After the death of a spouse, the last thing you may want to do is eat. Even so, you must eat to stay healthy. For some, eating alone can be a chore. Being alone can make it hard to eat healthfully, but there are ways you can make sure you get the nutrients you need.
Getting used to a living alone after the death of a spouse can lead to poor nutrition. For one, food simply tastes better when you are enjoying it with someone you love. Food is not just about nutrition. It is also about the enjoyment of eating. When you suddenly find yourself eating alone, you may not enjoy your meals as much as you once did.
Another reason eating alone can be hard is that you may have less of a reason to cook. Maybe you have spent years cooking for your spouse or family, and now cooking for one is just not the same. Maybe your spouse was in charge of the cooking and you do not know where to begin in the kitchen. Because of these changes, many seniors end up swapping balanced meals for grazing and skipping meals.
Does it really make a difference whether you grab something out of the refrigerator on the go or sit down when you eat your meals? Yes, especially as you get older. Healthy eating may reduce your risk of certain health problems, like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. And your risk for these problems rises as you age.
A good diet also gives you the energy and nutrients you need to stay healthy. Eating healthfully may even help prevent depression and keep your mind sharp.
To make your diet more nutritious, try some of these tips for older adults:
If following these tips seems too hard, try to think of things you can do to make healthy eating easier and more fun. Here are some tips for eating well when you're alone:
Remember, eating a healthy diet will help ward off disease and make your feel more energetic, happier, and healthier. When it comes to your diet, focus on yourself. Your friends and family will thank you.
Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Institute on Aging
Dietitians of Canada
Better health and you: Tips for adults. Weight-control Information Network website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/better_health.htm. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Eating well as you age. Helpguide website. Available at: http://www.helpguide.org/articles/healthy-eating/eating-well-as-you-age.htm. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Young at heart: Tips for older adults. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disorders website. Available at: http://win.niddk.nih.gov/publications/young_heart.htm. Accessed January 12, 2021.
Last reviewed November 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Last Updated: 1/21/2020