Having to make a variety of protein-rich meals every day is no easy task.
Experts recommend over-65s eat two protein-rich meals a day combined with strengthening exercises to help build muscles and maintain independence and quality of life.
Knowing how to get the balance right is important as our nutritional requirements, including protein and calcium, increase as we age. At the same time, we tend to eat less and this means we need to make every bite count nutritionally.
Consuming a diet rich in protein is one of the best ways to ensure you’re reaching your body’s daily nutritional needs. Over the age of 65 our muscles and bones also need more attention and fuelling them with the right protein-rich foods can help keep them in tip-top shape.
Margaret Hays, accredited practicing dietitian, explains there are a variety of protein-rich foods from which a wide range of quick and easy protein-rich meals can be made. Red meat such as beef and lamb, dairy foods, chicken, fish, eggs, legumes and nuts are all protein-rich foods.
“Each protein-rich food contains its own important nutrient make-up that helps create a healthy diet. When combined with strengthening exercises, protein found in different types of food can help build our muscles to ensure we remain healthy and independent later in life,” she said.
“Another benefit of these protein-rich foods is they come with a whole load of other nutrients required for good health – which is important when you’re aiming to make every bite count nutritionally.
“Each has its own nutritional make up. Getting a variety of protein rich foods in the diet ensures you receive the full range of nutrients. Protein-rich dairy, for example, is also an excellent source of calcium, which is important for bone health.”
Hays recommends three to four serves of calcium-rich foods, such as milk, yoghurt or cheese, every day to help keep bones strong. For iron and zinc, Hays recommends red meat such as beef and lamb three to four times a week. For omega-3, fish is recommended twice a week and having legumes twice a week helps deliver dietary fibre for gut health.
Not only does eating different types of protein-rich foods ensure you’re meeting your nutritional needs, it also helps create a delicious diet that is full of flavour and variety.
Hays suggests these nutritional and delicious ways to include more protein-rich foods in your diet:
Combining different protein-rich foods such as these can help ensure your body is receiving the essential nutrients it needs and help you lead an active, more independent life for longer.