Sample Menus: Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

Planning a day’s worth of meals using smart food choices might seem overwhelming at first. Here are some sample menus to show you how easy it can be. These menus provide 2,000 calories a day and do not exceed the recommended amount of sodium or calories from saturated fats and added sugars. You might need to eat fewer or more calories, depending on your height, weight, activity level and whether you are a man or a woman.

Make a Shopping List

Making a shopping list will help you in two ways. It will remind you to look for the nutritious foods you should be eating, and it will make it easier to stick to your food budget. Be sure to include the items you need for your menus and any low-calorie basics you need to restock in your kitchen.

This sample shopping list (PDF, 108 KB) includes a variety of healthy foods for you to look for. You can make a blank copy of these pages to use when you shop, or use this list as a basis for making your own shopping list. Of course, you won’t need everything listed here every time you shop, but this will help you remember what you need to buy.

Sample Menu


  • 1/2 whole wheat bagel

  • 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter

  • 1 medium banana

  • Coffee

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 2 teaspoons sugar


  • Tuna salad sandwich 2 slices 100% whole wheat bread

  • 2 ounces canned tuna

  • 2 teaspoons mayonnaise

  • 2 tablespoons chopped celery

  • 1 medium leaf lettuce

  • 4 baby carrots 1/4 cup raisins 1 cup low-fat milk


Spaghetti & meatballs

  • 1 cup cooked spaghetti

  • 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce

  • 1/4 cup diced tomatoes (canned, no salt added)

  • 3 medium meatballs

  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese

Garden salad

  • 1 cup mixed greens

  • 3 slices cucumber

  • 1/4 cup cubed avocado

  • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans (canned, low sodium)

  • 3 tablespoons shredded, reduced-fat cheddar cheese

  • 1 tablespoon ranch dressing

1 cup tap water


1/2 medium apple Fat-free strawberry yogurt (8 ounces)

Read and share this infographic to learn about making smart food choices for healthy aging.

This content is provided by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institutes of Health. NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure that it is accurate, authoritative, and up to date. Content reviewed: April 30, 2019

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