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Tea with Nan - Part 2

May 31, 2012 by Kenton Delisle

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As a teenager, I used to eat like a horse. I could barely keep up with my appetite. It made it easy to meet my nutrition needs as I inhaled an impressive amount of food, daily. While “variety and abundance” worked for me then, decreasing energy needs and reduced appetite can make it more challenging to eat healthfully as we age.

Remember my co-worker Lara’s nan from the blog entry Tea with Nan - Part 1? She was challenged with getting enough fluids, while not wanting to “fill up” on beverages that would further reduce her appetite. In Part 2, we offer ideas from Dietitians Services at Health Link BC to stimulate Nan’s appetite and incorporate smaller amounts of food throughout the day to help meet her nutrition needs and keep her feeling her best.
What strategies have you found work to keep you or a loved one nibbling, even with a low appetite?


Table 2: Nan’s eating strategies for a few more nibbles, everyday

What Why How
Beat the Blah’s With Breakfast It’s a good idea to have the biggest meal of the day in the morning when one has more energy and having solid foods for the start of the day can really help get things going…in a lot of ways.

Think about how in fancy restaurants they give you a tasty little starter, an amuse bouche, to stimulate your appetite. Think of breakfast as your “amuse bouche” for the day.

Being tired and not wanting to cook just means we sometimes  need to get creative to find foods that can easily kick-start the day

Try some familiar ones: Yogurt, fruit, toast, soft boiled egg, cold cereal, oatmeal or porridge

Or try a smoothie -make one with your favourite fruit and some yogurt

Leftovers from the night before might do the trick – try supper for breakfast!

Get a move on Keeping active. Physical activity not only helps to :
  • Improve your balance
  • Reduce falls and injuries
  • Help you stay independent longer
but it can also help stimulate and increase your appetite – not to mention that it can keep ‘other’ things ‘moving along’ as well.

Find an activity that works for you and your situation: The Physical Activity Line can help you find activities that work for you
  • Take a walk
  • Ride a bicycle
  • Try something like yoga to work on flexibility and strength
  • Resistance training is for more than body builders – keep your strength up and improve your balance
Make it social It doesn’t have to be fancy, (although fancy can be fun) but it’s always better together. Plan to dine with a friend once or twice a week
Jazz it up Make your meal and place to eat inviting – you might just find you feel a little hungrier.
  • Set an attractive place setting
  • Use the plates and silverware you save for guests
  • Reheating some leftovers? Get them out of their container and plate them like they were made fresh
  • Clear the clutter – try to eat where you have space to breath – and hopefully enjoy your place setting
     
Graze Small appetites mean small meals. Grazing on nourishing foods through the day adds up.

Make each bite count with nourishing foods.

Snacks between meals and tips to ‘fortify,’ or boost a meal
Snacks:
  • Good old whole wheat crackers and cheese can be quick, easy and satisfying.  Try a little red pepper jelly on the cracker to spice it up
  • Turn a breakfast cereal into a topping-top some yogurt with cereal or a couple tbsp of uncooked rolled oats
  • A little peanut butter goes a long way – try a some on apple slices or as a dip for some celery and carrots

Easy boosters for any snack or meal:
  • Add skim milk powder to soups for a little protein boost
  • Eggs! – boiled eggs can be made in advance and refrigerated – have one as a snack or add one to a piece of toast or to any meal –
  • Add an egg to any sandwich or even top your dinner with an egg
  • Top it with cheese – a little grated cheese can go a long way to make a meal or snack tasty and satisfying
 
Try any of the tips below as snacks as well as meals

There’s more to toast than toast Here, it’s all about the toppings. Turn your bread, baguette and bagels into a satisfying snack or meal.
Quick, easy, and nourishing with the right toppings.

  • Have a nice piece of whole grain toast to dip in your soup
  • Tuna melts never get out of fashion
  • Peanut butter and toast is a staple for good reason - it’s tasty and nourishing
-Be like Elvis, try adding a banana
  • Spread some canned salmon on toast and cut in diagonals –nice and fancy pants (add a touch of mayo and relish if you like)
One pot wonders Not only time savers, but can be a satisfying comfort food – not to mention very sharable (who doesn’t love a hearty casserole showing up at their door?).

Casseroles can be a great way to still enjoy the flavours you like, but in a simple dish that takes less effort to make, less effort to clean up, and can stretch out over a few meals.

  • There are as many ways to make a mac and cheese as there are macaroni noodles in the box
-Shake it up and use it as a base and add some browned ground beef, or some onions and peppers.

Find more tips and information in the Healthy Eating for Seniors handbook  at SeniorsBC.ca.

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