Nutritional deficiency can affect people of any age, but seniors are at a higher risk of missing some of the vitamins and minerals they need. As we get older, our nutritional needs change. As a result, the diet we've had for most of our lives might not do the trick anymore. Here's a look at how to tell if you need to change your diet and ways to do so that won't break the bank.
Signs You Need to Make a Change
You can't fix a problem you don't know you have, but there are a few signs you might be missing out on some vital nutrients. One big clue is if your day-to-day diet is identical -- or close to it. Everyone falls into certain routines in life, and food is one area where most of us tend to settle into familiar patterns. However, if you tend to mostly eat the same foods or the same kinds of food every day, it's possible you're missing out on valuable nutrients.
Take a look at your diet throughout the week. Is there a lot of variety? Do you get plenty of fruits and vegetables? What about healthy protein sources? Eating the same things is OK if you're covering all of your nutritional bases, but if you're not, try to mix it up with some new recipes.
How you feel is another great tool to gauge whether or not you're getting all of the vitamins and minerals you need. Feeling lethargic or achy? What about depressed or anxious? There are several physical and mental signs of nutritional deficiency that you should know.
Seek Medical Guidance
If you suspect you're missing out on a particular nutrient, don't just go with your gut. Contact your doctor, and ask for a full nutritional panel. This will identify anything missing from your diet. This blood work can also reveal any nutritional absorbency issues, such as celiac disease.
If you're a Medicare Advantage Plan subscriber, you may be able to get further guidance when it comes to hitting nutritional goals. These plans provide low-cost opportunities for you to meet with medical professionals who can give you solid techniques for hitting both nutritional and exercise goals. Sometimes, a little extra support is all you need!
Shopping for food is most likely your biggest opportunity to up your nutritional intake. However, not being a mindful shopper can quickly lead to a high grocery bill. Here are ways you can get what you need without spending a ton of money -- you might even find your grocery bill gets smaller!
- Frozen Fruits and Veggies - Fresh produce is great for you, but there are several drawbacks to only buying from the produce section and skipping the freezer aisle. Fresh fruits and vegetables have a much shorter shelf life than their frozen counterparts, so you could wind up throwing much of what you buy away instead of actually eating it.
- Low-Cost Proteins - If meat is your primary source of protein, you can cut costs by focusing on less-expensive protein sources, such as eggs and beans. Try to make meat a special-occasion food and get your regular protein elsewhere.
- Off-Brand, On Budget - Most of the time, store-brand products are just as good as their name-brand counterparts; often, they're even packaged on the same production line. If you have a name brand item you absolutely love, feel free to keep it on your list, but keep generic and store-brand items in mind as low-cost alternatives.
Focus on getting the vitamins and nutrients your body needs, and you're likely to feel more energized, have an easier time managing your weight, and get sick less often. The right foods can keep our bodies as healthy as possible, so make sure you're getting everything you need to function at your best. After all, you deserve it!
Photo Credit: Pexels