Foods to Avoid After 50 to Look and Feel Your Best

Last Updated on February 20, 2024 by Candi Randolph

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.

foods to avoid after 50 to look and feel your best

Flash forward about 50 years and here I am today at 64 years old, keeping a food diary, exercising daily, trying to maintain a healthy diet by 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.

Keep in mind that I am not a medical professional, I’m a woman who wants to know how to live longer by living a healthy lifestyle. Be sure to solicit medical advice from your health care provider if you have questions about nutrition and your overall health.

If you click on a link and then make a purchase, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Our Changing Metabolism

Simple morning routine for women over 50

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 fatstoring it’s nasty self around our middles. I find it so annoying but realize that I’m no different than any other woman over 60. Belly fat happens.

Daily Calories Needs After 50

best diet for over 50 years old

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, and level of activity impact our daily necessary calorie intake.

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 55 year old woman who is moderately active can consume about 1,800 calories per day compared to a similarly aged woman who is sedentary. The total calories per day only drop by 200.

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

Foods to avoid after 50 to stay healthy and strong

A healthy diet 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.

Cured Meats

It can be summed up in one word: sodium. Highly processed cured meats like bacon, pepperoni, and hot dogs are full of sodium. The added salt is not good for us, ladies, as all that extra sodium can make us more prone to weakened bone density and osteoporosis.

Salt can cause our body to retain water, particularly around our middle, as well as other effects we don’t want: brain fog, extreme thirst, and even kidney stones.

Deli Meats

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.

Fried Foods

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

We’ve discussed what can happen when you consume too much sodium on a regular basis. You might be surprised, though, at some of the foods that contain large amounts of sodium. Here are some examples:

  • Sauces like salad dressing and barbecue sauce
  • Cottage cheese
  • Bagels
  • Soup
  • Veggie burgers
  • Readymade pancake mixes
  • Sub sandwiches
  • Chicken breasts (hint: look for packages that say ‘non enhanced’ or buy organic)

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. πŸ™‚

Healthy Foods to Eat After 50

eating healthy after 50
mixed selection of fruit and vegetables

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, and constipation. Drink your water. πŸ™‚


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!

Olive Oil

Use olive oil in cooking and for other uses instead of butter.

Fatty Fish

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!

Healthy Meal Delivery Options

Here are some healthy ‘done for you’ options if the thought of planning and preparing meals is more than you want to take on:

Hello Fresh – they offer a variety of food meal plans including a low-calorie option

Green Chef – premium ingredients and plans that include Balanced Living, Keto+Paleo, and Plant-Powered

Bistro MD – weight loss meals, or the complete meal program for weight loss. More than just meal delivery!

Freshly – clean eating, carb-conscious menu with several healthy options

Fresh ‘n Lean – chill, then heat and eat. And it’s good, clean food. How easy is that?

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?

Grab your FREE Printable from the Resource Library and keep it handy, so you’ll always make healthy food choices!

Like this post? Share it!

23 thoughts on “Foods to Avoid After 50 to Look and Feel Your Best”

  1. Hi Candi, Brilliant post! I love how you’ve summed up the positives and negatives about these food groups and have reminded us that we can’t get away with eating the way we did when we were younger. My body now responds… loudly… to every little thing I eat and drink. Ninety-five percent of the time I’m the poster girl for eating well, but occasionally I fall off the wagon, but I get right back up and start all over. xoxox, Brenda

    1. I know what you mean, Brenda…it seems like I just think about a tasty treat and gain a pound! I think that a fresh start every day can go a long way to keeping us on track. Thanks for stopping in!

  2. Wonderful advice, Candi! I shared this to my ‘Get healthy” Pinterest board.

    I ‘buy blueberries every week and enjoy them fresh at breakfast. I’ve also tried to cut back on “white: carbs like white bread, white rice, and pasta, but still enjoy a few whole-grain products every day. I power walk for exercise but I just got a free “Silver Sneakers” gym enrollment so I’m going to add more daily exercise to my routine.

  3. Lucky for me, I love the healthy foods you listed and I drink lots of water. The bad news is I also love sugar and simple carbs. My diet is certainly healthier than it once was, but there’s a lot of room for improvement. Thanks for the reminder, Candi. #MLSTL

  4. Hi Candi, another indepth post and one that certainly provides us with some great information. My husband and I removed alcohol from our life almost 18 months ago and we have been eating healthy for quite some time. Of course we have the occasional treat but I find now that healthy and nutritious food tastes better and looks more inviting than processed, take-away foods. Thanks for contributing to Over 50 Women’s Health and Well being and sharing at #MLSTL. xx

    1. Hi Sue, I have found the same thing for many processed foods. They just don’t taste good, which I’m glad about. Real, clean food is always the best choice. Thanks for sharing! xo

  5. Ugh-I’m not sure why water is so difficult for me! Thank you for this well thought out list. And I agree with you-everything in moderation. More working out-less eating out. Should be easy, right? But it’s so difficult! I will be sharing on sm. #MSTL

    1. Hi Theresa, I’ve recently started to drink my water with ice (a first for me) and a slice of lemon. It’s very refreshing…try it and see what you think. And I agree that while it seems so simple, staying on track as we age can be really hard! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  6. Patricia Doyle

    Hi Candi, Visiting from #MLSTL and encouraged that I’m doing many of these things. For me, portion control has been a biggie. I still need to watch the whites – bread, pasta, and rice. Hubby was raised “meat and potatoes” so it’s hard to not have starch/carb with dinner for him. But he’s also gotten to also “need” a veggie with dinner! Since he’s the primary cook, this helps. I’m a firm believer in moderation – and that’s how I handle my treats – ice cream, chips, chocolate, or wine.

  7. Australia hasn’t caught up with the US in it’s processed food consumption. I think on a whole we still tend to prepare most of our own meals at home and takeaway is less prevalent (based on what I see Americans eating on TV). It’s probably used more by busy full-time working couples and families, but still not on the scale of the US. I’m grateful that there’s not the temptation to buy pre-packaged and fast food nearby – and I know how hard those calories are to burn off, so I’m all for healthy home-cooked eating!

    1. Hi Leanne, I absolutely agree! Preparing my own food has been a priority for months now. I really want to know what is going into the food I consume, and it is so much healthier!

  8. Hi CandiπŸ€—Thank you for so much good information! I really appreciate the dialogue with other women in my age category. Every day is a gift and I have many friends who did not get this chance.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top