You may begin to lose weight as you get older, either as a result of illness or a loss of appetite. It’s critical to maintain a healthy body weight, and there are steps you can take to do so.
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If you’re underweight or have lost weight suddenly or for no apparent reason, consult your doctor to be sure there isn’t a medical reason for it.
Even if your health is in good shape, it’s normal for older people to lose their appetite. You could be underweight simply because you aren’t eating enough and your diet isn’t providing you with enough energy and calories.
For older adults, being underweight can be very dangerous. It raises your chances of getting sick, including a bone fracture if you fall. It lowers your immune system, making you more prone to infections, and it raises your risk of nutritional deficiencies such vitamins and minerals.
You may, however, take steps to optimise your nutrition and ensure that you obtain the energy and minerals you require.
How to eat if you’ve lost your appetite
It is natural for our appetites to decrease as we age, and we may not feel like eating.
It’s still crucial to receive all the energy and minerals your body requires if you’re underweight and your appetite has diminished.
There are three options:
Reduce the number of large meals you eat each day by switching to smaller meals and frequent snacks.
Eat items like milky puddings and cheesy main courses to increase your calorie consumption.
Foods heavy in saturated fat or sugar, such as sugary soft drinks, cakes, and biscuits, should be avoided.
Tips to boost your calorie intake
Consider the following healthy yet high-energy dinner and snack suggestions:
Sardines on toast cooked with whole (full-fat) milk with fruit or dried fruit on top
soups with lentils, pasta, or meats with peanut butter on toast
As a bedtime snack, cottage/pie shepherd’s beans on toast with cheese sprinkled on top milky liquids
nuts without salt
To help you gain weight, include extra calories from healthier foods in your diet:
Serve savoury meals with grated cheese.
soups with cheese or milk
To make a high-energy and healthful snack, spread avocado on toast.
pour in the white sauce (made with butter, flour and milk) on veggies or fish
1 cup of warm full-fat milk in place of 1 cup of tea or coffee each day
mash potatoes with milk or butter
Eat with friends and family
If you’re having trouble getting excited about food or losing motivation to eat, try to eat as much as possible with friends or family. Lunch clubs are also a fantastic method to socialise mealtimes.
If you’re having trouble preparing meals, try the following suggestions:
Reduce the amount of salt in your ready-to-eat meals. It can be difficult to find a nutritionally balanced quick meal. Read about food labels to learn how to choose a nutritious meal.
Keep a supply of canned and dried fruit on hand. It’s a healthy alternative to fresh fruit that requires no preparation and counts toward your daily 5-a-day goal. If you have dental issues, canned fruit is also a good option.
Keep a supply of frozen and canned vegetables on hand. They’re simple to make and can help you meet your 5-a-day goal.
Individually packaged puddings and snacks, such as yoghurt and rice puddings, are available.
A high-calorie drink can be used to replace or augment a meal.
Improve your appetite with exercise
Physical activity is very vital for senior citizens. It can assist you in being healthy, mobile, and self-sufficient.
Even if you’re underweight, staying active helps maintain your heart healthy and lowers your risk of heart disease and stroke. The more active you are, the more hungry you may feel.
See: How Much Physical Exercise Is Suggested and What Counts As Activity for further information on how much physical activity is recommended and what counts as activity.
If you’re under the age of 65, you should follow these standards for physical activity.
If you’re 65 or older, you should follow these physical activity standards.
If you’re underweight, have mobility issues, or have a disability, the quantity of physical exercise you should undertake may differ from other people your age. Your doctor or practise nurse can help you with this.