Lack of appetite is a common issue among the elderly. This can be caused by numerous factors, such as medication, poor nutrition, or health problems. When an older person doesn’t feel like eating, it can be not easy to find healthy and appetizing foods. This blog post will discuss some of the best foods for older people with no appetite. We will also provide recipes for delicious and nutritious meals that they will love!
- Causes of decreased appetite
- How Aging Can Lead to Poor Appetite
- Best Foods for Elderly Individuals with No Appetite
- Ways to get seniors with no appetite to eat
- Setting a Regular Eating Schedule and Meal Plan
Causes of Decreased Appetite
The absence of hunger or a general indifference in eating is referred to as loss of appetite. A lack of appetite, if left addressed, can lead to weight loss and exhaustion.
Loss of appetite is commonly caused by physical and psychological factors such as:
- Infections caused by viruses or bacteria (e.g., stomach flu, cold, food poisoning, etc.)
- Changes in the body’s hormones
- New medicine/medications
Appetite loss might sometimes be a sign of a more serious medical problem. Thyroid diseases, hepatitis, dementia, and cancer patients frequently experience changes in their eating patterns. In general, if an elderly loved one suddenly has a reduced appetite, we highly recommend consulting a doctor for a professional diagnosis.
How Aging Can Lead to Poor Appetite
Due to a natural decline in taste buds and a lower sense of smell, the elderly prefer to eat less. Meals become much less pleasurable due to these changes, leading to a progressive loss of interest in eating.
Adults over the age of 60 are also more likely to have sedentary lives. As a result of their decreased physical activity, their bodies do not use as much energy, affecting the amount of food they require daily. A lower metabolic rate and lessened physical activity mean that seniors generally need fewer calories, and that’s normal.
Other medical issues that older people are prone to can lead to poor eating habits. Due to ill-fitting dentures or discomfort during chewing or swallowing, older people may eat less. Read up on dental problems in the elderly to see how this might reduce your loved one’s enjoyment of food.
Best Foods for Elderly Individuals with No Appetite
To help elderly loved ones restore healthier eating habits, you can offer healthier versions of their favorite meals or new, exciting dishes. We aim to increase nutrient density, not portion size their meals. Here’s a list of tasty, nutrient-rich foods that can be incorporated into their diet to increase appetite.
Avocado Toast with Egg
Avocados are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. They also improve cardiovascular health. Pairing this fresh fruit with toast, egg, and even cottage cheese can result in a well-balanced meal full of essential macronutrients, especially protein and carbohydrates.
Compared with other fruits, bananas are higher in calories, which is ideal for seniors with a decreased appetite. These pancakes can be topped with almond butter or berries for additional, flavourful calories that pack a tasty punch.
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids, which improve cardiovascular health. Combining protein-rich foods with healthy fats and high-calorie foods like rice and flour tortillas balances good nutrition and adequate calories.
Fruits and vegetables are packed with nutrients and vitamins that senior adults need to maintain good health. Smoothies are easy to consume for elderly individuals, and they can easily help them reach their daily maintenance calories with little effort.
Stovetop or Air-Popped Popcorn
As senior adults improve their appetite, you must avoid overwhelming them with big meals. Healthy snacks like a stovetop or air-popped popcorn may encourage them to eat more frequently throughout the day and get the calories they need.
Turkey Omelette with Rice
Turkey is an excellent source of protein and contains very little saturated fat, consuming more nutrient-dense foods than most red meats. When mixed with high-calorie food like rice, elderly loved ones with poor appetites can get important nutrients and maintain a healthy weight.
Red Pepper and Tomato Soup with Croutons
High-calorie soups are great for aging adults. Liquid calories are typically easier to consume and less likely to keep them full for long periods. The herbs and spices in this dish also enhance flavor, encouraging them to eat more.
For a healthy dessert for elderly loved ones, consider yogurt parfaits. Ingredients like fruits, granola, and chia seeds are mixed with a fresh cup of frozen yogurt. Besides being an easy snack for elderly adults to eat, yogurt provides a rich source of calcium and protein, improving their muscle and bone health.
Ways to get Seniors with No Appetite to Eat
Setting a regular eating schedule and meal plan.
Having a consistent daily schedule and giving nutritious foods at around the same times each day allows their bodies to prepare for eating at those times. Before giving your older adult food, please don’t rely on their capacity to sense hunger (which diminishes with age).
Serve smaller portions of high-nutrient foods.
When they see a great amount of food in front of them, some people may become overwhelmed. Smaller amounts should be served instead of a large plate. Alternatively, you may try adjusting to a daily pattern where your senior has five little meals rather than three bigger ones. You may still prepare meals in larger quantities to save time. It’s easy to heat and serve if you store it in tiny individual containers.
Suggest an appetite stimulant.
Prescription appetite stimulants are medications that seniors can take to increase appetite in cases where people aren’t consuming enough nutrients. In some cases, vitamin supplements such as zinc, thiamine, and fish oil can effectively stimulate appetite. In others, medication may be required, but always consult your doctor first.
Use drinkable meals.
Drinkable meals are a simple method to continue to supply your loved ones with all the nourishment and nutrients they require without altering their diet when swallowing or using utensils becomes difficult. Smoothies and shakes are the most common drinkable meals, and you can get pretty creative with food combinations. To eliminate choking dangers, make sure that any components you use are well blended and no huge lumps can be found in the dish.
This should only be utilized as a last option; a referral to speech and language therapy for a swallowing exam from your doctor would be useful.
Fortify the food.
You want your loved ones to get as much nourishment as possible when they eat. Vitamins, iron, and calcium are all essential nutrients, and fortifying meals can help you get more of them. Most breakfast cereals, for example, are already fortified by the manufacturer. There are, however, various strategies to fortify snacks and meals for persons who have lost their appetite or are malnourished.
We propose adding butter, cream, full-fat milk, or cheese to snacks or meals to improve calorie consumption. For example, a knob of butter adds 150 calories to a scoop of mashed potatoes. Protein may be supplemented by eating a variety of foods such as meat, fish, eggs, beans, and pulses and taking multivitamins.
Eat meals with others.
Making mealtimes a social affair may teach your loved ones about the necessity of eating while also providing an exciting event for them to anticipate. Meals may be a struggle for those who don’t have much appetite, so we have to encourage social meals. The thought of spending time with others might make mealtimes more appealing. Find out what kinds of meals and foods your loved one prefers and how they want them cooked since this will always boost the chances of their finding something to eat.
Reduce the number of utensils required.
The aggravation of not using a spoon, fork, or knife may cause some older adults to refuse to eat. Serve healthy foods and dishes that can be eaten without utensils or use adaptable utensils to make eating easier for them.
Make sure you have lots of quick-to-eat foods on hand.
Rather than eating complete meals, some people choose to graze throughout the day. That’s OK as well. Finely-chopped meat is always better than steaks. Keep a variety of healthy, tasty, and easy-to-eat snacks on hand so kids may choose from various nutritional selections.
Keep track of what works.
Take notes so you can keep track of the meals your older adult appreciates, as well as the foods they don’t like and those that are difficult to eat or digest. You may also keep track of when they’re more inclined to eat or have a stronger appetite. Keeping track allows you to experiment with what works and less time avoiding what doesn’t.
Loss of appetite can lead to dramatic weight loss and malnutrition among senior adults. As immunity declines with age, consuming adequate and nutritious calories becomes increasingly important to safeguard one’s health. Do you still have questions about poor appetite in the elderly? Talk to their doctor or nutritionist, and help elderly loved ones receive the assistance and care they need to sustain a healthy diet consistently.