- Minimize mealtime distractions. Turn off the TV and radio. If you go out to eat, choose a seat for your loved one that isn’t facing the center of a busy restaurant.
- Eat together. Create a relaxed atmosphere and linger at the table. Avoid clearing plates to encourage a few last bites.
- Heavy meals can lead to nausea and discomfort, especially when combined with medications that list nausea or poor appetite as possible side effects. Aim for six to eight smaller meals a day.
- If appetite loss is due to medication, change things up depending on the side effects. For example, if your loved one complains of the strong smell or taste of food, serve dishes that can be seasoned at the table. Some medications make food taste blander; in that case, you can add a lot of flavor with little additions of herbs, spices or lemon juice.
- Cookbooks and websites are full of ways to sneak vegetables or protein into cookies or snacks. But if you think tricks might backfire, look for healthy versions of favorite dishes. Make small tweaks to boost nutrition or to meet the guidelines of a new diet:
- If you typically cook rice in water and then add butter and salt, simmer it in low-sodium broth.
- Rather than steam vegetables, try roasting them, which caramelizes their natural sugars and gives them a richer flavor.
- Spice blends and meat rubs can boost flavor, but read labels and avoid those that are high in sugar or salt.