Although many of us are trying not to gain weight or to lose it, there are some people whose goal is to gain or keep their weight from decreasing. As people age, appetites may diminish due to inactivity, illness, disabilities or medications. Difficulty chewing or swallowing may limit the foods that can be easily or comfortably eaten.
Losing an excessive amount of weight can leave someone at risk of lowered immunity to infection, osteoporosis, or less reserve to carry through an illness. An inadequate amount of protein can lead to muscle and skin breakdown, perhaps even bedsores.
If you or a loved one are in this situation, follow these guidelines:
1. Try scheduling 3 small meals and 3 snacks.
2. Provide a variety of nutritious foods from all the food groups; some sweets are fine, but don’t use a lot of “junk” foods to boost calories. People need the vitamins and minerals to stay healthy, not just empty calories.
3. Combine meals with enjoyable activities—socializing with family or friends, watching TV, sitting outside in the summertime.
4. If it doesn’t conflict with lifestyle, and if approved by a doctor, a small glass of wine before dinner can stimulate the appetite.
5. Regular exercise to keep muscles toned while increasing weight is important. Walking, using small hand weights, and moving to music are fun. For those with limited mobility, exercise can even be done lying down or sitting in a chair!
Some specific ideas for increasing calories and protein include:
• Drink beverages with calories such as juice, milk, shakes, hot chocolate or supplements more often. Drink noncaloric beverages such as coffee or tea less often and empty calorie beverages like soft drinks only occasionally. Carbonated beverages can fill one up without providing any nutrients.
• Add extra calories by mixing in powdered skim milk, cheese, or oil.
• Nuts and nut butters (peanut, cashew, almond) have a lot of calories and the oils are the healthy kind.
• Use dips and salad dressings with greens and raw vegetables.
• Add dried fruit to hot cereals and fresh fruits to cold cereals, as well as having fresh, canned or dried fruit with snacks or meals.
Spread bread or crackers with peanut butter, soft margarine, jelly, or apple butter.
• Prepare cream soups and puddings with low-fat milk; add extra powdered milk or evaporated skim milk. Whole milk has saturated fat, which can raise the cholesterol.
• For dessert, try fruit on angel food cake, sherbet, or low-fat ice cream.
• Bread foods and cook in olive or canola oil.
• Add ground beef or turkey to casseroles, pasta, and soups.
• Try yogurt with fruit and granola, cottage cheese with fruit.
• Tuna, chicken or egg salad with mayonnaise has more calories, and potato or pasta salad with mayo or salad dressing.
• Add chopped eggs to salads, casseroles or cooked spinach.
Vibrant Life Therapies, LLC, located in Trexlertown, PA, offers massage therapy, exercise therapy, and nutritional counseling. Donna Ondek, owner, is a licensed Massage Therapist and certified Personal Trainer and Fitness Counselor. Donna specializes in and Rehabilitative and Medical Massage, Lymphatic Drainage, Mastectomy and Oncology Massage. To learn more, contact Donna via phone or text at (610)703-1596, email email@example.com, or visit www.VibrantLifeTherapies.com.
By combining your desire for and commitment to improved health and my knowledge of the body and passion for health, we can begin to help you experience a more Vibrant Life today! Call (610) 703-1596 today to schedule an appointment.