Menu Close
question mark icon


Contact us today to learn more about Buckner Villas

Common Misconceptions About Seniors and Diet

seniors enjoying breakfast together while discussing misconceptions about seniors and diet

Information about the benefits of eating a healthy and balanced diet is everywhere. While most of us understand its importance, doing it is more complicated than it seems, especially with conflicting information. As we age, our appetites and nutritional needs change, and diets may need to change because of medications or health conditions. Add in the fact that many seniors lack access to healthy food, and it becomes easy to understand why many seniors experience malnourishment. 

At Buckner Villas, we understand the importance of healthy eating and provide nutrition counseling for seniors. Each resident meets one-on-one with our nutritionist to determine the diet best suited to their unique needs. However, we also know that getting proper nutrition goes beyond food, so we offer multiple venues and events where residents can gather to eat with their peers.

Contact us online or call 512.580.9882 to schedule a visit. 

Debunking Popular Misconceptions About Senior Diet Needs

Myths and misconceptions about the dietary needs of the senior population are often barriers to ensuring that seniors get proper nutrition. For example, many believe that weight indicates whether or not someone is malnourished. In reality, weight usually does not correlate with good nutrition. The nutritional content of food is more important than caloric intake. 

Following are myths or misconceptions about senior dietary needs and the facts that debunk them:

  • Seniors need less protein – Research shows seniors may need more protein to sustain muscle mass and strength.
  • Seniors should avoid all fats – This is only true for those with certain health conditions. Instead, they should incorporate healthy fats from fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil, and avocados.
  • Seniors should only drink when they’re thirsty – Dehydration is a significant health risk for seniors, who should drink water throughout the day and incorporate water-rich foods like lettuce, strawberries, watermelon, and broth-based soups. 
  • Seniors should eat three meals a day – The number of times a day seniors eat is less important than the nutrients they get. Many seniors do better eating five to six smaller meals. 
  • Seniors can rely on supplements for nutrition – Supplements cannot replace food and should only be taken if medically prescribed. Supplements can interfere with medications and do more harm than good when not taken correctly.
  • Eating out is better for seniors – While convenient, restaurant meals are often high in calories, salt, sugar, and unhealthy fats.
  • Seniors should avoid carbohydrates – As with fats, healthy or complex carbohydrates, such as those in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, provide essential nutrients.

Finally, many seniors feel they should be able to eat whatever they want as long as they aren’t overweight or diabetic. However, increasing nutrient intake does not equate to overeating. Overconsumption, especially of unhealthy, prepackaged, highly processed, or fast foods, increases the risk for numerous chronic health issues. 

Guidelines for Healthy Nutrition and Aging

Understanding good nutrition related to aging is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health, allowing seniors to maintain autonomy and their highest level of independence. In addition to the importance of eating nutrient-dense foods, healthy fats, enough protein, and staying hydrated, the following are other guidelines to consider:

  • Calcium and Vitamin D – Adequate exposure to sunlight, leafy greens, dairy, and fortified foods helps maintain healthy levels of these nutrients, which support bone health and prevent osteoporosis and fractures.
  • Fiber – Foods like whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables, which are high in fiber, support digestive health and help prevent constipation.
  • Limit sugar and saturated fats – These substances contribute to diabetes and heart disease, so should be eaten sparingly.
  • Omega-3 fatty acids – Walnuts, flaxseeds, chia seeds, and fatty fish provide Omega-3s, which have anti-inflammatory properties and can reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline and cardiovascular disease.

Adopting healthy eating patterns like those outlined in the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) or Mediterranean diet is associated with numerous health benefits. 

Call Today to Schedule a Visit to Buckner Villas

Buckner Villas is committed to providing residents with high-quality, nutritious, and delicious dining options. Call 512.580.9882 or complete our web form to schedule a visit and see how we have broken the misconception that senior living centers have bland, subpar food.