High Calorie Foods for Seniors
For many caregivers and family members of older adults, one of the most consistent and biggest challenges is keeping their senior loved one maintaining a healthy weight. Among the many changes that aging brings about, our senses of smell and taste weaken, which can cause appetite and food preferences to change. Many seniors aren’t very excited for meal times and struggle to eat enough to satisfy their daily nutritional requirements. Proper nutrition is critical for good health, as our body is composed of the things we feed it. Additionally, meal times provide valuable social engagement for seniors, which is critical for continuing mental health and good mood. Encouraging your elderly loved one to eat at each meal time comes down to a few rules of thumb, and some basic, quality ingredients to help them put and keep weight on.
- Prepare foods that are easy to eat and digest. Many seniors have difficulty chewing due to worn or missing teeth, and older digestive systems may not be as effective as they once were.
- Make sure the foods are nutritious and high in calories. If what they’re eating is nutrient and calorie dense, then they can eat less of it and still reap the benefits of vitamins, minerals, and calories from it.
- Prepare and serve foods that they’ll look forward to at every meal, so they’ll be excited to eat and finish their meals.
For seniors, consider finding ways to use and incorporate these delicious, high calorie ingredients into their meals.
- Nut butters: Grocery stores stock far more than just peanut butter these days, you can also grab jars of almond or cashew butter. Smooth, creamy, and much easier to eat and digest than raw or roasted nuts, nut butters provide many tasty calories. They’re also high in monounsaturated fat, making them great for heart health and blood pressure. Try smearing them on fruits and vegetables like apple or celery, or stirring a spoonful into the morning bowl of oatmeal.
- Avocado: Avocado toast doesn’t have to be just for millennials. With a thick, creamy consistency, avocados are high in heart healthy fats, and their creamy nature acts as an emulsifier when mixed with other foods. They can be added into a superfood smoothie, cut up and mixed into salads, used as a topping for eggs, added into a sandwich, or yes, smeared on toast.
- Coconut: Coconut has recently come into the spotlight as a great dietary staple, mainly due to things like the paleo diet or the keto diet making heavy use of it. The saturated fat in coconut means it should be used sparingly, but when making a creamy soup or stew, try adding some full-fat coconut milk into the mix. Asian soups, stews, and curries have included this delicious ingredient for years.
- Full-fat dairy: The low-fat diet craze of the 90’s means that for years, people have been reflexively reaching for low or no fat versions of milk, yogurt, cottage cheese, and other dairy products. The full fat versions not only taste better, but provide valuable calories. It takes 3500 extra calories to gain a pound, so every little bit counts.