Many people are looking to cut calories from their diets in order to stay healthy, but many seniors experience the opposite in that they need to boost their caloric intake. Whether they have lost weight after a surgery or prolonged illness or are simply not eating enough due to loss of appetite, reduced taste or from emotional or mental illness issues, some seniors really need to eat foods that are high in calories to maintain their health.
Family caregivers that help seniors with shopping and meal preparation should work with a doctor or nutritionist to focus on meals with the most impact on an underweight senior’s diet. The danger of a reduced appetite means that the senior may not be getting the right nutrients to stay healthy and build up the body’s resistance to future illness and injury.
Here’s a list of high-calorie foods that taste delicious and can help underweight seniors put on some healthy pounds:
Seeds and nuts
Not only are seeds and nuts high in calories, they also deliver lots of vitamins and minerals for their small sizes. Seeds and nuts are also easy to incorporate into just about every meal, from sprinkling them on yogurt to being added in baked goods like muffins and bread. Home care aides can even encourage seniors to eat lightly salted seeds and nuts as a crunchy, healthy snack.
Whole milk and full fat dairy products
Instead of using skim milk and low fat dairy products, home care aides can use full fat dairy to boost calories. Yogurt, milk, cottage cheese, butter, hard cheeses and more come in different varieties of fat content, so opting for the calorie-laden options will help the senior consume more calories.
Avocados are an excellent source of monounsaturated fat, as well as a number of vitamins and minerals. They can be mashed into guacamole or spread on toast. Cubed or sliced, they are an excellent addition to salads, tacos and sandwiches. They can even be baked in their skins and served with salt and pepper. No matter how they are served, avocados are a nutritiously dense and versatile fruit.
Because they are easy to consume and taste great, smoothies are the ultimate vehicles for calorie-laden ingredients. Bananas, powdered supplements, wheat germ, flaxseed oil, honey, cacao powder, fruit, soy milk and liquid egg substitute are just a few of the ingredients that can boost the calories of a delicious and healthy smoothie.
Full of omega-3 fatty acids and packed with calories and nutrients, fatty fish are ideal for rejuvenating a senior’s diet. Examples of fatty fish include tuna, sardines, anchovies, salmon and trout. The recommended serving size for fatty fish is about 3.5 ounces, several times per week. Seniors with chewing and swallowing issues may find it easier to eat flaky fish instead of other types of meat as well.
Preparing calorie-dense meals for the elderly should only be done in accordance with their doctor or
nutritionist as part of an overall healthy diet. Home care aides can do their best to ensure that an underweight senior is getting healthy meals and taking in lots of important calories with every bite.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING IN-HOME CARE IN LAS VEGAS, NV, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE. CALL TODAY 702-800-4616.