I can remember when deciding what to eat was not a big deal. If I was hungry I would choose something I liked. Boom. Didn’t stop to think about whether or not it was healthy for me, how many carbs I was about to ingest, what the ingredient label looked like (who cares if it’s 3 paragraphs long) or if my organs were going to collapse and fail if I eat too much of this particular thing.
Those were the days. I may not have been health savvy at all, but in the olden times of my youth that knowledge was not prevalent. So, as long as I could fit into my clothes, life was good.
Flash forward about 50 years and here I am today at 64 years old, keeping a food diary, exercising daily, paying attention to the foods to avoid after 50, and overall being diligent about what I consume and how active I am.
But you know what? I want to live as long as the Lord allows, and my contribution to those life chapters is to take care of what I’ve been given to the best of my ability. And life is good, my friends.
Eating healthy after 50 doesn’t have to be a chore, or feel like we’re being left out of the fun stuff in life. Understanding the WHY of foods to avoid after 50 helps bring these choices into perspective. And, I have a free printable for you to help remember what these foods and food groups are. More about that at the bottom of the post.
Our Changing Metabolism
As we enter midlife, our bodies have experienced some changes (there’s an understatement), and they continue to change as the years pass.
Our metabolism slows, and the propensity to gain weight is staring us in the face every day. Without any action on our part, we’ll just keep packing on the pounds as the day, months and years pass. That is not good on many different levels.
Our bones may lose density which can leave us more susceptible to breaks and injuries.
Our body shape can actually shift, with the unhealthy fat
Daily Calories Needs After 50
As you would expect, our daily calorie needs change as we age. Remember the talk about a slowing metabolism? Well, that has an impact on what our body needs to remain healthy and functioning properly.
Specifically, our age, sex, height, weight,
The more active we are, the more calories we can consume daily to maintain our weight. But don’t get too excited, girls, if you are moderately active and work out regularly. The calorie difference is not that great.
For example, a
What is the takeaway here? We need to adjust our eating habits as we age, and consider all of the factors mentioned above. What we eat is so incredibly important as well!Foods to Avoid After 50 to Look and Feel Your Best! Click To Tweet
Foods to Avoid After 50
Eating healthy after 50 is the goal, right? And we’ll get to that in a minute. But first we need to know the foods and beverages that are not helping us at this time in our lives.
My general rule of thumb in all areas of my life is “everything in moderation”, and nutrition is no different. I do make the effort, though, to keep the really bad stuff to a minimum, because I know that as much as I might love that beautiful, flaky, tasty breakfast treat trying to lure me in at Panera, it’s just not good for me. So I don’t succumb to the temptation often.
Beverages like alcohol and coffee
Oh my…I’m starting this list of foods to avoid after 50 with two of my regular beverages…coffee and chardonnay! But I know that there are aspects to both of them that can be harmful to my health, or how I feel overall.
Coffee: As women in midlife we may or may not be past the hot flash stage of things. If this is something that you are dealing with, limiting your coffee (or other hot beverage) intake can help keep those times to a minimum.
I don’t drink coffee after 3 p.m. or else it can keep me up at night. I know for others that cut off time is earlier, so figure out what your tolerance is and try to stay true to it.
Alcohol: While a glass of wine or other drink in moderation may be fine, we know the dangers of over indulging in alcohol. More than 7 drinks per week as a woman can harm your heart and liver.
Keep in mind, too, that medication can have quite an impact on our reaction to alcohol. As we age, it becomes more common to take both over the counter and prescription medication, so make sure you know how everything interacts.
It can be summed up in one word: sodium. Highly processed cured meats like bacon, pepperoni,
Ditto on the sodium comments above when it comes to deli meats. If you do want to eat deli meats check the label and ingredients to make sure there are no nitrates, nitrites or additives. Read more about processed meat and cancer risk.
Before you grab those french fries, keep these facts in mind:
- As we age our stomachs empty more slowly
- Foods high in fat, like fried foods, tend to remain in the stomach longer than other types of foods
- This can lead to heartburn and reflux
- And, if you eat this way all the time you’ll pack on the pounds!
High Sugar Foods
We know that eating sugar is not good for our teeth or our waistline. But consuming too much sugar can also start a process called glycation. Simply put, the excess sugar molecules combine with proteins that can ultimately damage your skin’s collagen, and collagen is something we don’t want to lose as we age!
Highly Processed Carbs
I love carbs. Carbs don’t love me, not anymore. So I work at keeping them to a healthy level for my mid-60 metabolism.
Why? Well, too much of a carb-filled diet can not only add numbers to the scale, it can spike blood sugar and lead to an over production of insulin. That can result in a higher risk of developing adult-onset diabetes.
Limiting the foods made with white flour like many pastries, white bread, white pasta and white rice, along with sugar-filled foods, is a good start.
High Fructose Corn Syrup
Soda (or pop, in my Midwestern world), candy, salad dressing, canned fruit, some juices, frozen junk foods and other foods that contain high fructose corn syrup will do nothing for your healthy lifestyle goals.
Eat too much of foods like this and you’ll gain weight, as high fructose corn syrup is easily converted to fat when consumed in excess. And, a host of other health issues can arise when too much of this ingredient finds its way into our regular eating choices.
High Sodium Foods
- Sauces like salad dressing and barbecue sauce
- Cottage cheese
- Veggie burgers
–made pancake mixes
- Sub sandwiches
- Chicken breasts (hint: look for packages that say ‘
nonenhanced’ or buy organic)
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Other Honorable Mentions
1 | Pickles
One pickle - cucumber, dill, kosher dill - a small spear has less than 10 calories, but a whopping 283 mg of sodium.
Pickles and their juice can have other health benefits, but be sure to include the sodium in your daily intake.
2 | Frozen Veggies
Pre-sauced frozen veggies can have up to 500 mg of sodium in one cup. Go for the plain frozen vegetables.
3 | Butter
A little bit of butter on your morning toast is okay, but remember that it's a saturated fat, like whole milk and cheese, and too much can affect your cholesterol. Use it sparingly.
4 | Dinner Rolls
A lovely dinner out just isn't complete without a warm, freshly baked dinner roll. But remember that the standard white dinner roll is full of carbs and as we age, those carbs can seem to jump almost instantly onto our waistline.
And, our bodies break down carbs and turn them into glucose, which leads to an increase in blood sugar levels. This could lead to increased hunger and a greater risk of overeating.
Don't worry that you'll have to remember all these foods. I've got a free printable waiting for you to access at the bottom of the post. 🙂
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Healthy Foods to Eat After 50
If you are up for finding foods that comprise the best diet for over 50 years old, heads up for the following. After all, I'm not going to give you the long list of foods to avoid and not provide alternatives, my friends!
I know...it's not in a food group. But we need to keep it at the top of our list, ladies. Even though we may not feel as thirsty as when we were younger, the benefits of drinking water are many.
Sometimes a lack of proper hydration can manifest as fatigue, headache,
Think whole grains, legumes, fruits and veggies. Eat them often.
It's high in fiber and filled with vitamins and antioxidants.
So many reasons to keep nuts on your diet, including fiber, protein, unsaturated fats (you want those), and omega-3s.
A handful of nuts, such as 24 almonds, 35 peanuts, 15 pecan halves or 18 medium cashews can do so much for your health!
Use olive oil in cooking and for other uses instead of butter.
Two servings per week of fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, lake trout, sardines and albacore tuna (one of my favorites) are part of a healthy diet.
Full of nutrients like vitamin C and vitamin E, blueberries are great for snacks, with a touch of sweetness. Better than a cookie!
We know that there are certain foods to avoid after 50 to keep us healthy and strong. The tough part comes when we actually have to transition from what our mind knows is best, to what we literally do, and eat.
I'm not perfect by any means when it comes to choosing the food I consume every day.
But I know this: if I make wise choices with nutrition, keep my body fit and strong, I've got a much better chance of living well and for quite a while! How about you?