I am a 75-year old female in excellent physical condition – take no drugs, now about 5′ 2 1/2″ 132 pounds. I would like some advice on what would be an ideal diet for me. I work out with weights for 1 hour and/or walk 3 miles about 5 days per week, otherwise am mostly sedentary.

Current diet is: Breakfast with supplements – one slice bread or equivalent, a handful of strawberries and blueberries and 4 ounces of sugar-free yogurt and a cup of tea with milk. Lunch: one poached egg, equivalent of a slice of cheese such as one stick and meat such as two slices of roast beef or 2-inch piece of sausage – shoot for 20 grams of protein. Snack: about 1/3 bag of microwave popcorn with a handful of nuts and about 6 small chips. Dinner a large bowl of mixed multi-color raw vegetables and 4 -6 ounces of chicken or fish or white lean pork. End of day a good-sized bowl of low calorie ice cream – about 300-400 calories.

My concern is I am not consuming protein – I cannot digest most protein drinks. Any suggestions? (Please do not tell me to cut out the ice cream!)

– Dana M.


Wow – your diet is great! Thanks for sharing. I can tell you are very regimented in your diet. I’d estimate your protein intake to be about 95 grams total, giving you nearly 1.6 gm/kg body weight, which is above the recommended range of 1-1.2 gm/kg for your age*. Quite adequate!

But you asked about an “ideal” diet. Your described intake may fall short in vitamin D, vitamin E, calcium, iron, thiamin and fiber. Perhaps your supplements cover the micro-nutrients. Fiber is one you may want to increase from foods. Be sure your bread provides at least 2 grams per slice; 5 grams is considered “high fiber”. Perhaps sprinkle some flax seed on your morning yogurt and swap the chips for rye crisps at snack. These changes should keep calories consistent.

Keep up the good work and incorporate lots of variety to round-out your micro-nutrient intake.

* Protein for Fitness: Age Demands Greater Protein Needs. Densie Webb, PhD, RD. Today’s Dietitian April 2015, Vol. 17, No. 4, P. 16.

– Debbie J., MS, RD

This article should not replace any exercise program or restrictions, any dietary supplements or restrictions, or any other medical recommendations from your primary care physician. Before starting any exercise program or diet, make sure it is approved by your doctor.

Some questions have been edited for length and/or clarity.

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