Whether you’re 20 years old or 70, the basics of maintaining a healthy diet still apply.
Keep your proteins lean, focus on healthy carbohydrates (such as whole grains), consume colourful fruits and vegetables, and eat moderate amounts of healthy fats from foods such as nuts, avocados, olive oil and fatty fish.
With each passing decade, there are some areas of your diet that may need more attention.
There are subtle shifts in nutrient and calorie needs, and your eating and activity patterns are often influenced by the demands of your daily life.
For parents in particular, chasing after the young ones and keeping up with them can be exhausting, so consuming the right food is vital to keep your energy levels up and stay healthy.
So, here is your decade-by-decade guide to healthy eating.
Eating in your 20s
For many, this is the decade when the transition is made from college to career.
Eating (and drinking) habits in your early 20s as a student may not be the best.
As you transition into a regular work schedule, you might carry some of those habits with you.
Working life often features more meals out, coffee breaks with colleagues, and for some, starting to build a family – all of which can impact your diet.
Establish healthy habits now
The eating habits you have now are likely to stay with you for the rest of your life.
If your diet isn’t as good as it should be, now is the time to start establishing better habits.
Eating well is one of the few habits that you get to practice several times a day, so aim to make the best choices at every meal and snack.
If you’re a parent, remember that you are setting an example – bad or good – for your children to follow.
Get plenty of calcium
When you’re in your 20s, you’re in your peak bone-building years.
Give your bones plenty of calcium from dairy products, leafy greens and fortified foods.
Avoid crash dieting
At this age, it isn’t difficult to knock off a few kilos by going on a crash diet for a short period of time.
But quick weight losses are often followed by weight regain, and yo-yo dieting isn’t a pattern you want to establish.
Watch the alcohol calories
Alcoholic beverages can be very costly, money-wise and calorie-wise.
If socialising involves alcohol, cut your calorie intake by alternating alcoholic beverages with calorie-free drinks, e.g. plain water.
And watch those free appetisers during happy hour too.
Women, get your iron
Many young women don’t get enough much needed iron.
Lean red meat, beans, leafy greens and fortified cereals can all help to meet needs.
Supplements are of particular help during pregnancy and should be taken regularly then.
Eating in your 30s
The decade between the ages of 30 and 40 can be crazy…