A common challenge Alzheimer’s caregivers face is getting their loved one to eat. Alzheimer’s can lead to an unhealthy amount of weight loss. There are steps you can take to make mealtimes go a little smoother. Creating a calm, distraction-free environment is one. So is setting the table with dinnerware and placemats in contrasting colors to make food easier to distinguish on the plate.
Another technique that may encourage a senior to eat more is serving healthy finger foods. They don’t require silverware that older adults may have difficulty manipulating. Finger foods are also easier to independently consume, even while wandering around the house.
We’ve assembled a variety of recipes to help you get started.
Guide to Healthy Finger Foods for Seniors with Alzheimer’s
Keeping meals healthy but simple and limiting the number of foods on the plate is better for seniors with Alzheimer’s. These choices for breakfast, lunch, and dinner fit that description.
- Whole grain toast with peanut butter
- French toast sticks
- Yogurt or cereal bar
- Hard-boiled egg
- Sausage links or patties
- English muffin topped with an egg, cheese, or ham slice
While technically not a finger food, fruit smoothies are another good choice. You can make them with yogurt, pureed fruit, and a scoop of protein powder for an extra boost.
Options for Lunch or Dinner:
- Chicken tenders: This is easy to prepare as grocery stores offer a variety of ready-made options. Most only need to be heated up before serving. Opt for grilled or baked tenders instead of fried. You can serve them with a dip, like ranch or honey mustard, for extra flavor.
- Cup of soup: Another idea is to serve your senior loved one soup in a covered mug. They can sip it at their leisure from wherever they wander during mealtime. You can buy pre-made bone broth if you don’t have time to make your own. Bone broth is packed with nutrients and vitamins. “20 Delicious (and Wholesome) Bone Broth Soup Recipes” has some great options.
- Small sandwiches: Another idea is to make a sandwich and cut it into smaller pieces. Turkey with bacon and cheese, chicken salad with fresh pineapple bits, grilled cheese, and tuna salad all have protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. Add fiber by serving it on multigrain bread with lettuce.
- Antipasto: Make your own antipasto salad with cheese, meats, tomatoes, red pepper, garbanzo beans, and more. Add anything the senior likes and can pick up to eat on their own. Drizzle it with lemon vinaigrette for a bump in taste.
- Sliced fruit and vegetables: Keep a plate of fresh fruits and vegetables out for your loved one to eat at mealtime or as a snack. Be cautious of foods known for presenting a choking hazard, such as carrots or grapes. Serving foods in a rainbow of colors is not only good for their health, but also more visually appealing. That could entice them to eat more.
We hope this information gives you some meal ideas for your senior loved one. If you are looking for more ways to encourage your loved one to participate at mealtime, “What to Do When a Senior with Alzheimer’s Won’t Eat” might be of interest.
Specialized Dementia Care at Heritage Senior Communities
If you’ve been contemplating dementia care for your loved one and you live in Michigan or Indiana, we hope you will consider a Heritage community. Our specialized memory care program is designed to meet the unique needs of each resident. Call us today to learn more!