Mills-Peninsula Health Blog

Be Well, Be Well Informed

Tips to Boost Senior Nutrition

Posted on Mar 25, 2013 in Senior Health

For older adults experiencing decreased appetite or waning interest in food, a few simple adjustments to your cooking habits can help, according to Cathy Hazlewood, R.D., CDE, outpatient dietitian and diabetes educator at Mills-Peninsula Health Services.

Keeping up good nutrition is important at all stages of life, but senior nutrition is especially vital. Older adults need fewer calories, so they should eat nutritious foods that count, particularly fruits, vegetables and dairy.

Tips for eating well:

Use fresh herbs and spices (not just salt!)

As we age, our ability to taste and smell is diminished. Making food more flavorful with seasonings and spices can boost appetite and mealtime enjoyment, Hazlewood says. The delicate flavors of fresh basil, dill and mint are best added at the end of cooking, whereas thyme and rosemary benefit from longer cooking times.

Smell your food and enjoy the way it looks

Taste also involves smell, so take time to smell your food to boost its appeal. Enjoy your meals slowly and remember to also appreciate the presentation.

Organize a weekly  meal with friends

Get together with neighbors or friends for a weekly potluck or restaurant outing. Dining alone is a common reason for poor eating, so share meals whenever possible.

Cook simple meals or go raw

Choose two-person recipes and simple to prepare meals such as salads with easy-to-digest butter lettuce, canned garbanzo beans for protein or grilled chicken breast that can be frozen and repurposed in other meals.