Assisted living facilities need effective food menu program strategies to deal with the loss of appetite. The problem is common among older adults, a decreased desire to eat can lead to malnourishment – and dietary deficiencies can create serious health consequences.
Seniors struggle with mealtime for a number of reasons. Dental issues, medical disorders, depression, and changes in the sense of taste have all been linked to loss of appetite, and the issue can also be a side effect of a medication.
Overcoming appetite loss in older adults can be an ongoing challenge for assisted living facilities. We share six food menu program tricks that may help make mealtime more appealing to seniors, reducing their risk of malnourishment.
Experiment with Flavor
Spicing food menus up with stronger seasonings and exotic flavors can help boost appetite in seniors at assisted living facilities. Try serving dishes seasoned with garlic, turmeric, cumin, dill, red pepper or curry. For baked goods, consider adding flavor-boosters like cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, and cloves
Serve Colorful Foods
Richly-colored foods tend to be higher in nutrients, and serving up meals and snacks with colorful produce can help reduce the risk of senior malnourishment. Fruits and veggies with vibrant colors look appealing on the plate, which can help encourage older adults to eat more.
Try Different Textures
For more interesting and visually appealing meals, consider texture when planning assisted living facility food menus. Dishes with combined textures – such as Greek yogurt with granola or flaky biscuits topped with creamed chicken – are often more appetizing to older adults.
Think About Presentation
How food is presented can make a difference in senior appetite. To make mealtime more appealing, use a bit of creativity in arranging the food on the plate. We all eat first with our eyes, so meals that look good are more likely to be eaten.
Keep Track of Senior Favorites
Keep a watch over what works – and what doesn’t work – to stimulate senior appetite at your assisted living facility. By tracking favorite foods, mealtime flops and what times of day older adults are more willing to eat, you’ll be able to serve up meals that stand a better chance of being consumed.
When assisted living facilities take steps to address the loss of appetite in seniors, malnourishment is less of a problem. For more food menu program strategies to make mealtime more appealing, turn to the Grove Menus software system.
The Grove Menus meal planning program — featuring hundreds of adjustable dietitian-approved recipes along with a suite of user-friendly food service tools — is a cost-effective solution for meeting the dietary needs of assisted living residents.
To learn more about the Grove Menus software system, or for a free, no-pressure demonstration of how our food menu program works, contact us today.