When people get older, their appetite often decreases due to pain, medications, problems with their teeth or swallowing, and being unable to taste certain flavors. As someone providing elderly care, it is important to encourage loved ones to eat healthy. However, there are ways to satisfy a sweet craving and do it in a healthy way.
Many elders will reach for sweets before something healthy. This can be frustrating for a caregiver who is trying to encourage their loved one to avoid foods with a high sugar content or that contain little or no nutritional value.
Keep a few things in mind when considering sweets for seniors:
- In some cases, sweets may be okay for seniors. As the body ages, it tends to lose fat reserves. Sweets have a high calorie count and substantial amount of fat. As long as the doctor doesn’t forbid a sweet snack, indulge your loved one with a bowl of ice cream or some other sweet craving. Diabetics require sugar-free products so it is important to consider a seniors health condition as well and consult with a doctor.
- Many seniors who have problems chewing, swallowing, or digesting food will tend to choose foods that are soft and sweet, such as cupcakes or cookies, instead of foods that are tougher, harder, and better for them. Dentures or painful gums or teeth can affect their ability to eat the foods they should be. Problems with dentures or pain in the mouth can be addressed with a dentist. Problems with digestion or swallowing could be a complication resulting from another health condition.
Tips that may be helpful in getting your loved one to eat healthier with sweets:
- Don’t deny them sweet treats as they can be beneficial in providing the extra calories that seniors need. Allowing them to eat foods they enjoy may bring comfort for them when faced with losing their friends or loved ones.
- Keep it cool. Warmer foods may be more appealing but foods that are cool in temperature go down better. Observe what your loved one prefers.
- Smoothies are a delicious way to incorporate nutrients and much needed calories. Start off by using fruit, such as strawberries, blueberries, and other sweet berries. These fruits can be purchased frozen during off season. Bananas are a great source of potassium and add to the flavor.
- Learn how to hide nutrition. Review cookbooks that focus on hiding the nutrition in sweets and other foods.
- Keep portions small.
When it comes to elderly care and sweets, unless the doctor has forbidden particular foods because of health conditions or diabetes, it is fine to indulge them in their sweet cravings.