Health and Wellness

Healthy eating for seniors with a low appetite

Get easy tips on how to enjoy more nutritious foods and snacks each day for energy and health

Shot of a cheerful group of senior people talking and enjoying breakfast together at home

Are you noticing a change in your appetite as you age? You’re not alone. Many seniors lose interest and energy for cooking and shopping, while others experience illness, a diminished sense of taste or difficulties chewing and swallowing. The challenge is that low appetite can lead to poor nutrition, increasing the risk of weakness, falls, confusion and diseases like osteoporosis. 

That’s one of the reasons why we wrote our Guide to Healthy Eating for Seniors, which offers tasty and nutritious recipes, insights from dietitians and advice from Canada’s Food Guide. Use it and these tips to boost your food intake each day. 

Healthy food choices for seniors with low appetite

  • Snack more. Take the big-meal pressure off and enjoy nutritious snacks throughout the day such as a fruit smoothie, peanut-butter and banana toast or veggies and hummus. (Meal replacement drinks are fine, but they typically qualify as a snack, not a full meal.) 
  • Buy pre-chopped vegetables, bagged salads and low-fat, ready-to-eat meals. That way you can eat well even if you don’t feel like cooking. 
  • Make tender dishes with zesty sauces. Do you have dry mouth, trouble chewing, or find food less tasty over the years as your sense of smell diminishes — which is directly linked to taste? At Amica Senior Lifestyles, our chefs take this into account, offering menu items such as beef stew, braised ribs and fish with a lemon sauce or tomato salsa. Take a similar approach at home and liven up dishes with herbs, citrus, spices, garlic and onion to make them extra flavourful. 
  • Have a glass of milk or water with and between meals. Remember to drink 9-12 cups of fluid per day even if you don’t have a strong sense of thirst. 

How older adults can eat better, more often

  • Set an alarm. Time flies, so setting a timer acts as a reminder to enjoy regular meals. 
  • Plan a weekly lunch date or potluck dinner club. Eating with friends and family feels more fun than eating alone. 
  • Get meals delivered. Meals On Wheels, Heart To Home and other services will deliver prepared meals. 

Consider senior living for better nutrition and health

If you or your loved one are struggling with groceries and cooking, skipping meals and losing weight, it may be smart to research senior living options. (Read When is it time for Assisted Living? to discover more signs.)

At Amica Senior Lifestyles, all meals and snacks are prepared by Red Seal certified chefs, who love creating exceptional cuisine that tastes great and meets Canada’s Food Guide requirements, along with options for heart-healthy, diabetic, gluten-free, vegetarian diets and more.

“Amica residents tell us that eating well without the fuss of shopping, cooking and cleaning is one of the greatest benefits of premium senior living,” says Gary McBlain, National Director of Culinary Services. (Download our Guide to Healthy Eating for Seniors to try three of his delectable recipes.)  

Read these other seniors’ nutrition resources, as well:

It’s never too late to regain your appetite and zest for life, as Amica residents know well.

Book a virtual or in-person tour to find out what it’s like to enjoy living on your own terms in an elegant Amica residence with outstanding dining, amenities, activities, senior care and safety measures.