmon on whole grain avocado toast is a well-balanced breakfast rich in omega-3s for heart and brain health, protein, and fiber that will fuel you all morning. Walnuts, flaxseeds, and pumpkin seeds are also good sources of omega-3s.
Eating berries frequently, which are rich in antioxidants, helps prevent cognitive decline. Add them to smoothies, top yogurt, or cottage cheese, or toss a handful into whole grain pancake batter or oatmeal. Frozen berries may be more economical and can be quickly thawed to add to a healthier breakfast. Overnight oats are also a healthy breakfast that can be prepared the night before – making mornings easier for seniors or caregivers.