Diet

7-Day Healthy Aging Meal Plan

At Verywell, we believe there is no one-size-fits-all approach to a healthy lifestyle. Successful eating plans need to be individualized and consider the whole person. Before starting a new diet plan, consult with a healthcare provider or a registered dietitian, especially if you have an underlying health condition.

While aging is inevitable, it is possible to slow down the process. Modifying your lifestyle and your diet can reduce the signs of aging and increase your lifespan. Certain foods, including proteins, fruits and vegetables, healthy fats, and tea, contain nutrients that promote healthy aging.

Meal planning can help you add healthy aging foods to your daily diet and routine. Prepping and planning don’t have to be time-intensive or complicated, either. A few simple steps, including making a shopping list, shopping strategically, and methodically preparing food ahead of time, are what make meal planning a helpful tool to keep you energized, meet your nutrition goals, reduce food waste, and save money.

Why Nutrition is Important for Healthy Aging

Diet plays a major role in age-related disease prevention, both physically and mentally. Certain diets, like the Mediterranean diet, provide a combination of macronutrients (protein, carbs, and fats) and micronutrients (vitamins and minerals) that improve cellular health and prevent or delay the onset of diseases, including cardiovascular disease, neurodegenerative diseases, cognitive impairment, cerebrovascular diseases, and improves the aging process.

Research suggests nutrient and calorie deficiencies go hand in hand with getting older. People tend to slow down and eat less, resulting in major gaps in their vitamin and mineral needs—most commonly, vitamin B12, iron, vitamin D, and calcium. Vitamins and minerals are essential for overall health and well-being.

Maintaining a healthy immune system also is part of delaying the aging process. A balanced diet is vital to an optimally functioning immune system. Inflammation and dysbiosis (an imbalance of gut bacteria) put your immune system in jeopardy, making you more susceptible to the aging process.

Focusing on foods that promote a diverse gut microbiome can also support healthy aging. These include high-fiber whole grains, fruits and vegetables, and fermented foods like kimchi, yogurt, tempeh, soy, sauerkraut, kefir, pickles, kombucha, and miso.

The musculoskeletal system also takes a big hit as we grow older. The bones, joints, and muscles all decline as we age. Age-related conditions, including osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, sarcopenia, and cachexia, affect more than 200 million people globally. These diseases are related to a lack of protein, dietary fat, and fat-soluble vitamins combined with a more sedentary lifestyle.

What’s more, these nutrients have a major impact on your outer appearance and degree of aging. Inflammation and oxidative stress wreak havoc on skin health, causing wrinkles, sagging skin, spots, and other signs of aging. A balanced diet packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals is associated with a more youthful appearance.

7-Day Sample Healthy Aging Menu

This one-week meal plan was developed according to a 2,000-calorie diet with three meals and two snacks per day. There is a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) combined with plenty of fruits and vegetables. If there’s a food you prefer over something on the menu, simply swap it out in a comparable portion size.

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The Mediterranean Diet includes several foods that promote healthy aging. We’ve researched and reviewed the best Mediterranean diet meal delivery services. If you’re in the market for a meal delivery service, explore which option may be best for you.

Day 1

Breakfast

  • 2 poached eggs or sunny-side-up eggs
  • 2 slices wheat bread, toasted
  • 1/4 avocado mashed and spread on the toast
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Micronutrients: 475 calories, 23 grams protein, 52 grams carbohydrates, and 20 grams fat

Snack

  • Golden Turmeric Smoothie: Combine 1 scoop protein powder (collagen or whey), 1/2 cup nonfat milk or plant-based milk, 1 teaspoon ground turmeric, 1/4 cup frozen pineapple chunks, 1/2 frozen banana, 1/3 teaspoon ground ginger, and ice. Blend until smooth.

Micronutrients: 238 calories, 26 grams protein, 30 grams carbohydrates, and 2 grams fat

Lunch

Micronutrients: 321 calories, 39 grams protein, 14 grams carbohydrates, and 13 grams fat

Snack

  • 5.3 ounces of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries or raspberries

Micronutrients: 131 calories, 12 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, and 0 grams fat

Dinner

  • 1 serving Chicken Marsala
  • 1 cup cooked wheat or high-fiber angel hair noodles
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli

Micronutrients: 455 calories, 37 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, and 16 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,620 calories, 136 grams protein, 156 grams carbohydrates, and 51 grams fat

Note that beverages are not included in this meal plan. Individual fluid needs vary based on age, sex, activity level, and medical history. For optimal hydration, experts generally recommend drinking approximately 9 cups of water per day for women and 13 cups of water per day for men. When adding beverages to your meal plan, consider their calorie count. Aim to reduce or eliminate consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages, and opt for water when possible.

Day 2

Breakfast

  • 6 ounces 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup fresh blueberries
  • 1 ounce chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon honey or maple syrup

Micronutrients: 372 calories, 25 grams protein, 21 grams carbohydrates, and 23 grams fat

Snack

  • 1 cup salted and prepared edamame
  • 1 medium pear

Micronutrients: 305 calories, 18 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, and 9 grams fat

Lunch

  • 2 servings of Baked Crab Cakes
  • 2 cups green salad with veggies of choice
  • 2 tablespoons vinaigrette dressing

Micronutrients: 310 calories, 28 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrates, and 12 grams fat

Snack

  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 medium bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs

Micronutrients: 281 calories, 18 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, and 17 grams fat

Dinner

  • 4 ounces of baked salmon
  • 1 cup cooked lentils
  • 1 cup steamed mixed vegetables

Micronutrients: 507 calories, 50 grams protein, 57 grams carbohydrates, and 10 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,775 calories, 139 grams protein, 161 grams carbohydrates, and 70 grams fat

Day 3

Breakfast

  • 1/3 cup dry oatmeal, cooked in 1/2 cup nonfat milk or plant-based milk
  • 5.3 ounces of nonfat vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Micronutrients: 278 calories, 20 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrates, and 2 grams fat

Snack

  • 1 ounce almonds
  • 1 serving (8 ounces) Kefir flavor of choice
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Micronutrients: 304 calories, 14 grams protein, 16 grams carbohydrates, and 22 grams fat

Lunch

  • 2 cups lentil soup
  • 1 cup red grapes

Micronutrients: 406 calories, 19 grams protein, 84 grams carbohydrates, and 4 grams fat

Snack

  • 1 medium apple
  • 2 tablespoons peanut butter or almond butter

Micronutrients: 285 calories, 8 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, and 16 grams fat

Dinner

  • 4 ounces grilled lean steak
  • 1 medium baked potato
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 extra large asparagus spears

Micronutrients: 471 calories, 39 grams protein, 39 grams carbohydrates, and 18 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,744 calories, 100 grams protein, 217 grams carbohydrates, and 63 grams fat

Day 4

Breakfast

  • Omelet: 2 large eggs, 1 cup baby spinach, 1 tablespoon diced tomato, 1 tablespoon diced onion
  • 1 multigrain English muffin
  • 1 tablespoon butter

Micronutrients: 396 calories, 20 grams protein, 29 grams carbohydrates, and 22 grams fat

Snack

  • 1/2 cup pistachios in the shell

Micronutrients: 350 calories, 21 grams protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, and 21 grams fat

Lunch

Micronutrients: 320 calories, 34 grams protein, 32 grams carbohydrates, and 6 grams fat

Snack

  • 5.3 ounces vanilla nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup sliced strawberries
  • 1 ounce walnuts

Micronutrients: 322 calories, 17 grams protein, 27 grams carbohydrates, and 19 grams fat

Dinner

  • 4 ounces grilled chicken
  • 3/4 cup cooked white rice
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1 cup green salad
  • 1 tablespoon vinaigrette dressing

Micronutrients: 410 calories, 40 grams protein, 45 grams carbohydrates, and 9 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,794 calories, 123 grams protein, 151 grams carbohydrates, and 83 grams fat

Day 5

Breakfast

Micronutrients: 363 calories, 27 grams protein, 38 grams carbohydrates, and 11 grams fat

Snack

  • 1/4 cup unsalted mixed nuts

Micronutrients: 203 calories, 6 grams protein, 9 grams carbohydrates, and 18 grams fat

Lunch

  • 2 slices whole grain bread, toasted
  • 4 ounces sliced grilled chicken breast
  • 1/4 avocado, mashed and spread onto the toast
  • 2 slices tomato

Micronutrients: 452 calories, 42 grams protein, 44 grams carbohydrates, and 12 grams fat

Snack

  • 6 ounces 2% cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup blueberries

Micronutrients: 183 calories, 23 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, and 4 grams fat

Dinner

Micronutrients: 441 calories, 29 grams protein, 56 grams carbohydrates, and 11 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,643 calories, 127 grams protein, 159 grams carbohydrates, and 57 grams fat

Day 6

Breakfast

  • 5.3 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 ounce chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup blueberries or raspberries
  • 1 tablespoon sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds

Micronutrients: 500 calories, 26 grams protein, 48 grams carbohydrates, and 26 grams fat

Snack

  • 2 ounces cheddar cheese
  • 16 thin wheat crackers

Micronutrients: 379 calories, 17 grams protein, 22 grams carbohydrates, and 25 grams fat

Lunch

  • 4 ounces of ready-to-eat shrimp
  • 2 cups green salad
  • 1 ounce crumbled blue cheese
  • 4 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, halved
  • 1/4 avocado diced
  • 1 tablespoon vinaigrette dressing

Micronutrients: 492 calories, 45 grams protein, 12 grams carbohydrates, and 30 grams fat

Snack

Micronutrients: 62 calories, 1 grams protein, 15 grams carbohydrates, and 0 grams fat

Dinner

  • 4 ounces baked tilapia or other white fish
  • 1 medium baked potato
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup steamed broccoli
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Micronutrients: 445 calories, 35 grams protein, 43 grams carbohydrates, and 15 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,877 calories, 125 grams protein, 140 grams carbohydrates, and 96 grams fat

Day 7

Breakfast

Micronutrients: 429 calories, 21 grams protein, 51 grams carbohydrates, and 18 grams fat

Snack

  • Smoothie: 1 scoop protein powder (whey or plant-based), 1/2 cup nonfat milk or plant-based milk, 1/2 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 frozen banana, 1 teaspoon ground flaxseeds, 1/2 cup frozen spinach, 1 tablespoon peanut butter or almond butter, and ice (if desired). Blend until smooth.

Micronutrients: 366 calories, 34 grams protein, 36 grams carbohydrates, and 11 grams fat

Lunch

Micronutrients: 344 calories, 22 grams protein, 47 grams carbohydrates, and 8 grams fat

Snack

  • 1/4 cup hummus
  • 1 cup sliced carrots

Micronutrients: 152 calories, 6 grams protein, 20 grams carbohydrates, and 6 grams fat

Dinner

  • 4 ounces grilled lean steak
  • 1 medium, baked sweet potato with a dash of cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 5 extra large asparagus spears

Micronutrients: 429 calories, 36 grams protein, 28 grams carbohydrates, and 19 grams fat

Daily Totals: 1,720 calories, 118 grams protein, 182 grams carbohydrates, and 62 grams fat

How to Meal Plan for a Healthy Aging Diet

  • Create a rotating menu. Take a few minutes to write down the meals and snacks you’d like to eat. Then develop a rotating menu containing those dishes. Use the menu to help you incorporate more healthy-aging foods into your meal plan.
  • Make a grocery list and stock your pantry. Once you have your rotating menu, create a grocery list using that menu. Go to the store and get everything you need so that you’re prepared.
  • Stock up on convenience items. Grab foods and ingredients that are easy to prepare quickly. The freezer section is a great place to find ready-made meals and side dishes that are packed with nutrients and require little effort to serve. You can also find microwaveable rice and noodle packets and cups that are ready in 60 seconds in the dry goods section. These make great quick meals for one.
  • Make more servings. Instead of cooking a meal for one night, make enough to last for a few meals. You can split the meal and freeze half or put the other half in the fridge for dinner the next night.

Bottom Line

With a little careful planning and deliberate nutritional tweaks and tricks, you can prevent and delay the aging process. This healthy aging meal plan will get you started toward nourishing your body from the inside out. Talking to a registered dietitian can help you discover how to incorporate healthy aging foods into your daily routine. It’s important to reach out for help and guidance.

We recognize that meal plans may not be appropriate for all, especially those with disordered eating habits. If you or a loved one are coping with an eating disorder, contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Helpline for support at 1-800-931-2237.

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