Nutrition is a vital part of good health. For aging adults this is especially important, because great health helps you maintain an independent lifestyle and aids in the management of chronic illnesses.

Here are 5 nutrition tips for seniors:

1. Nutritional needs change as you age. Eating a variety of foods can help make sure that nutritional needs are met. Look for foods that are low in salt and higher in fiber. A healthy meal should include protein, fruits and veggies, whole grains and low in fat dairy products.

2. In addition to knowing what makes a healthy meal, knowing how to read nutritional labels is very important and makes eating healthier much easier. Check labels for adverse contents. Items with high amounts of sodium, artificial flavoring and high sugar content should be avoided.

3. Drink Water. Drinking the proper amount of water each day helps your body process nutrients and waste. Water helps your body function the way it should, and without it other nutrients can’t perform their jobs in the body.

4. Serving size matters. Another key aspect of nutrition isn’t what you eat, it’s how much you eat. Caloric needs greatly reduce as you age. The less active you are, the less calories you will burn. The American Heart Association provides great reference for nutrition for seniors.

5. Change is hard. If you’re used to eating certain foods in certain amounts, changing your diet can make you feel downright hangry. Caregivers should be sensitive and empathetic to this resistance, and engage with older adults to help them come up with menu options they enjoy. When you change your eating habits, make sure you give your body time to adjust, because foods that you might miss at first may no longer appeal to you once you get used to healthier alternatives.

If you are looking for nutritional advice for seniors, a nutritionist can help, as can talking to your doctor about your nutritional needs. If you are a caregiver looking for ways to help your loved one, our doctor-approved home care workers can assist with meal planning and preparation, and with nutrition monitoring.