Many seniors find themselves with failing appetites as they age. This may be caused by numerous factors, such as declining metabolism, poor sense of taste, disease and even medications. Although this change in appetite may not be completely unexpected, it can be an unwelcome part of aging because proper nutrition is vital to a healthy body that can fight off infection while staying strong. Here are four keys to improving the appetite in seniors.
Eat at Regular Intervals
First, seniors should be sure to eat their meals and snacks at the same times every day as much as possible. Those who rely only on their hunger to tell them when it is time to eat may find this to be an unreliable indicator and may not be receiving the nutrition that they need. Hunger levels naturally lower with increased age.
Focus on Nutrient-Dense Foods
When serving a senior, individuals should focus only on nutrient-dense foods. With this focus, the individual will be receiving plenty of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates along with appropriate vitamins and minerals even if he or she is not eating large amounts. Soft cheeses, nut butters and foods sautéed in olive oil or butter are good options for seniors needing to get more fats.
Use Easily-Prepared Foods
Seniors who feed themselves some of their meals or snacks should always have adequate supplies of grab-and-go foods on hand. Meats and vegetables that can be easily warmed from frozen in the microwave are good options. Yogurt, cottage cheese, string cheese, applesauce, and pre-cut fruits are other good suggestions.
Try a Smoothie
Some seniors struggle to eat because chewing has become too difficult. It may either take too much energy for them, or it may be difficult to do because of dental problems. Smoothies can be a great way to get plenty of nutrition into an easily-sipped meal. Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, and dairy products are good choices. Even soups can be pureed into smoothies.