Healthy Eating

Why Eat Healthy?

One of our most pleasurable tools for staying healthy is what’s on our plates. Eating well can make measurable differences in our health and in how we feel, both physically and mentally.

On this site you’ll learn simple steps you can take to improve the role food plays in your health and the health of your loved ones.

Nutritional advice can be overwhelming and confusing. We can help you sort out myth from fact. All the information here is overseen by medical specialists and researchers who are on the leading edge of their field.

How Can Nutrition Help Us as We Age?

Top Tips for Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Do you want to learn more about healthy eating? See our Resources list at the bottom of this page.

Myth

You might have heard that you need a specific amount of water per day, for instance six to eight cups. This is not true!

Staying Hydrated: The Importance of Fluids

As we age, our sense of thirst may decline. We might not always feel thirsty when our bodies need fluid. But hydration is essential—it keeps us feeling good and supports healthy brains, hearts, digestive systems, kidneys, joints, and more.

Fact

Actually, a variety of fluids and foods can keep you hydrated throughout the day. A simple approach is to drink with each meal and snack. Also, make water your drink of choice most of the time.

Make Water Your Drink of Choice

Get more hydration facts and suggestions by clicking on this box.

Challenges to Healthy Eating as You Age

Aging brings change. Some of those changes can get in the way of healthy eating, such as:

All these conditions can be a natural part of aging and are common. Talk to your primary care provider about finding support and check out the resources below!

A primary care provider:

- Is typically the person you see first for a health concern
- Helps you manage an ongoing issue
- Is often a family doctor or nurse practitioner

Don’t have a primary care provider?

See below

Three signs you should talk to a health care provider right away:

- Difficulty shopping for groceries & preparing meals
- Changes in dental condition, swallowing, appetite, self-feeding abilities
- Losing a lot of weight in short time without meaning to

You may be referred to other health care team members:

- A dietitian can help with malnutrition & finding food resources
- A speech language pathologist can help with swallowing
- An occupational therapist can look at your home & recommend ways to make food prep easier
A physiotherapist or occupational therapist can help with physical challenges

If you don’t have a primary care provider, register for a wait list here. Find out where to get medical help right away here.

What the numbers say…

Older adults at risk

1%
of older adults have trouble getting the nutrition they need
1
Almost a million (about 979,000) Canadians aged 65 or older are at nutritional risk—a third of people in this age range

Cooking classes work!

1%
of older adult adults in cooking classes improved their overall knowledge about healthy eating
1
Older adults included more vegetables and fiber in their diets after taking classes

Can everyone afford healthy food?

1%
of low-income seniors report running out of money to buy food some of the time
1%
There was a 78% increase in use of food banks by B.C. seniors in the last five years

Are you having trouble accessing food? See Free and Low Cost Food Resources below.

The Joy of Eating

Even if you don’t have much time to check out the resources on this page, there is one easy thing you can do for yourself: enjoy your food. Dietitians (medical experts on healthy eating) recommend focussing on the joy of food as much as following specific guidelines.

For many of us, food is part of cultural heritage and is often the centre of celebrations. Embracing the pleasure in preparing, eating, and sharing food brings meaning and connection to life. It also motivates us to eat well.

Resources

  • Call 8-1-1 to speak to a Registered Dietitian (a health care professional who advises on healthy eating), 9:00 a.m – 5:00 p.m. Monday to Friday, or email with your questions.
  • Search a nutrition topic online in the Healthy Eating and Nutrition Topics A-Z search bar.

There’s a huge amount of diet advice out there. How to sort through it? The resources below come from trustworthy sources, reflect the latest knowledge, and focus on practical advice. Depending on how much time you have, choose “bite-sized” for quick reference, “snack-size” for more depth, and “meal-sized” for a deeper dive.

Bite-Sized Information
Snack-Sized Information
Meal-Sized Information
  • Healthy Eating for Seniors handbook
    This downloadable 200-page booklet is full of dependable, practical information. Available in Chinese, English, French, and Punjabi, it includes a glossary of common terms and suggestions of where to find more information and help, as well as:
    – Recipes and cooking tips
    – Shopping and meal planning tips
    – How to read labels and decipher nutritional information
    – How to eat well with chronic illness, focussing on specific conditions
    – Advice about supplements
    – Guidelines for alcohol consumption
  • Heart and Stroke: Healthy Eating
    This website has lots of good advice focussed on heart health but relevant for everyone.

For a cooking course on Indigenous Traditions in the Kitchen, see Food Skills for Families, below

Food Skills for Families offers courses at community centres throughout B.C. The courses connect people in the kitchen and teach hands-on cooking skills. The goal is to make healthy eating, grocery shopping, and cooking easy and fun. Click here to find an upcoming Food Skills for Families course near you. Classes happen once a week and the courses run for six weeks. Choose from five different courses:

  • Indigenous—Traditions in the Kitchen
  • Active Seniors—Cooking Connections
  • Punjabi—The Punjabi Kitchen
  • Newcomer—Cooking in Canada
  • Food Sense—Healthy Cooking on a Budget

See Community Resources below to find other food, cooking, and nutrition programs in your community.

There are many community initiatives throughout B.C. dedicated to ensuring everyone is well-nourished. These websites can help you find free and low-cost sources of food. See Community Resources below as well.