You often hear that our eating habits and food choices change with age. The teenage junk food phase often changes to healthy choices as we enter adulthood and have families of our own to feed. Then after the family is grown and gone, many senior eating habits change again. Every wonder why?
Here are some reasons why senior eating habits change
- Senses change as we age. Our sense of taste and smell change. Simple as that. Medications can also change our taste buds. Just like when we are children we often hated certain foods, then as adults we found they weren’t so bad. To address this, you can change up recipes and add spices (or remove) to make meals more appealing. Don’t be afraid to try something totally new and see if you like it. Caregivers can do the same for you!
- Vision changes. More than needing bifocals! We just don’t see as well as we used to. Simple as that. Try adding colour and different items (garnishes) to make a plate of food more appealing. And if you have improved the smell of the meal as mentioned above with new spices etc. it will likely be more appealing.
- Only the lonely. Who wants to cook for themselves? I know my Mom doesn’t. If she is on her own she won’t cook. She figures she did it for enough years for a bunch of us and would just rather nibble on snack stuff. Now if someone were to bring her food or send her home with leftovers from a turkey dinner, that would work. Find easy recipes and cook enough for more than one, freeze some of it and have it later on. Better yet, invite a friend over for dinner. Caregivers, home delivery of meals is always an option or including your senior in Sunday type meals where leftovers can be sent home are great ideas. At a minimum go for some nutritious desserts!
- Physical reasons. In addition to medications changing taste buds, there are other physical reasons a senior may not want to eat. Problems with constipation or the opposite would make anyone hesitate to eat. Problems chewing because of dental issue or others, may also hinder the ability to eat proper food. Let’s go to the doctor and figure out what may be going on. Find out why stomach issues or chewing is an issue. In the meantime, you can change raw foods to cooked foods to soften them. Consider nutritional recipes that are easier to chew.
- Finances. Food is expensive. Healthy foods even more. Maybe that is a reason for not indulging in the good stuff. But we don’t like to admit this. Shop local farmers for reasonable prices. Frozen fruits and vegetable can have great nutrition too and may be less expensive. Shop daily and grab the reduced meats and produced and cook them right away.
- Lack of Understanding or pretending to. Simply put we need to eat to survive. We all know that. Yet many as we age, don’t want to be bothered. But it is so important. Is there an underlying reason why you don’t want to eat that should be acknowledged? Are you at risk as a senior that isn’t eating properly? And if so, why?
At the end of the day as a senior, we need to get creative and find ways that intrigue us to eat. Try new recipes, check out the Joy of Cooking for Seniors , make it a social affair. Have cook-offs with friends, go to a cooking class, invite family and friends over to try your latest and greatest. Make cooking a passion! It helps you mentally, physically and socially so why not give it a try. Caregivers, help your senior make some of these things happen and it may reduce your workload.
While we have had fun talking about senior nutrition, if you think you or a loved may be a risk for nutritional deficiencies but just aren’t sure, please download our FREE Vulnerability Index and see whether there should be concerns or not. http://seniorslifestylemag.com/vulnerability-index