Daily Calorie Levels for Women
A woman over age 50 should consume about
- 1,600 calories a day if her level of physical activity is low (only performs activities associated with typical day-to-day life)\
- 1,800 calories daily if she is moderately active (walks the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)
- 2,000 to 2,200 calories daily if she has an active lifestyle (walks the equivalent of more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour).
Daily Calorie Levels for Men
- 2,000 to 2,200 calories a day if his level of physical activity is low (only performs activities associated with typical day-to-day life)
- 2,200 to 2,400 calories daily if he is moderately active (walks the equivalent of 1.5 to 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour)
- 2,400 to 2,800 calories daily if he has an active lifestyle (walks the equivalent of more than 3 miles a day at 3 to 4 miles per hour).
Likewise, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) as also come forward with a version of "MyPlate" for older adults:
For the older adult MyPlate, emphasis is placed on nutrient-dense and fiber-rich foods such as whole, enriched and fortified grains and cereals, brightly colored vegetables, deep-colored fruits, low fat and nonfat dairy products, dry beans, nuts, fish, poultry, and vegetable oil and soft spreads low in saturated trans fats.
The USDA recommends one to one and a half cups of fruits and two to two and a half cups of vegetables per day. A general rule in regards to nutritional value for fruits and vegetables is the more colorful, the better for you. Brighter colored vegetables and deeper colored fruits often contain the highest levels of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. A good fact to know for diabetic individuals is that vegetables will not affect the blood sugar levels, and therefore can be eating in more generous portions.
The other half of the plate is grains, protein, and dairy. The USDA recommendation for starch is about three ounces. These starches are the primary components of calories and are quickly metabolized for fuel. They highly recommend those three ounces come predominately in the form of whole grains, especially those that are fortified. Fortified grains offer more vitamin D, iodine, folic acid, and iron. The USDA is also encouraging of low and non-fat dairy options. Three cups is recommended. This includes cottage cheese, yogurt, and cheese. Lean proteins of fish, beans and chicken are also encouraged, up to five to five and a half ounces a day. Peanut butter and tofu also fall into this.
Next there are oils. Although not considered to be a food group, they do provide essential nutrients, and therefore made in on the MyPlate. Outside of directly cooking with oil, they also can be found in fish, nuts, and dressings. Notice the USDA emphasis on the use of spices. This is to encourage the use of various spices as a substitute for salt. This is due to the influence salt has on blood pressure. That being said, the daily recommendation is less than fifteen hundred milligrams per day. Nevertheless, from 2007-2008 the average American consumed more than three thousand milligrams a day. That is double the recommended salt intake!
Notice that they are still recommending 8-8oz sources of fluids, however there are plenty of options on how to get that fluid. Water, juice, fat-free milk, tea, coffee, and soup all fall into the category of fluid. It’s especially important for older adults to consume these 8-8oz sources of fluid, as they are drastically more prone for dehydration.
This illustration below shows how water accounts for less of our body mass as we age. Therefore, even if an elderly person is consuming fewer liquids than their body’s required amount, these affects will show more readily than in a younger adult or child. Not only that, but we know that the elderly also has a decreased ability to tell if they are thirsty. Considering this, always keep a glass nearby for easy access.