Our appetite can be complicated to understand at times. Our mood can impact our desire to eat or not eat i.e., feeling sad or anxious, while smells can cause us to feel hungry even if our bodies don’t “need” anything. Despite these components, many older adults experience a decrease in appetite.
It’s estimated that by the time you’re 70 years old, you’re likely to take in 20% fewer calories than you did when you were in your mid-20s. This decrease in caloric intake can lead to unhealthy weight loss and deficiencies in vital vitamins and nutrients, which can impact your overall health.
The question then becomes, how do you combat loss of appetite if it’s a natural part of aging? CaraVita Village in Montgomery, Alabama, is answering that question and providing tips on how to help with the loss of appetite in older adults.
Eat Less Fiber
A common diet trend amongst the senior demographic tends to be high-fiber, which is recommended in a well-balanced diet. However, many studies have shown that fiber can slow digestion down and make us feel fuller for longer duration. Decreasing your daily intake of fiber can help increase your appetite throughout the day.
Make Every Meal Count
Another great way to fight the loss of appetite in older adults is to make sure every meal counts. Some older adults and their family members may opt in to making larger meals or increasing the frequency of meals. While this tactic makes sense, it may prove to be unfruitful. Increasing the number of meals won’t be beneficial unless they provide nutrient-dense foods.
Consuming smaller meals consisting of foods like avocado, nuts, cheese, and whole milk can ensure you get the most benefits out of every meal.
Make Meals More Eventful
Eating alone can be common for older adults, but it can actually cause us to eat less. A recent study examined situational effects on meal intake. The results showed that eating in competition with other tasks (i.e., socialization or watching TV), showed an increase in consumption. The study found that eating in a social setting with friends increased consumption by up to 18% while eating while watching television increased consumption by up to 14%. You don’t have to sit in front of the TV or have a social gathering for every meal, but the distractions can aid you in increasing the amount of food you eat during a meal.
Meal Preparation & Planning
Another helpful tip when combating the loss of appetite in older adults is to plan your meals out and prepare them ahead of time. Meal prepping makes it fast and easy to eat a healthy and well-balanced meal.
Aging and the loss of appetite can pose a unique obstacle. We eat when we get a cue from our mind and body. If we don’t get those cues, though, it can be easy to forget and skip meals. Meal planning is a great way to remind ourselves that we need to eat - even when we aren’t served those cues.
BONUS TIP: Adding More Calories to Meals
If your caloric intake is too low, you are at risk of experiencing unhealthy or unnecessary weight loss. A quick tip to avoiding a low-calorie diet is to simply add more calories to your meals. This can be as easy as cooking your eggs with the addition of butter or preparing your oatmeal with whole milk as opposed to water. Basic additions like these can lead to an increased caloric intake and help prevent unnecessary weight loss.
CaraVita Village understands the importance of maintaining senior health through diet. Our independent living community in Montgomery, Alabama, offers cruise ship style dining that is just as delicious as it is nutritious.
If you found this blog informative, we encourage you to check out CaraVita Village’s blog out for more helpful information regarding senior health and healthy aging.