Getting the most out of your vegan diet in later life
As we get older, our bodies require fewer calories. However, we need to maintain a good quality diet, containing a bit of extra protein and plenty of fibre, vitamins and minerals. This means that it is even more important to make nutritious choices. Read more general advice about plant-based diets, and read on for tips specifically about nutrition in later life.
There is evidence that people older than 65 years can protect their muscles through a combination of daily activity and extra protein.
Activities should be aimed at maintaining endurance, strength, balance and coordination. For more information read our page on fuelling active lifestyles.
It is recommended that people older than 65 years aim for a daily protein intake of at least 1 to 1.2g per kg of body weight. For example, someone weighing 60kg would require a protein intake of at least 60 to 72g per day. This is 33-60% extra protein in comparison with the UK recommendation for younger adults.
The best way to get enough protein is to ensure that all your meals contain good sources, such as beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, soya alternatives to milk and yoghurt or peanuts. Other noteworthy sources of protein include cashew nuts, pistachio nuts, chia seeds, ground linseed, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, buckwheat, quinoa and wild rice. These foods will provide you with valuable fibre, vitamins and minerals too.
Are you doing everything you can to look after your bones? Read our page on bone health for more information.
Making the most of your food
If your appetite is reduced or you need to gain weight, here are some ways to make the most of your vegan diet:
- Eat small meals and snacks, and choose nourishing drinks, such as smoothies, fortified milk alternatives or hot chocolate
- Include some white pasta, white rice and white bread in your diet because they are less bulky than higher fibre options
- Use soya alternatives to meat, yoghurt, milk and custard
- Add soya cream alternative to porridge
- Add peanut butter to smoothies
- Add cashew nuts or silken tofu to soups and blend
- Use crumbled tofu and vegan mayonnaise as a sandwich filling
- Add olive oil to vegetables
- Add vegan spread to potato
Our new Catering for Everyone resources are now available.
These are general guidelines about nutrition. If you have concerns about your diet, please talk to your doctor about seeing a dietitian.
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