By: Sarah Francis, Food Science and Human Nutrition, 515-294-1456, slfranci@iastate.edu

AMES, Iowa – Health often is the key factor in whether people can remain in their home as they grow older. Beginning Feb. 17, Iowa State University is offering a free online series to help Iowans remain healthy and independent as they age.

“The foods you choose have lasting health impacts so it’s important you make every bite count! The newly released 2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans list four key areas for older adults: healthy dietary patterns, special nutrient considerations, factors supporting healthy eating and physical activity,” said Sarah Francis, an associate professor and nutrition and wellness state specialist with ISU Extension and Outreach.

Iowa State University’s free, online Stay Independent: A Healthy Aging Series provides practical, useful and budget-friendly tips focused on helping Iowans reach the 2020 Dietary Guidelines for adults ages 60 years and older. Classes are offered on Wednesdays at 10 a.m. via Zoom. To register go to http://bit.ly/hseo17419.

Healthy Dietary Patterns: Three Meals a Day and Feast on Fruits and Vegetables talk about general nutrition practices that promote health.

  • Feb. 17: Three Meals a Day.
  • Feb. 24: Feast on Fruits and Vegetables.

Special considerations: Older adults need protein but often do not eat enough of this nutrient to prevent muscle loss. Power Up with Protein discusses protein food sources, recommended amounts and budget friendly protein tips.

  • March 3: Power Up with Protein.

Physical Activity: Exercise Your Independence addresses current physical activity recommendations and strategies to help you reach those goals.

  • March 10: Exercise Your Independence.

Supporting Healthy Eating: Brain Health focuses on research-based dietary patterns shown to reduce the incidence of Alzheimer’s Disease and dementia by 53%. Cooking for 1 or 2 provides practical tips on how to prepare nutritious meals without a lot of fuss.

  • March 17: Brain Health.
  • March 24: Cooking for 1 or 2.

“You can sign up for as many of these free classes as you want,” Francis said.