Best Diet Tips for Seniors Who Want to Lose Weight

Chad Birt

Written by Chad Birt on Fri Nov 17 2023.

Couple cooking together.

Weight loss is one of the most common health and fitness goals. But the older you are, the harder it can be to shed excess pounds and keep them off. 

That’s particularly true for seniors, as people 65 and older are more likely to live a sedentary lifestyle, have less muscle mass, and have a slower metabolism. 

If you’re a senior who’s struggling to maintain a healthy weight, know that it’s possible to make changes. In this article, we provide a variety of simple dieting tips and tricks to help you stay on track. 

What You’ll Need:

Losing weight doesn’t require any special equipment. All you need is a good attitude, a willingness to ask questions, and the courage to try new things.

“It's super important to note that with weight loss comes muscle loss, so it's important for seniors to make sure they're eating enough,” said Jamie Nadeu, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “Instead of focusing on a number on the scale, I recommend focusing on healthy habit changes and increasing physical activity, as they’re able to promote good health.” 

How To Lose Weight After 65

Step 1: Visit the Doctor 

Anyone living with chronic medical conditions, like high cholesterol (hypolipidemia), high blood pressure (hypertension), or diabetes can benefit from weight loss, but that doesn’t mean you should dive right in.

“I always tell my clients to speak with a healthcare provider before changing their diets or taking a new supplement,” said Juliana Tamayo, RD, MS, a registered dietitian and editor at FitnessClone. “Signs that weight might be causing problems include joint pain after walking; high blood cholesterol and triglycerides; sleep apnea or problems sleeping at night; and constipation or problems with your gut.”

Once your doctor has a complete picture of your general health, they can make personalized weight loss recommendations.

Step 2: Avoid Refined Sugars and Processed Fats

To lose weight and keep it off, you need to change the way you think about food. 

Soda, candy, burgers, and fries might be tasty, but they’re loaded with refined sugars and processed fats. 

“Processed foods are often very high in calories, fat, and sodium, all of which can negatively affect your health,” Tamayo said. “Healthier options, like fresh fruit, sparkling water, salmon or veggie burgers, baked potatoes, and unsalted nuts provide similar flavors, but they’re much better for your weight loss journey.”

Step 3: Prepare Balanced Meals

Preparing meals can be difficult if you have mobility issues or an underlying medical condition like arthritis. Even so, it’s possible to find balance without spending hours cutting, chopping, and simmering. 

“Make sure that each of your meals contains a source of protein, whole grains, and vegetables or fruit,” Tamayo said. “This is the best way to ensure you stay full and avoid snacking later.”

Caregiver Tip

Tamayo says to cook meals with fats, like sunflower, rapeseed (canola), or olive oil. These “healthy fats” add flavor to your dishes and won’t increase blood cholesterol like butter and lard. 

Step 4: Eat Lean Protein

You might have heard that a high-protein diet can help you lose weight. While certain types of protein can make you feel fuller longer, increasing your protein intake isn’t necessarily the answer to long-term weight loss. Consider that many older Americans have kidney disease. 

“When we eat protein, our kidneys are in charge of filtering the byproducts,” Tamayo said. “But if you have kidney problems, your body might struggle to perform this function. If you can, focus on lean protein sources, such as fish, shellfish, plant-based protein, eggs, and poultry.”

Step 5: Snack Throughout the Day

If you’re trying to lose weight, snacking might seem counterintuitive. But it’s key to a healthy metabolism. Regular snacks reduce the frequency of food cravings and help keep your blood sugar from spiking. Make sure to choose healthy eating options like wholesome snacks instead of chips or candy. 

“Snacks need to have some nutritional value, which is why they should always have protein,” Tamayo said. “Some examples of healthy snacks include cottage cheese and fruit, apple slices and peanut butter, carrot sticks and hummus, and nuts and Greek yogurt.” 

Step 6: Use Seeds and Nuts

Seeds and nuts contain healthy fats, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. Plus, studies show they can reduce the risk of heart disease. 

To maintain your weight loss progress, Tamayo recommends keeping seeds and nuts in your cabinet or pantry, including flaxseed, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, almonds, pistachios, walnuts, and pecans. 

Step 7: Stay Hydrated

Drinking plenty of water promotes weight loss by helping you feel fuller, longer. It also increases your metabolism’s efficiency and makes you feel energized and alert.

“Sometimes, older individuals forget to drink water and will instead drink sodas or juices,” Tamayo said. “These beverages often cause dehydration and are filled with empty calories, leading to weight gain.”

Step 8: Work With a Qualified Professional

Remember, you don’t have to try and lose weight on your own. Working with a registered dietitian (RD) can help you reach your goals while reducing the risk of common health problems. 

“Older adults often have different needs from younger adults, and they might have certain chronic illnesses that need to be factored in,” Tamayo said. “A dietitian takes all of these factors into account, as well as resources available and the ability to perform activities of daily living (ADLs) before recommending any changes.”

What’s more, not everyone 65 and older can follow a normal high-protein, low-calorie diet. “In some cases, older adults have problems swallowing or chewing, which makes choosing the right textures and consistencies very important,” Tamayo said.

Commonly Asked Questions

1) I’ve Heard That Dieting Affects Muscle Mass. How Can I Keep My Muscles In Top Shape?

Dieting does impact the health of your muscles, but you can offset these effects by staying physically active. 

“Moving more will help you stay on track,” Tamayo said. “If you’re able, try walking and strength training every day. Weight-bearing exercises or aerobics can help you build muscle and burn additional calories.”  

2) Can Snacking Really Boost My Metabolism?

Yes! After you turn 20, your metabolism’s ability to break down food decreases by about 10% per decade. Therefore, if you want to lose weight, you need to keep your metabolism firing. 

Waiting multiple hours between meals causes your metabolism to slow down even more.  Whereas eating regular snacks keeps calories burning. 

3) Won’t Dieting Make Me Weak?

It’s true that removing calories from your diet can affect your energy levels. That’s why working with a registered dietitian or nutritionist is so important. A qualified professional can develop a personalized healthy diet that aligns with your current health, nutritional needs, and goals. 


Losing weight after 65 takes time and effort, but if you stick to the plan, it’s possible to achieve your fitness goals and stay in tip-top shape. 

After gathering a complete overview of your nutritional needs, you can take steps to:

  • Avoid refined sugars and saturated fats

  • Prepare balanced meals

  • Eat lean protein

  • Snack throughout the day

  • Use seeds and nuts

Changing your diet isn’t easy, but the benefits far outweigh the challenges.

Have Questions About Weight Loss?

At Carewell, we regularly assist family caregivers with all things feeding and nutrition. If you have questions about any of the foods or drinks we carry, or you have other diet-related inquiries, reach out at any time! 

Our friendly care specialists are available 24/7 and speak English and Spanish. Call (800) 696-CARE or send an email to

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Chad Birt
Chad Birt

Chad Birt is a freelance medical writer who resides in Astoria, Oregon. When he isn't behind a keyboard, you can find him hiking, camping, or birdwatching with his wife Ella and their two dogs, Diane and Thoreau.