Nutrition and Healthy Aging

Eating a well-balanced diet is an important part of staying healthy as you age. Eating well helps you maintain a healthy weight and have the energy and nutrients your body needs to stay active and engaged. Healthy eating also can reduce the risk of certain chronic conditions or lessen their symptoms. Further, eating nutritious foods protects bones, joints and muscles with can reduce the risk of falls and related injury.

What it means to eat well does change a little as you age. For example, your body may need more of certain nutrients than you did when you younger. Your metabolism may also slow down, so you need fewer calories than before. A diet that focuses on fresh fruits and vegetables and lean meats and proteins in the right portions will give you the best nutritional value.

Five keys to healthy eating, from the National Council on Aging:

5 Keys to Healthy Eating

  1. Know what a healthy plate looks like - The USDA's MyPlate guide shows you which types of foods to eat and in what amounts.
  2. Look for important nutrients - To get all the nutrients you need, you should eat a variety of foods. Generally, choose natural (unprocessed) foods with bright colors.
  3. Read the Nutrition Facts label - When you do eat packaged foods, read the labels to find items that are lower in fat, added sugars, and sodium.
  4. Use recommended servings - To maintain your weight, you must eat the right amount of food for your age and body.
  5. Stay hydrated - Drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. Tea, coffee, and water are your best choices.

Nutrition Services in Your Community

If you or a loved one have trouble keeping a healthy diet, there may be resources available in your community that can help. Contact your area agency on aging or local senior center for information on nutrition program services in your area. Available programs may include any or all of the following and more.

Community Nutrition Services

Nutrition consultation and education provides elders and their caregivers with information and resources on nutrition, health and wellness topics.

Congregate meals provide nutritious meals, as well as provide opportunities for social interaction and activity.

Home delivered meals, perhaps better known as "meals on wheels," provide nutritious meals delivered to the doors of older Ohioans who have limited mobility, are homebound or lack transportation.

Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program, available in select counties, provides coupons for older residents that can be redeemed for fresh vegetables, fruits and herbs from farmers' markets and roadside stands.

Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program

Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program

The Department of Aging partners with area agencies on aging to offer the Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program in 45 counties. Participants receive ten $5 coupons to use at participating farmers’ markets and roadside stands. Coupons can be redeemed for Ohio-grown fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs and honey. Some restrictions apply.

Find your local Senior Farmers Market.

Use Produce Perks to double your SNAP/EBT dollars. Not enrolled in SNAP but think you may be eligible? Contact your local Job and Family Service office for more details.

You are eligible for the Ohio Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program if:

Your local program contact can help you determine your eligibility.

The Senior Farmers' Market Nutrition Program is made possible by funding from the United States Department of Agriculture, state and local funding.

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on ... Read more... race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted of funded by USDA. Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.) should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing, or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800)877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English. To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, found online and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866)632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, S.W. Washington, D.C. 20250-9410; Fax: (202)690-7442; or email: This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

Find Services Where You Live