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Publication #FCS8993

MyPlate for Older Adults1

Contact Author: Linda B. Bobroff2

The following educational material can help educators convey nutrition messages that will assist consumers in applying the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which were the basis for the eating patterns that are represented by the MyPlate icon. This fact sheet is being distributed by UF/IFAS Extension for use by Extension faculty, health professionals, and consumers in Florida.

For the PDF version of this document, visit

Quick tips for older adults:

  • Choose fiber-rich foods often.

  • Drink water and other beverages that are low in added sugars.

  • Use fortified foods or supplements to meet your vitamin D and vitamin B12 needs.

What's on your plate?

VEGETABLES: Vary your veggies

  • Eat more dark-green veggies, like broccoli, salad greens, and cooked greens.

  • Eat more orange vegetables, such as carrots and sweet potatoes.

  • Eat more dried beans and peas, like pinto, black, or kidney beans, and lentils.

  • Eat 2 1/2 cups every day*

FRUITS: Focus on fruits

  • Eat a variety of fruits, like bananas, berries, grapes, and oranges.

  • Choose fresh, frozen, canned, or dried fruit.

  • Eat fruit rather than drinking juice for most of your fruit choices.

  • Eat 1 1/2 cups every day*

GRAINS: Make half your grains whole

  • Eat at least 3 oz. of whole-grain cereals, breads, rice, crackers, or pasta every day.

  • 1 oz. is about 1 slice of bread, 1 cup of cold breakfast cereal, or 1/2 cup of cooked cereal, rice, or pasta.

  • Eat cereals fortified with vitamin B12.

  • Eat 6 oz. every day*

PROTEIN FOODS: Go lean with protein

  • Choose low-fat or lean meats and poultry.

  • Bake, broil, or grill.

  • Vary your protein sources. Include eggs, dried beans, tofu, fish, nuts, and seeds.

  • Eat 5 ounces every day*

DAIRY: Get your calcium-rich foods

  • Choose low-fat or fat-free milk, yogurt, and other milk products.

  • If you don't or can't consume milk, choose lactose-free products or other calcium sources, such as fortified foods and beverages.

  • Eat 3 cups every day*

*For an 1,800-calorie diet, you would need these amounts from each food group. To find the amounts that are right for you, go to


  • Choose foods rich in fiber to help keep you regular.

  • Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

  • Limit sweets to decrease empty calories.

  • Get your oils from fish, nuts, and liquid oils such as canola, olive, corn, or soybean oils.

  • Choose and prepare foods with less salt or sodium.

  • Talk to your doctor or pharmacist about supplements you are taking.


  • Go for a walk.

  • Play with your grandchildren and/or a pet.

  • Work in your yard or garden.

  • Take an exercise or dance class at a community center or gym.

  • Share a fun activity with a friend or family member.

  • Remember: all activity adds up! You don't have to do it all at once.

ENJOY LIFE: Spend time with caring people doing things you enjoy.



This document is FCS8993, one of a series of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension. Original publication date October 2011. Reviewed May 2016. Visit the EDIS website at


MyPlate for Older Adults was adapted from USDA's MyPlate by nutrition faculty of the Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville, FL 32611. The contact author is Linda B. Bobroff, PhD, RD, LD / N, professor, Department of Family, Youth and Community Sciences, UF/IFAS Extension, Gainesville FL 32611.

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Opportunity Institution authorized to provide research, educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function with non-discrimination with respect to race, creed, color, religion, age, disability, sex, sexual orientation, marital status, national origin, political opinions or affiliations. For more information on obtaining other UF/IFAS Extension publications, contact your county's UF/IFAS Extension office.

U.S. Department of Agriculture, UF/IFAS Extension Service, University of Florida, IFAS, Florida A & M University Cooperative Extension Program, and Boards of County Commissioners Cooperating. Nick T. Place, dean for UF/IFAS Extension.