Care Resources Urges Older Adults to Take Stock of Eating Habits During National Nutrition Month

The following guest article comes from Care Resources.

As adults age into their 50s and beyond, their nutritional needs change, so it’s important for that population to be deliberate in what and how much they ingest for optimal health.

That’s the word from registered dietitians and nutritionists like Patti Rozycki of Care Resources in Grand Rapids, one of countless professionals working to create awareness of proper nutrition, especially during March, when she and her colleagues celebrate National Nutrition Month.

For more than 50 consecutive years, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been annually celebrating wise choices around food each March and the need to develop sound eating and physical activity habits.

Being nutritionally aware is arguably most important for adults 50 and older, since their needs are adjusting with age – needs tied to slowed metabolism, weakened senses, slowed digestion and challenges with medications and illnesses.

One of the keys, says Rozycki, is to avoid choices offering “empty calories” – things like juice drinks, sugary cereals, doughnuts and potato chips. The same goes for fried foods, caffeine, alcohol and high-sodium foods, all of which can affect quality of life.

Instead, choose more “nutrient-dense” foods packed with vitamins and minerals – think eggs, dairy, whole grains, fruits and vegetables – and lay off foods with added sugar, salt (sodium) or that are high in fat.

“Your nutrition profile should have variety,” she notes, “but make sure you’re making healthy choices.”

Those measures and more are put into practice daily for the adults served by Care Resources, where Rozycki has been in place for more than four years, serving participants 55 years and older who qualify for a wide host of services, including dietary advice.

With headquarters at 4150 Kalamazoo Ave. SE, Care Resources reaches out to hundreds of people in Kent County and parts of surrounding counties with a community-based program that promotes healthy, independent living to prevent nursing home placement.

In addition to recommending what foods to eat, Rozycki has these tips for older adults interested in healthy nutrition choices:

  • Be purposeful in what you purchase to eat. Make a healthy list and stick to it, avoiding impulse buys.
  • When traveling, plan ahead of time what and where you’ll eat. If possible, pack healthy snacks as an alternative to stopping for fast food.
  • Don’t overlook your hydration. You typically need water before you become overly thirsty. Dehydration can have a debilitating effect on your health.
  • Avoid fad diets and lose-weight-quick schemes. And be wary of supplements and what they claim to do.

At Care Resources, nutrition is just part of a comprehensive plan created individually for its participants, Rozycki says. If, for example, the goal is to lose weight, many factors go into the establishment of a plan, including health history, medications, exercise options and support from friends and family.

With obesity rates for Americans 60 and over at nearly 42% and rising, Rozycki says it’s more important than ever to eat healthier.

“It’s all about making the right choices.”

Nutrition counseling through a program like Care Resources can help older adults create a health plan that is tailored to individual needs. For more information, call 616-913-2006 or visit

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