Skip to content

Simple Eating Habits for Getting a Lean Body After 40, Dietitians Say

These small changes can make a huge difference when it comes to weight loss and leaning out.
FACT CHECKED BY Olivia Tarantino

Sometimes even after changing up your diet and exercising regularly, you may not always see the results you had been hoping for. This can especially be the case if you're looking to lean out and get more toned after 40.

Getting lean can become even more difficult as you age because your body undergoes changes that may affect your daily health routines. Thankfully, there are small changes you can make to your eating and fitness habits that can help you get the results you want. Here are some easy eating habits for a leaner body after 40, and for more healthy eating tips don't miss 15 Underrated Weight Loss Tips That Actually Work.

Getting enough protein

protein shake

Losing weight and building muscle is a key to leaning out, and one of the ways you can achieve this is by making sure you have enough protein in your diet.

"Muscle mass tends to decrease as we age," says healthy aging expert and registered dietitian Abby Sauer, MPH, RD. "Researchers have shown we stand to lose as much as 8% of our muscle mass per decade starting in our 40s and this pace accelerates after age 70." This is important not only to our overall health and functioning but also specifically to our goals for weight loss and a lean body.

So to combat this muscle loss, Sauer suggests "incorporating high-quality protein in your diet."

Sign up for our newsletter to get daily recipes and food news in your inbox!

Support immune health

orange juice

It's also crucial as you get older to make sure you're getting enough vitamins and minerals in your diet, which will not only support your immune system and help you live a healthier life, but it can give you the energy and vitality to exercise and achieve the leaner body you desire.

"Make sure to get essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, D, B12, and zinc through foods like oranges, leafy greens, peppers, strawberries, salmon, tuna, fortified yogurt, and milk," says Sauer.

READ MOREPopular Foods to Strengthen Immunity After 50, Say Dietitians

Meal plan

Healthy snack meal prep with cut carrots celery hard boiled eggs apples grape almonds and rice cakes

"Being on the go with hectic schedules makes it challenging to get healthy meals and snacks," says Sauer, "so try keeping healthy options handy to avoid choosing fast food or options high in fat or calories."

If you're curious about one of Sauer's favorite on-the-go snacks, she says she usually goes with something like Abbott's Ensure Max Protein shakes, "because they come in a variety of flavors with 30g of high-quality protein, plus 25 essential vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, D, B12 and zinc that can help support immune health."

13 Best Protein Shake Recipes For Weight Loss

Intermittent fasting

intermittent fasting

According to Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements, intermittent fasting can be a helpful tool for those over 40 to lose weight and live a healthy lifestyle.

"Weight loss is attributed to the decrease in food while the immune benefits are from specific cellular processes that occur," says Best, "and damaged cells are more easily removed from the body during this time as the digestive tract can focus on this process alone as the immune system is essentially reset."

Although fasting may be a helpful tactic for some, it's important to talk with a medical professional before beginning to make sure it's right for your body and lifestyle.

Read these next:

Samantha Boesch
Samantha was born and raised in Orlando, Florida and now works as a writer in Brooklyn, NY. Read more about Samantha