Essential Nutrients for Active Aging

Sara is an ACE Certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Nutrition Specialist for the YMCA. In 2018, Sara was inspired by the YMCA community to go back to school and pursue her dream of becoming a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN).  Her monthly blog posts feature evidence-based nutrition information, healthy recipes, and member Q&As. 

Maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle is important to support independence and vitality as we age. In this blog post, we’ll examine essential nutrients that promote active aging and offer simple ways to incorporate these nutrients into your diet.

Calcium: Essential for bone health, calcium becomes even more crucial for seniors to prevent bone density loss. Enjoy a cup of low-sugar yogurt or milk as a mid-morning snack. Add a sprinkle of cheese to your omelet or have a glass of calcium-fortified orange juice with breakfast.

Vitamin D: Supports bone health and immunity; its significance increases with age due to reduced skin synthesis. Bask in some morning sunlight or enjoy grilled salmon for lunch. For a tasty treat, have a bowl of vitamin D-fortified cereal with milk as an afternoon snack.

Fiber: Vital for digestion and heart health, fiber aids in maintaining a healthy digestive system. Start your day with a fiber-rich breakfast by adding berries and ground flaxseeds to your oatmeal or whole-grain cereal. Snack on crunchy carrots and hummus or grab a handful of mixed nuts to boost your fiber intake.

Potassium: Regulates blood pressure and heart health; seniors may need more to counteract age-related changes. Opt for potassium-rich fruits and vegetables, like a sliced banana in your morning cereal or yogurt. Enjoy a lunchtime salad with spinach, tomatoes, and grilled chicken, sprinkled with almonds.

Vitamin B12: Crucial for nerve function and cognitive health, B12 absorption can decrease with age. Have a scrambled egg with avocado for breakfast or a tuna salad sandwich for lunch. Enjoy a handful of almonds or a serving of vitamin B12-fortified cereal for a quick snack.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Supports heart and brain health, especially valuable for cognitive function in seniors. Add a tablespoon of ground flaxseeds to your smoothie, or sprinkle walnuts on your salad for some omega-3 goodness. Consider incorporating grilled salmon, mackerel, or sardines into your dinner rotation.

Protein: Vital for maintaining muscle mass and strength, protein becomes even more important for seniors to counteract age-related muscle loss. Enjoy low-sugar Greek yogurt topped with chopped nuts for a protein-packed snack. Make a tasty quinoa salad with black beans and diced vegetables for a satisfying lunch. For more protein-boosting meal and snack ideas, check out my previous blog post, How Much Protein Do I Really Need

Want to learn more about how to nourish your body for active aging? Sign up for my Cooking for One class at the Pabst Farms YMCA on Friday, Sept 15th at 10:45 AM. $25  Register online or at the member services desk.

A Healthy Recipe…

Avocado Toast by Sara Dow


  • 1-2 slices of whole grain bread (I like Ezekial 4:9 bread found in the freezer section at most grocery stores)
  • ½ a medium avocado
  • ½ tsp everything bagel seasoning


Toast the bread. Mash the avocado.  Top the toast with mashed avocado and everything bagel seasoning.   Enjoy as a snack, or top with a scrambled egg and crumbled feta cheese for a heart-healthy meal.

Yield: 1 serving

Nutrition: Whole grain bread provides a rich source of dietary fiber, while avocado packs heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and potassium. Add an egg and cheese for a boost of protein, vitamin D, and calcium.

Check out this Resource… 

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is a division of the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) dedicated to research on aging. The NIA website provides reliable, evidence-based information on aging, health, and wellness. Check out their Healthy Meal Planning Tips and free Printable Shopping List.


About Sara Dow

Want to level up your nutrition?  Register for a One-On-One Performance Nutrition Workshop with Sara. In this 60-minute session, Sara will provide evidence-based guidelines for pre- and post-workout nutrition specific to your goals, healthy recipes, and practical tips for incorporating real foods into your diet to support optimal performance and recovery. Click here to register today! 

Have a question? Drop Sara a line at [email protected].