As people age their ability to smell and taste foods and aromas can change. A sense of smell is directly connected to the ability to fully taste foods. As these senses dull, it can reduce seniors’ enjoyment of food and in turn, reduce their appetite. It’s a slippery slope because a healthy appetite is essential to ensure good nutrition. How do you make sure that a senior loved one is eating well even as they may lose the ability to smell and taste food? Here are some foods that may help.
- A plate full of bright red strawberries, deep blue blueberries and green Kiwi is visually interesting and enticing. It is also power packed with vitamins and minerals that are good for the brain and the bones. Prepare a plate or bowl with cut fruit and leave it on the counter. Your senior loved one may pick at it throughout the day and get important nutrients as a result.
- When preparing meals, think about the colors of the rainbow and add them to dishes. If your loved one likes salads, make sure to add yellow, red and green peppers. Bright colors can be more appetizing that just a sea of green lettuce.
- In the winter months, bake sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Not only are they are superfood packed with nutrients, but their color is appetizing as well. Carrots, broccoli and multi-colored tomatoes will add color and visual interest to meals and snacks as well.
Depending upon your loved one’s dietary restrictions, adding texture to foods can make them interesting to eat. Throw some nuts into a salad, add sliced almonds to the morning’s oatmeal, or add some shredded or chopped cheese on an english muffin.
Step up the Flavor
It’s easy to increase the flavor of foods so they taste good, without increasing its salt content. Squeezing fresh lemon and lime can add a fresh zing to foods. Herbs like oregano and basil make foods taste rich. In the summer, chopping fresh parsley, cilantro and mint can add a delicious dimension to salads and sandwiches.
Consider mixing it up a little bit and introducing your loved one to new combinations of foods that might interest them.
- Layer yogurt, berries and oatmeal in a jar and leave for them in the refrigerator for the morning. They may enjoy the fun of eating breakfast out of a mason jar and the flavors may interest them.
- Prepare a sandwich that they like and put thinly sliced cucumbers in it for a bit of crunch. It will add interest to the sandwich and increase their fresh vegetable intake for the day.
- Freeze grapes and then put them in a bowl for a snack. They taste like candy when frozen and have a more intense flavor.
Your loved one may regularly prepare the same foods that he or she has prepared for decades. They may taste bland and become boring after so many years. Prepare for your loved one, some of the bright and tasty foods listed above. He or she may be surprised at how great they taste and how it makes them want to eat more throughout the day. Any time you can increase the healthy foods that your loved one eats, you increase the status of their health and the ability of their body to fight disease and infection.
If you or your family member is considering in-home care as part of a plan to age in place, contact Family Matters In-Home Care today for a free consultation. Our team is dedicated to supporting your family and helping older adults enjoy life in the comfort of their own home for as long as possible.
Some of the services offered by Family Matter In-Home Care include: Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care, Bed & Wheelchair Transfer Assistance, Companionship, Housekeeping & Meal Preparation, Personal Care, Recovery Care, and Transportation.