The Sage Connection

Dieting After 50…


Valentine’s Day means different things to different people. For some it is a bouquet of flowers and fancy card, along with a romantic dinner or outing. Others, without partners, may gather with friends or stay home alone, content with memories of past loves.

For me, it only means one thing – chocolate.

Hot chocolate for breakfast, and chocolate anything for dessert with lunch and dinner. Did I mention in between meal snacks? Chocolate truffles, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate candy bars, chocolate cake – the list is endless.

The day after this particular celebratory holiday, for me, means a trip to the bathroom scale. I don’t over-stress about the scale because it is only one day a year. But that one day, in my case, has been known to do some damage.

And so it is that I find myself, once again, looking at dietary websites. This year I found one that is designed specifically for older adults.

MyPlate for Older Adults:

Their website states the following: “In 2011 the USDA released MyPlate. Also in 2011, Tuffs University and the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging released MyPlate for Older Adults as an icon to provide food, fluid and physical activity guidance specifically tailored for older adults.

In 2015, the HNRCA partnered with AARP Foundation in conjunction with the updated 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans to revamp MyPlate for Older Adults. The new plate gives special attention, with the expertise of AARP Foundation, to fully target various demographics and food access issues relevant to the 50+ population.”

What’s new?

Not much. Most of us know the basics of what we should and should not be eating. We know we should be more active. We know our metabolisms have slowed down, and that for some of us, our body parts are flopping and sagging at an alarming rate.

We are still being urged to consume plenty of fluids, especially in warmer weather. Fluids, according to MyPlate, can come from water, tea, coffee, soups, fruits, and vegetables.

Oils should be of the olive type, dairy should be non, or at the very least, low fat, grains are an important source of fiber and we should eat more fruits and veggies.

Protein-rich foods provide many important nutrients. Some seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes (beans and peas), nuts, seeds, soy products, and low/non-fat dairy products should be eaten daily.

Lay off the salt and have fun experimenting with herbs and different kinds of seasonings.

So, in a nutshell, eat less and maybe more often – five small meals instead of three large ones. Use a smaller plate so you can fool yourself into thinking you are eating a lot.

And move. Exercise does not have to be done in a gym.  In my humble opinion, dancing with your broom counts. Waving to your neighbors is good for the upper arms. Make it fun.

Our local YMCAs also offer some great exercise options for older adults, both in person and online. Our PBS station hosts a chair yoga show that is actually kind of fun.

And I read somewhere (probably on Facebook) that naps and dark chocolate are good for your heart. So, enjoy!

For more information on MyPlate, check out the website below

What Is MyPlate for Older Adults? | Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging (

Kathleen Anderson writes this column each week from her home in Olympia.  Contact her at or post your comment below.


No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here