Cooking and eating differently at different stages of life

Eating habits and nutritional requirements can change over time.

At every stage of life, we find ourselves cooking and eating differently. As adults over time, we could find ourselves going from weekly meal and menu planning for a family of five (or more!) down to cooking for two or even one people. Along with these changes and as we age, our bodies experience a change in nutritional needs.

Lifestyle changes evolve over time and so does the risk for chronic disease. There is a strong correlation between sustaining a healthy lifestyle (including both diet and exercise) and managing chronic disease. According to the National Council on Aging  approximately 92 percent of older adults have at least one chronic disease, and 77 percent have at least two.

Keep in mind that natural aging factors affect nutrition needs. These factors include:

  • Weight and metabolism change
  • Physical stamina
  • Sleep patterns
  • Vision, bone health and muscle health
  • Risk and management of chronic illnesses

Aside from eating wholesome foods, maintaining overall health includes:

  • Retaining on-going professional healthcare and medical services
  • Maintaining a healthy weight
  • Staying physically active
  • Being aware of your emotional health
  • Adequate sleep
  • Staying hydrated
  • Taking your medications as prescribed

Some benefits of downsizing your food preparation from a large group to a smaller one include:

  • You can save money on the food bill by buying smaller portions and quantities.
  • You can splurge more on those food favorites that were not economical to buy in family sized quantities.
  • You have the freedom to eat and try a variety of foods.
  • There is more time and interest in trying new cooking techniques and recipes.
  • Cooking smaller portions means fresher meals and fewer leftovers.
  • It’s obviously less expensive to eat out with one other person rather than an entire family.
  • It’s all about you! You have more opportunity to enjoy the foods you like when you like.

You can find a vast array of resources, classes and workshops at Michigan State University Extension

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