4 Irresistible Snack Ideas to Help Seniors Gain WeightNovember 10, 2022
4 Irresistible Snack Ideas to Help Seniors Gain Weight
Maintaining a healthy weight as we age can be a challenge. Sometimes, medications, dental issues, or hormone imbalances suppress appetite, exacerbating the natural decrease in muscle mass experienced by seniors.
Dr. Sylvia Boloczko, who works for VIPCare in Florida, says, “Poor nutrition, certain medical conditions, cancers, acute illnesses, hospitalizations, and medications can play a role in weight loss, difficulty in gaining weight, and being underweight.”
All these factors impact a senior’s ability to keep their Body Mass Index (BMI) in a healthy range. Because low weight compromises independence and increases the risk of illness, helping seniors gain weight is critical for their physical and mental health.
A fantastic way to add essential calories, protein, and vitamins to the diet of an older adult struggling to maintain a healthy weight is to try these snack options!
Four irresistible snacks for underweight seniors
Smoothies are easy to make and beneficial for underweight seniors because you can add healthy, calorie-dense fats like almond butter or flaxseed while maintaining the flavor of their favorite fruit.
Try this tasty recipe, then tweak the ingredients as needed to keep the flavors interesting.
In a blender, combine:
- 1 cup fresh or frozen berries like blueberries or cherries, or half a banana
- 1 cup fresh spinach
- 1–1½ cups soy milk (or other dairy alternative)
- 1–2 tbsp nut butter (peanut, almond, cashew, etc.)
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed or chia seeds
- 1 scoop vegan or whey protein powder
- Ice cubes
Blend until smooth, then add a little water until the desired consistency is reached. Freeze the excess in an ice cube tray and use them when making future smoothies.
A half-cup serving contains around 250–300 calories.
2. Avocado toast
Avocados are high in fiber, potassium, antioxidants, and other nutrients, and a single cup will add 250 calories to a senior’s diet. The calorie count can easily reach 400 calories per serving with toast and some olive oil.
Bite-sized toast points slathered with creamy mashed avocados and some seasonings are a tasty treat that also adds a dose of healthy fats.
Here’s how to make this winning recipe:
- Toast bread, rub with fresh garlic (optional) and cut into points.
- Slice one ripe avocado and mash it in a bowl.
- Mix in 1 tsp finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro.
- Add ¼ tsp “everything” bagel seasoning, or ⅛ teaspoon each of kosher salt and ground black pepper.
- Add 1 tsp lemon juice.
- Spread onto toast and drizzle lightly with olive oil.
You can add finely chopped tomatoes, nuts, spinach, or beans for more nutrition and flavor. Mixing in a dollop of hummus is another delicious option.
3. Yogurt parfait
Yogurt comes in many flavors and contains beneficial probiotics to improve gut health. Greek yogurt is high in protein and a great option for seniors. Follow this simple recipe for a parfait so good, it feels like dessert:
- 1 cup whole-fat or Greek yogurt of any flavor
- ½ cup chopped frozen cherries or blueberries
- ¼ cup crushed cornflake cereal (optional)
- ¼ cup finely chopped nuts (optional)
Mix the yogurt and fruit in a bowl, then sprinkle a mixture of cereal or nuts (or both!) on top. The rich yogurt, sweet fruit, and crunch of the nuts and cereal are sure to satisfy.
4. Potato-skin bites
A plate of warm potato-skin bites is a savory snack that will hit the spot and provide about 75 calories per bite. This recipe keeps the portion size small, so it’s an easy finger food to enjoy while reading, watching TV, or visiting with friends.
- 3 russet potatoes (scrub the skin)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1½ cups shredded cheddar cheese
- 6 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
- 3 finely sliced green onions
- Sour cream
Cut the potatoes into half-inch slices, then coat them with olive oil and toss them in a bowl with the salt, pepper, and garlic powder until evenly coated. Lay them out in a single layer on a pan and bake at 400 °F for 30–40 minutes (flip halfway through) until tender and golden brown.
Top with shredded cheese and bacon, then bake a few more minutes until the cheese melts. Let them cool until warm, then add a teaspoon of sour cream and a sprinkle of green onions. Bon appétit!