Are you concerned that your loved one isn’t getting adequate nutrition? Here are a few questions to ask that may help you identify the problem.

  • Are there issues with dental health? (teeth, ill-fitting dentures, mouth soreness)
  • Is there unintentional weight loss over the course of a few months?
  • Has there been a serious illness in the past 3 months?
  • Are there changes in their memory?
  • Are there physical challenges that prevent them from getting groceries, cooking, or eating? (look for fatigue, arthritis, poor use of hands, poor eyesight, trouble standing)
  • Are there financial difficulties that affect their food budget?
Adequate Nutrition

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, your loved one may be at risk for inadequate nutritional intake. You now have a better idea of what the root problem may be so consider the following:

  1. Discuss your concerns with your physician and/or dietitian.
  2. Some medications can decrease appetite. Ask your physician or pharmacist to review your loved one’s medication routine.
  3. Consider community services. Many communities have Meals on Wheels, faith-based feeding programs, or senior meal sites that can help provide meal service.
  4. Get social! Socialization can improve your loved one’s mood and promote better eating. Invite your loved one to eat together, encourage them to eat with a neighbor or meet up with friends, or help them join a senior center meal site.
  5. To help with access to food, consider online ordering, grocery store delivery services, or plan a weekly outing to assist with grocery shopping.
  6. Make eating easier through these four ways:
  • To get high-quality protein, try hard boiled eggs, yogurt, canned tuna, cheese, peanut butter or canned beans.
  • To get whole grains, try microwaveable brown rice, cereal like oatmeal, whole grain pastas or stuffed fresh pasta, whole grain bread or crackers.
  • To get fruit, try water or juice packed canned fruits, keep easy to eat fresh fruits on hand like grapes, berries, bananas; frozen fruits to make smoothies.
  • To get veggies, use frozen vegetables – many options for single serving microwaveable, use canned low-sodium vegetables.

7. Seek professional help from a dietitian. To find one in your area visit

One way to help increase caloric intake throughout the day is by starting at breakfast, Need a quick, healthy breakfast on the go or snack? Try this muffin mix and add in your favorite ingredients, such as: nuts, fruits (fresh berries, dates, or raisins), wheat bran, wheat germ, or shredded zucchini.

  • 2 c flour (can use whole wheat)
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¾ c granulated sugar
  • 1 egg (can sub liquid egg white ¼ c)
  • 1 cup skim or 2% milk
  • ¼ c canola oil
  1. Preheat oven at 400°F.
  2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
  3. In a small bowl whisk egg. Stir in milk and oil
  4. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and mix. Do not beat. Batter may be lumpy.
  5. Add chopped nuts, dried fruits, fresh berries, wheat germ what bran or shredded vegetables of your choice
  6. Pour batter into a paper lined muffin tin. Bake 25 minutes or till golden.

Note:  you can freeze muffin for up to 2-3 months.  Wrap individually in freezer paper or plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.


By Quincie Grounds, RDN, LD, CNSC