Seniors need more calories in their diets to make up for nutritional imbalances caused not only by age, but changes in eating habits – often associated with medications or certain conditions – and the way food breaks down in the digestive system. If you provide home care for a senior parent or loved one, it’s important to find the right balance of high calorie foods that are both healthy and appetizing.
Serve Drinks with Calories Between Meals
Water is great, but it does nothing to boost calorie intake. Consider substituting your loved one’s in-between-meal glasses of water with high calorie, yet still healthy, alternatives like fruit smoothies, 100-percent fruit juice (avoid the concentrated verities) and whole milk enhanced with flavored syrups (or an occasional chocolate milk).
Enhance Existing Foods with High Calorie Extras
Since it’s not always easy trying to convince a senior loved one to try something new, enhance existing foods with some high calorie extras. For instance, instead of butter, use peanut butter on toast and instead of skim milk, use whole milk in favorite recipes.
Have More Calorie Dense Meals
The three square meals a day routine doesn’t always provide enough calories for seniors, so consider switching to five or six smaller, calorie dense meals throughout the day. Keep it healthy by including a mix of proteins and healthy carbohydrates. Make these meals a little more appetizing with toppings like chili powder, curry, citrus juice and fresh herbs.
Try These, Too
- Nut butters (can be eaten with crunchy fruits and veggies like apples and celery)
- Avocados (has a rich and creamy consistency, perfect for including in smoothies)
- Whole grain muffins (can be mixed with blueberries and raisins for added flavor)
- Full-fat dairy products (even a container of full-fat yogurt with breakfast can boost calorie consumption)
If your senior loved one has a condition like diabetes or high blood pressure that makes high calorie diets tricky, consider working with a dietician to find appropriate substitutes. For seniors with trouble swallowing, consider pureeing foods to retain the calorie count.
For more information about senior nutrition, reach out to Home Care Assistance of Annapolis today. Our friendly and experienced Care Managers would be more than happy to answer your questions and can also offer care options should your loved one need help with grocery shopping, meal preparation or other household tasks. Call us at 443-302-2771 and speak with the Annapolis live-in care specialists.