Wait, isn’t gaining weight as a senior a bad thing?
Many people have the incorrect notion that gaining weight is always a negative, unhealthy choice to make. While this can be true in certain circumstances, the reality is that healthy weight gain for seniors can sometimes be just as vital as healthy weight loss for your overall well-being.
As we age, our bodies can naturally become more frail and susceptible to certain diseases. Ensuring that your body is maintaining a healthy weight for your age and lifestyle is vital to extending the length and quality of your life.
Being underweight can contribute to serious medical problems for seniors, including an increased risk of osteoporosis, bone fractures, decreased energy, a weaker immune system, and a higher possibility of complications following surgery.
For these reasons, elderly weight gain can actually be a good thing, as long as you are safe and careful. Additionally, you should always be sure to consult your doctor or primary healthcare provider for professional advice before deciding to make any drastic diet changes during your golden years.
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How to Gain Weight in a Healthy Way
As we get older, it is possible for our senses of taste and smell to weaken. In turn, this can often diminish our appetites and cause our food preferences to change. Relating to this phenomenon, many caretakers and loved ones often find it difficult to encourage their senior charge to participate in and enjoy meal times.
If you find that you or your loved ones are beginning to lose interest in food or are starting to become slightly apathetic about what’s being served for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, it’s important to remember that proper nutrition is crucial to good health, especially for seniors.
Really, encouraging yourself or a loved one to gain weight in a healthy way comes down to just three simple strategies:
- Finding foods that are easy for seniors to eat and digest.
- Ensuring that these foods are nutritious and high in calories.
- Preparing and serving these foods in a way that will encourage your loved one to look forward to every meal.
If you’re in need of assistance when it comes to finding the ideal foods to accommodate these strategies. Nursing Home Reviews is here to help!
What are some healthy, calorie-rich foods for seniors?
Avocados are a soft, high-calorie, healthy food that many seniors love. Blessed with a rich and creamy consistency, these so-called “superfoods” are rich in nutrients like fiber, antioxidants, and potassium.
You can try adding avocado to your breakfast plate in place of butter on toast, or you can serve sliced avocado with foods like salads, tacos, casseroles, or chili. You can even add them as a topping on sandwiches!
Coconut has recently gained a lot of traction as a popular health food, and for good reason! Although coconut products are often high in saturated fats, recent studies have shown that this fat actually operates much differently in our bodies from the kinds of fats that are often found in animal products, actually helping to improve overall heart health and aiding in digestion.
Coconut has a mild, nutty-sweet taste that can be great as a substitute in recipes that call for milk or cream in certain soups and stews. Additionally, coconut oil can be a great replacement for olive and vegetable oils in many dishes.
Potatoes and whole-grain starches
Are you a meat and potatoes kind of guy or gal? If so, you may have recently found it difficult to enjoy these heavy meals like you used to. Luckily, that doesn’t mean these starchy foods have to be eliminated altogether. Compared to meats and fresh produce, carbohydrates (which potatoes are incredibly rich in) can be some of the most affordable nutrients to stock up on.
Try serving one starch with each meal you eat or make for a loved one, and don’t be afraid to get creative! Potatoes are an incredibly versatile food which can be served baked, fried, boiled, or as a blank canvas that allows you to easily switch between dozens of flavor profiles.
Nut butters, like almond butter, peanut butter, or cashew butter, are some of the easiest ingredients to incorporate into your diet, and they’re quite delicious too! Possessing a smooth and creamy texture, these foods are much easier for seniors to eat and digest than raw nuts or seeds.
Nut butters are also rich in monounsaturated fat, making them excellent for promoting heart health and lowering blood pressure. You can serve nut butters on toast, crackers, and even on sandwiches coupled with jelly or jam.
Fresh fruit or vegetable smoothies
Smoothies are a great way to pack a serious punch of nutrients in a small portion. They are especially great when you don’t have much of an appetite, and they can also be a great source of fluids too.
Smoothies can be made by combining fruits like bananas, berries, and nut butters together for a sweet treat, or veggies like spinach, kale, and other leafy greens for an energy-boosting beverage.
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How can I be sure that I or my elderly loved one is getting the best possible nourishment?
If you’re concerned about you or your loved one’s ability to gain weight in a healthy way, or to ensure that they are eating well and receiving all the nutrients that are recommended for a happy and healthy lifestyle, there’s no shame in relying on professionally-trained caregiver experts and medical personnel for assistance.
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This way, we can do our part in ensuring that whatever decision you decide to make regarding you or your loved one’s care is an informed one. To get started researching and comparing hundreds of facilities in your local area as soon as possible, just sign up for an account today!