I’m worried that my dad isn’t eating enough. He has no appetite and is becoming frail.
As we age, it’s not uncommon to eat smaller amounts because we are less active and require fewer calories. However, we still need three nutritious meals a day to prevent vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition, which can lead to serious conditions. It’s therefore important to keep an eye out for signs that an older loved one may not be eating properly. Here are some tips to keep nutrition levels high.
- For a nutrient-rich diet, spread peanut or other nut butters on toast and crackers; sprinkle finely chopped nuts or wheat germ on yogurt, fruit, and cereal; add extra egg whites to scrambled eggs and omelettes; use whole milk; and add cheese to sandwiches, vegetables, soups, rice and noodles.
- Use lemon juice, herbs, and spices to flavour bland foods.
- Provide nutritional supplements, such as multivitamins (with a doctor’s approval).
- If your loved one is not feeling well or is unwilling to eat, try tempting them with meat or vegetable broths as a temporary option. Homemade soups can be just as nutritious as any other meal.
- Encourage healthy food choices for meals and snacks. Choosing a piece of fruit or cheese, a spoonful of peanut butter or a fruit smoothie is a good way to get extra nutrients and calories between meals.
- Speak to their doctor if you suspect they have poor nutrition and ask for a referral to a registered dietitian.