While seniors often suffer from diminished appetites, caregivers can take one simple step to encourage aging loved ones to eat. How? By preparing appetizing foods and sharing them together. The combination of senior-friendly recipes and social dining offers the perfect combination for giving aging appetites a boost. We’ve got five recipes to get you off to a great start this winter.
This five-star recipe from Food.com is packed with protein and vegetables, including ground beef, cheese and mixed vegetables. Throw in plenty of garlic (a favorite super-food), and this meal feeds both the body and the soul. Not only is shepherd’s pie the ultimate comfort food, but it’s easy enough to prepare two in a single session: one to eat now and one to freeze for later.
Sometimes there’s nothing better than a simple snack, as is the case with Alton Brown’s popular guacamole recipe. Avocados are loaded with good fats, and a piquant spice mixture including cayenne, cumin, garlic and cilantro offers just the right tang to stimulate aging taste buds. If your loved one is not a fan of the spicy mix, adjust to taste, as needed. Pick up a bag of chips at the market, and you’ve got the perfect afternoon snack for a visit with your loved one.
This no-cook recipe offers a wholesome fusion of healthy fats, carbohydrates, and vitamin C thanks to a mix of creamy yogurt, fruit and granola. Encourage your loved one to unleash his inner chef by mixing in fruits and nuts of his own choosing. The best part? Caregivers don’t have to worry about open flames, forgotten burners, and other risks associated with waning senior memories. Not to mention that if the old adage about “eating with your eyes” holds up, this pretty parfait is the ultimate visual feast.
Tried and true flavors get a new twist with this easy omelet. Five minutes of prep time and five minutes of cooking time add up to a filling meal on the table in just 10 minutes. Serve for breakfast or lunch, or introduce your aging loved one to the much-beloved concept of “breakfast for dinner.” This handy recipe is also great as a base for leftovers: the ham can easily be swapped out for turkey or chicken.
No list of recipes is complete without at least one dessert, and this luscious cobbler from Cooking Light is sure to satisfy. A combination of frozen blackberries and raspberries means this can be whipped up with items currently in the freezer while whole-wheat flour amps up the nutritional value. Serve warm and top with vanilla ice cream for a particularly decadent dessert.
Choosing meals that are high in spices, colorful, and piquant can help engage all the senses.
When helping your aging loved one with meal planning, it’s important to factor in specific dietary needs: for example, if your loved one is at risk for diabetes, certain recipes will be more appropriate than others. Think high fiber, low sodium, and heart-healthy!
Preparing meals together is only part of the equation; share the meal with your aging loved one for maximum benefits.
About Marissa Salvesen
My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!
Connect with Marissa Salvesen
Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.