6 Ways To Get Seniors With No Appetite to Eat

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Posted Jun 10th, 2019 in Nutrition

6 Ways To Get Seniors With No Appetite to Eat

It can be common for some older adults refuse to eat or to lose their appetite but it can still be concerning and stressful to see a loved one not eating or eating less.  Once medical or dental issues have been ruled out, you could try some of the following suggestions to get seniors with no appetite to eat.

1. Have a regular meal and snack schedule

Regular routines help stimulate the body to expect to eat at those times.

2. Serve smaller portions of high nutrient foods

Smaller portions appear less intimidating than a large or full plate. You can also increase the healthy calories in those servings by adding food such as:

  • Avocado
  • Finely chopped meat, cheese, egg
  • Olive oil
  • Peanut or other nut butters
  • Soft cheeses like ricotta or mascarpone
3. Stop using utensils
Some older adults get frustrated or have difficulty using utensils and as a result, they refuse to eat. If that it’s happening for some of your loved ones, you can try some of these without utensils:
  • Chicken strips or nuggets
  • Fish sticks
  • Steamed or raw veggies like carrots, broccoli, bell pepper strips, or cucumber pieces
  • Meatballs
4. Have plenty of easy-to-eat snacks on hand

If your loved one prefers to eat snacks instead of full meals, don’t worry about it. You can still keep them healthy by trying some of these options.
  • Cheese sticks or string cheese
  • Full-fat yogurt
  • Diced fruit, fresh or packaged
  • Peanut butter and crackers
  • Cheese and crackers
  • Full-fat cottage cheese
  • Whole chocolate milk
5. Make milkshakes or smoothies

 If older adults find chewing to be tiring or difficult, or to increase the total calorie intake, you can consider serving more liquid foods such as:
  • Nutritious soups – enhanced with cream, olive oil, or pureed meats and veggies
  • Healthy smoothies – add bananas, fruit, full-fat yogurt, or veggies like carrots and spinach
  • Hot cocoa
  • Full-fat milk
  • Milkshakes – good quality ice cream is better than eating nothing!
  • Warning: This is not a solution for those with medical issues such as dysphagia (swallowing problems).

6. Keep track of what works

In the end, the best advice is to take notes about which are the best options, identify what they don’t like and what might be the best choice of food for them. Track what is the best time for him/her to eat and keep experimenting to try to find what works best.


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