Many seniors have a sweet tooth, including those who were not really into sweets when they were younger. There are several reasons for these cravings in the elderly, and among some of these are the following:
- A fluctuating sense of taste which causes them to lose their appetite, unless their food has large amounts of salt or sugar added to it.
- A diminished flavor palate - sweets are easier to detect than blander foods.
- The result of certain health conditions or treatments such as low blood sugar levels, lack of energy, or medication side effects.
- Alzheimer’s and other dementia-relation conditions; those affected by such diseases develop preferences for high-calorie sweets due to a certain physiological change in the brain.
- Inadequate nutrition in the diet; for example, a carbohydrate deficiency may cause the body to crave sweet foods.
Unless an elderly person’s physician has prescribed certain dietary restrictions because of diabetes or other chronic conditions, it’s okay to allow your aging loved ones to enjoy desserts every now and then. But, as too much sugar can negatively impact on their health, it pays to know how to satisfy their cravings for sweets without going overboard with sugar.
1. Experiment with alternative ingredients that provide a similar flavor. Natural sweeteners like stevia add that sweet flavor without adding the calories. You can also use honey as an alternative to sugar in coffee or tea, or baking.
2. Serve fresh fruits. Strawberries, apples, grapes, and pineapple are excellent substitutes for a sweet option, whilst also providing health-boosting nutrients.
3. Opt for healthy sweet snacks. Fruit salads, apricot strudel, granola and yogurt, and pear and banana muffins are among some of the sweet treats they can enjoy when their sugar cravings strike.
4. Sneak healthy ingredients into their sweet treats. Try creamy banana “ice cream,” black bean brownies, or chocolate chip sweet potato cookies. Get creative!
5. Redirect their cravings via habit substitution. Whenever they feel like eating a piece of chocolate, they can go for a walk instead. Their sugar cravings may still be there, but the behavior is changed to something healthier.
6. Make smoothies for picky eaters. Sweet and creamy smoothies are guaranteed to satisfy your loved one’s sweet cravings. A healthy smoothie can include servings of both fruit and vegetables, and it is quick and easy to make, too.
7. Ensure they get regular sleep, as well as physical and mental exercise, especially seniors with Alzheimer’s. Rest, relaxation, and exercise strengthen the part of the brain associated with dietary restraint. Additionally, seniors with Alzheimer’s are more likely to eat healthy foods if the environment is quiet and free from distractions during mealtimes.
With Gourmet Meals, healthy desserts are possible!
Limiting consumption of sweets is part of an overall healthy lifestyle, and some seniors need help when it comes to managing nutrition. You can rely on Gourmet Meals to provide nutritionally balanced and portion-controlled meals, as well as a variety of scrumptious desserts.
Let your loved ones indulge in their favourite desserts guilt-free. Check out our dessert menu now!