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Top 30+ Energy Foods for Seniors – A Dietitian’s Expert Recommendations
Michelle Saari MSc, RD

Fact Checked And Reviewed By Adrian White, Certified Herbalist

By Michelle Saari MSc, RD, Registered Dietitian

Published On June 4, 2024

Geriatric Nutrition

Top 30+ Energy Foods for Seniors – A Dietitian’s Expert Recommendations

Energy loss for the elderly can affect their overall quality of life by decreasing their ability to do activities during the day. As a registered dietitian with over a decade of experience working with older adults, I can say It’s important to eat energy-producing foods throughout the day to promote brain health, physical health and mental health.

Here you will find a list of our best foods for senior energy that are easy to fit into your diet to improve your energy levels and improve your quality of life!

Energy Foods for the Elderly

Source: Future Generali India

Energy needs change as we age, though many people think that we need to reduce the amount of calories that is in fact not true.  Depending on your health conditions you may actually need more calories to maintain body weight, reduce malnutrition risk, and maintain muscle.

Many seniors have multiple health conditions such as Diabetes, Hypertension, COPD, among others, that require a healthy diet and at times high energy foods.

To address these challenges, it’s crucial for seniors and their caregivers to focus on diets that are rich in fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains foods that provide substantial nutrients without excessive calories. 

Taking the time to understand these dietary needs and the impact of aging on metabolism and energy levels can guide seniors in making informed choices about their health and diet, ultimately helping them maintain higher energy levels and a better quality of life. Energy-rich foods play a pivotal role in combating the natural decline in metabolism and muscle mass, also called Sarcopenia that comes with age.

High energy foods provide carbohydrates that can aid in producing energy by providing glucose to the cells.  Glucose is a nutrient that our body uses for us to do our daily activities of living.

Incorporating these into your daily diet during meals and snacks can help to provide a constant supply of energy to your body and mind.  

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The following list will help you to build nutritious energy foods for elderly into their daily and weekly diet.

List of Top-Energy Boosting Foods

The list of energy boosting foods can be worked into your meals and snacks to help you to meet your energy needs!  Select some from each category to help you build healthy meals to keep you going throughout the day.


Source: Nutrishots
  1. Chicken: A lean source of protein that helps in muscle repair and maintenance. It’s versatile, easy to digest, and a staple in many healthy diets.
Source: Skinny Taste

2. Eggs: Packed with high-quality protein and essential amino acids, eggs are great for sustained energy and supporting muscle health.

Source: Eating Well

3. Beef: Rich in protein, iron, and B vitamins, beef helps to increase stamina and rebuild muscle.

Source: Britannica

4. Peanuts: A good source of healthy fats, protein, and energy. They also offer fiber which helps in prolonged energy release.

Source: Delish

5. Chickpeas: High in protein and fiber, chickpeas are excellent for energy and help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Source: Healthline

6. Lentils: Provide plant-based protein and fiber, promoting stable energy levels and supporting muscle function.

Source: Eating Well

7. Fish: Generally rich in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, fish aids in heart health and muscle recovery.

Fish For Seniors
Source: Chew Out Loud

8. Salmon: Especially high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein, salmon boosts energy and supports overall health.

Salmon For Seniors
Source: The Kitchn

9. Pork: Offers high-quality protein and essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and repair.

Pork For Seniors
Source: Delish

10. Peanut butter: Contains healthy fats and protein, making it a great option for sustained energy supply.

Peanut Butter For Seniors
Source: Pinch Of Yum


Source: Fitpaa
  1. Avocado: High in monounsaturated fats which can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels and provide essential fatty acids.
Avocado For Seniors
Source: Healthline

2. Peanut butter: Again, great for healthy fats and protein, supporting long-lasting energy levels.

Peanut Butter For Seniors
Source: Women’s Health

3. Flax seeds: Rich in omega-3 fatty acids and fiber, flax seeds help in maintaining energy levels and promoting digestive health.

Flax Seeds For Seniors
Source: Flax Seeds

4. Chia seeds: Packed with omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, and protein, they are excellent for energy and maintaining endurance.

Chia Seeds For Seniors
Source: The Economic Times

5. Almond butter: A good source of protein, healthy fats, and fiber, almond butter provides a steady energy release.

Almond Butter For Seniors
Source: Inspired Taste

6. Cottage cheese: Low in fat but high in protein, it’s great for muscle maintenance and long-lasting energy.

Cottage Cheese For Seniors
Source: Cookist

7. Cheese: Provides calcium, protein, and fatty acids, helping to sustain energy throughout the day.

Cheese For Seniors
Source: Healthline

8. Feta cheese: Lower in calories but rich in protein and calcium, ideal for a quick energy boost.

Feta Cheese For Seniors
Source: Feta Cheese

9. Olive oil: Rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, olive oil supports energy production without spiking blood sugar.

Olive oil For Seniors
Source: Medical News Today

10. Canola oil: Contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, promoting heart health and sustained energy levels.

Canola oil
Source: Healthline


Source: AHA
  1. Whole wheat bread: Offers complex carbohydrates for sustained energy, along with fiber and essential nutrients.
Whole wheat bread
Source: Real Simple

2. Pasta: Provides carbohydrates for quick energy. Opt for whole-grain options for more sustained energy delivery.

Source: Food Network

3. Brown rice: A whole grain that’s rich in fiber, helping in energy stability and fullness.

Brown Rice
Source: Healthline

4. Orzo: A small pasta that’s easy to digest, providing quick energy and can be a good base for nutritious meals.

Source: Belly Full

4. Quinoa: A complete protein and a fantastic source of carbohydrates, making it ideal for energy and overall health.

Source: Cookie and kate

5. Oatmeal: Rich in fiber and provides long-lasting energy, also helping in cholesterol management.

Source: Eating Bird Food

6. Apples: A great source of simple sugars and fiber for a quick but balanced energy boost.

Source: Everyday Health

7. Bananas: Packed with potassium and carbohydrates, they are perfect for a pre or post-energy boost.

Source: Everyday Health

8. Berries: Loaded with antioxidants, fiber, and carbohydrates, berries are great for sustained energy.

Source: Berries

9. Broccoli: Besides being a good source of fiber, it also provides carbs and is rich in vitamins and minerals enhancing overall energy.

Source: Healthline

These foods not only boost energy but also contribute to overall health, making them excellent choices for inclusion in a balanced diet for the elderly. Incorporating these into daily meals can help meet energy needs effectively.

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Energy Boosting Diet Tips From A Dietitian

Energy Boosting Diet Tips From A Dietitian
Source: Eat This Not That

To optimize energy throughout the day, consider these tips from dietitians:

Meal Timing: Eat regular meals and snacks every 3 to 4 hours to maintain stable blood sugar levels, which can help prevent energy dips.

Portion Control: Eating portions that are too large can lead to fatigue as the body works to digest, so keep servings moderate.

Food Combinations: Combine complex carbohydrates with proteins and healthy fats at every meal to ensure a steady release of energy. For example, pairing whole grain bread with turkey and avocado provides a balanced mix of macronutrients.

Nutrient-dense snacks can also play a crucial role. Consider snacks like a handful of almonds, a piece of fruit, or yogurt, which can provide a quick energy boost without the sugar crash associated with more processed snacks.

Incorporating Energy Foods into a Senior’s Diet

Incorporating Energy Foods into a Senior’s Diet
Source: The Holiday

You can build each of your meals and snacks using the Dietitian recommended foods for energy in our list above.  For meals you can have ¼ plate as a protein source, a healthy fat source and a carbohydrate source can be ½ your plate. Some studies have shown that increased omega-3s in the diet helped older adults to have better memory, processing speed, and structural brain measures.

By choosing something from each category you will ensure that your body uses the energy foods for seniors in the best way possible!

An example of a meal could be baked salmon cooked with olive oil, with a side of rice and steamed broccoli.  This will help to ensure that you are meeting the high-energy diet recommended for seniors!


Choosing the right foods and maintaining proper hydration are crucial for boosting energy in seniors. By incorporating a variety of nutrient-dense foods and staying hydrated, seniors can significantly enhance their vitality and improve their quality of life. Experimenting with recommended foods and meal ideas can help identify what works best for each individual. 

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However, consulting with a dietitian is advisable to tailor nutritional plans to specific health needs and preferences, ensuring that dietary adjustments are both effective and enjoyable. This personalized approach can help seniors maintain independence and thrive in their later years.


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Michelle Saari MSc, RD

Written By

Michelle Saari MSc, RD

Registered Dietitian

Michelle Saari is a Registered Dietitian based in Canada. She has a Master's Degree in Human Nutritional Sciences and is a passionate advocate for spreading easy to understand, reliable, and trustworthy nutrition information. She is currently a full-time blogger with two elderly nutrition-focused health blogs.

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