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Planning Retirement Online

Eating Well

We should think about our diet as we get older. There are so many different diets that this is not the place to go into them. In any event, we are not saying that you ‘have to go on a diet’.

What we are saying is that we should be careful not to increase our food and drink intake in retirement and that it is worth making sure that we eat fairly healthily. So eat your portions of fruit and vegetables every day and try not to eat too much fatty food. At our age, we have sufficient common sense to know what is sensible and what is over the top. Don’t go over the top too often!

There are lots of good low fat or no fat cookbooks around and in almost any health shop or chemist you can pick up leaflets about various types of healthy food. Enjoy your food and drink in retirement but be wary of over-indulging.

In particular, today’s healthy eating messages try to draw attention to the imbalances in the average UK diet. Hence, we should eat:

  • 400 Best-ever Fat Free, Low Fat Recipes: The Essential Guide to Healthy Cooking and Eating, with Every Recipe Shown Step-by-step in 1200 Colour PhotographsMore fruit and vegetables – five portions per day.
  • More starchy foods - bread, pasta, cereal and potatoes - in order for us to maintain our energy levels.
  • More fibre that can help protect us from heart disease and bowel cancer
  • Less fat and fatty foods. On the other hand, oily fish is good for the brain and heart.
  • Fewer salty foods. Processed food tends to have a lot of salt in, so fresh food, cooked from first principles, is better.
  • Fewer sugary foods and drinks.

Eating healthily can also save you money! Buying food that you have to cook yourself, rather than buying stuff that has been prepared and cooked for you by someone else, is usually cheaper.

Other ways that following healthy eating advice can be cheaper include:

  • Making a casserole rather than buying more expensive items such as chops
  • Making a casserole or stew using less meat and adding another source of protein such as red kidney beans instead
  • Serving larger portions of bread, pasta or rice with smaller portions of meat or fish
  • Choosing vegetables and fruit in season when they are good value for money

Doing some exercise and eating and drinking sensibly are the keys to staying fit and healthy. so how about growing your own vegetables if you have a garden? If not, perhaps you could get an allotment and grow produce there. In that way, you will be getting some exercise and fresh air and also reducing the salt in your diet which comes from packaged and processed food. You might even enjoy the satisfaction of growing your own food!

More Information

If you would like some more information about eating healthily and well, have a look at the British Dietetic Association website. You can get information on maintaining or losing weight, eating healthily, getting support and a host of other topics.

Age UK have some very useful fact sheets on staying healthy in later life, including key messages about a healthy diet. Click on the link and you will see the range of fact sheets, in particular one on Healthy Living and one on Healthy Eating.

Staying Fit and Healthy links

You might like to look at the website of the British Nutrition Foundation. You will find help with all aspects of nutrition including facts about food additives (which you will find if you click on 'Food Science/Labels' once you are on the website).

Many people take dietary supplements, vitamins and so on, to augment their diet and to compensate for some deficiency. For example, many people who suffer from arthritis, or who wish to avoid it in the first place, take Glucosamine and/or cod liver oil capsules. Certain vitamins and minerals protect us against osteoporosis. If you wish to make an informed decision about whether or not to use supplements, go to the Office of Dietary Supplements website where there is a wealth of information.

If we do take some exercise and eat well - and both can be very enjoyable - it will enable us to live life to the full and make the most of our later life. We will be full of energy and vigour and therefore able to do all those things that we wish to do.

Now click on the links in the box and read about the other aspects of staying healthy and fit in later life.

This Guide is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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