Seniors don’t always get the nutrition they need to keep them healthy both mentally and physically. Part of the reason is losing their appetite. Sense of smell is directly related to appetite. Many medications reduce the sense of smell, and cause loss of appetite.
Elderly adults need to keep 4 food groups in their meal planning:
- Lean protein from eggs, beans, meat, or seafood
- Vegetables and fruits
- Whole grains
- Dairy products
An easy breakfast may be hot cooked oatmeal with berries, a hard-boiled egg, or poached egg, wheat toast, a yogurt parfait with fruit, or whole grain waffles. Eggs are a great nutritional menu item for any meal or as a snack hard-boiled. Lunch may be tuna sandwich on wheat, chili, or a taco salad.
Dentures, teeth diseases, or loss of teeth may require seniors to east soft foods such as gelatin, applesauce, mashed potatoes, soup, yogurt, or a fruit-based smoothie. A soft food diet may also include rice, pasta, and breads. Try to stay away from sugar and added salt. Use natural ingredients in their purest form when possible.
Eating at a regular time (3 times daily) with no more than 2 food items gets seniors and their bodies prepared to eat. Small portions served at a regular time reduces anxiety. Consider eliminating utensils as it becomes harder for them to manipulate. Fish sticks, chicken nuggets, steamed foods, cheese sticks, peanut butter/crackers, orange slices, banana slices, or small muffins all are easy to handle foods that are nutritious meals for seniors.
Water is critical to a senior health plan. Encourage your senior to drink small amounts of fluids consistently throughout the day. Tea, coffee, and water are the best choices. 15 glasses of water is recommended for muscle density, especially in the warmer months.
It may be easier for your senior to eat 6-7 small meals throughout the day to aid in digestion and because their appetite has decreased.
If someone cannot be there to assist with meal planning or grocery shopping Meals on Wheels may be an option. They offer meal delivery service to homebound seniors throughout the county.
Comforts of Home provides consistent, professionally trained in-home care providers to manage a senior’s health and independence. One of our services is to provide access to information and education to the community for senior care.