10 Nutrition Tips customized For You Based On Your Age
In your 20s: Plan for the future
The sooner you build a strong foundation for healthy eating, the better, says Toronto-based dietitian Leslie Beck. “Get in a routine with planning nutritious meals now,” she says. Our fave forward-thinking solutions: salad in a jar (see recipe below), writing out a weekly supper schedule and doubling dinner recipes for healthy lunches the next day.
Salad in a jar
Mix dressing: Whisk 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive with 1/4 cup orange juice, 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar, 1 tbsp Dijon and 1/8 tsp salt.
Layer it up: Spoon 1-2 tbsp dressing into jar. Add mushrooms, quinoa, blanched asparagus, grilled chicken or tofu, chopped tomatoes and chopped peppers. Top with mâche or leaf lettuce.
In your 20s: Pack extra protein
Got an exam or work deadline on the horizon? Snacking on protein-rich foods every three to four hours is the secret to managing everyday stress and keeping your metabolism fired up. “Quick fixes like caffeinated drinks only stimulate the body; they don’t actually fuel it,” says Beck.
Make it a habit: Snack on Greek yogurt, whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese or dried fruit and nuts.
In your 20s: Build your bones
Did you know your bones grow until age 29? Once you hit 30, bone mass peaks, so now’s the time to reach for calcium-rich foods. Even if you don’t do dairy, you can eat your way toward the recommended 1,000 mg of calcium a day with some steamed collard greens or sautéed rapini.
Bonus: Studies show high-calcium diets help relieve PMS symptoms!
In your 30s: Max out magnesium
This marvellous mineral protects muscles and nerves, keeps blood pressure in check and guards against heart disease and diabetes. In your 30s, the recommended daily amount increases from 310 to 320 mg.
Try it today: Snack on roasted pumpkin seeds — just 1/4 cup contains 307 mg!
In your 30s: Cut seven cals a day
This is the decade when your metabolism starts to slow due to age-related muscle loss, so Beck recommends taking action now. An active woman getting 2000-2400 calories a day can manage her weight by slashing seven calories (the equivalent of one potato chip) a day every year after age 30. At 31, cut seven more calories, and continue at this rate each year to help maintain a healthy weight for life.
In your 40s: Pop a sunshine pill
As you age, your skin loses its ability to soak up those rays and isn’t as efficient at absorbing vitamin D as it was in your teens and 20s. (A blood test can tell you if you’re D-deficient.) To get the recommended amount of 600 IU a day, you may need a supplement, especially in the darker months.
In your 40s: Hit the weights
Listen up, cardio queens: “When we’re younger we tend to do a lot of aerobics,” Beck says. “But it’s strength and resistance training that helps us maintain bone density and slows down age-related muscle loss.” And don’t rush out of the gym without stretching, she adds. “Flexibility makes all the difference down the road.” Stretch and strengthen now, and you’ll be limber for longer!
In your 50s+: Mix a mocktail
After 50, your risk of heart disease, osteoporosis and breast cancer increases, but limiting both caffeinated and alcoholic beverages to no more than seven per week is a good way to reduce your risk, says Beck. That doesn’t mean you can’t still be a master mixologist! Whip up a fruity breakfast smoothie in lieu of your morning coffee and add a tablespoon of chia for an energy boost. At happy hour, top a glass of sugar-free fruit juice with sparkling water — you can have your bubbles and drink them, too!
In your 50s+: Boost your B12
Found only in meat, fish, eggs and dairy products, this vitamin is important for producing DNA, making healthy blood cells and keeping nerves in top shape. “To absorb B12, your body produces stomach acid that leaches the vitamin from the foods it’s found in,” says Beck. “But as we get older, we get less efficient at producing stomach acid.” Up to 30 percent of people don’t properly absorb B12 and may need a supplement.
Bonus: Studies show B12 is also good for your brain.
In your 50s+: Eat ocean wise
Oily fish could be your best defence against heart disease and stroke. A recent study in the British Medical Journal found people who ate five or more servings of fish a week had a 12 percent lower risk. And since scientists are predicting a worldwide fisheries collapse by 2048, try to shop for sustainable seafood. Thanks to a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program, you can now find Ocean Wise symbols on everything from canned tuna to fresh mussels. Download the Ocean Wise iPhone app to find nearby shops and restaurants that serve up sustainable fish.