Eating Healthfully When You’re Alone

Image for the elderly eating alone After the death of a spouse, the last thing you may want to do is eat. Even so, you must eat to stay healthy. For some, eating alone can be a chore. Being alone can make it hard to eat healthfully, but there are ways you can make sure you get the nutrients you need.

The Challenges Of Eating Alone

Getting used to a living alone after the death of a spouse can lead to poor nutrition. For one, food simply tastes better when you are enjoying it with someone you love. Food is not just about nutrition. It is also about the enjoyment of eating. When you suddenly find yourself eating alone, you may not enjoy your meals as much as you once did.

Another reason eating alone can be hard is that you may have less of a reason to cook. Maybe you have spent years cooking for your spouse or family, and now cooking for one is just not the same. Maybe your spouse was in charge of the cooking and you do not know where to begin in the kitchen. Because of these changes, many seniors end up swapping balanced meals for grazing and skipping meals.

The Importance Of Good Nutrition

Does it really make a difference whether you grab something out of the refrigerator on the go or sit down when you eat your meals? Yes, especially as you get older. Healthy eating may reduce your risk of certain health problems, like obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or cancer. And your risk for these problems rises as you age.

A good diet also gives you the energy and nutrients you need to stay healthy. Eating healthfully may even help prevent depression and keep your mind sharp.

To make your diet more nutritious, try some of these tips for older adults:

  • Enjoy a good breakfast every morning.
  • Add fruits, vegetables and whole grains in your diet.
  • Add lean beef, turkey, fish, and chicken, as well as low-fat milk, yogurt, and cheese.
  • Keep healthy snacks in the house and in your bag when you are traveling.
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day.

Tips For Eating Well When You’re Alone

If following these tips seems too hard, try to think of things you can do to make healthy eating easier and more fun. Here are some tips for eating well when you're alone:

  • Plan ahead. Before you go shopping, take some time to plan your meals. Focus on healthy foods and portion sizes.
  • Create a colorful plate of food and choose a range of textures.
  • Have people over for lunch or dinner. Look for events or restaurants to try with friends.
  • Make dinner relaxing and enjoyable. Create a nice setting by eating outside or by listening to music.

Remember, eating a healthy diet will help ward off disease and make your feel more energetic, happier, and healthier. When it comes to your diet, focus on yourself. Your friends and family will thank you.


Eat Right—Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
National Institute on Aging


Dietitians of Canada


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Young at heart: Tips for older adults. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Disorders website. Available at:
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Last reviewed November 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 1/21/2020

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