Sometimes as we get older, we may lose weight without trying. This could be due to illness, certain medications, or simply age. Appetites could lessen over time, or if your senses have dulled, eating may be simply unexciting.
If your doctor has mentioned that you need to gain weight, don’t worry. There are plenty of safe and healthy ways to put on the pounds you need to in order to ensure you stay at your target weight.
Top 10 Ways for Seniors to Gain Weight
1. Focus on High-Fat Foods
The point when you’re trying to gain weight is to still eat healthy foods, but ensure that they’re higher in fat than what you may be eating. One of the best foods to add to your diet is avocado.
Avocados are packed with heart-healthy fats, and they’re delicious. There are many ways you can eat avocado. You can make some quick guacamole to use in Mexican dishes or eat with chips.
You can eat avocado on toast, add diced avocados to a salad, or toss some avocado into a smoothie for a quick and easy way to add it to your diet.
Avocados are easy to spread, making them a fast addition to a sandwich that adds a bit of calories and nutrition. Use avocado to dress up your sandwich instead of mustard. It will add some flavor as well as calories to your lunch or dinner.
2. Switch to Full-Fat Dairy
An easy way to add some calories to your diet is to switch to full-fat dairy products. Instead of drinking reduced-fat or nonfat milk, opt for full-fat milk.
If you don’t eat cheese already, go ahead and add some cheese to your diet. Since most seniors have calcium deficiencies, cheese is a great way to get extra calcium.
Other options for dairy products include yogurt, ice cream, and Greek yogurt. You could easily grab a yogurt for breakfast in the morning or for an afternoon snack.
Another option is to have a daily smoothie. Combine milk or yogurt with fresh or frozen fruit for a delicious smoothie that is a great way to get nutrients into your diet as well as some additional calories.
Milk in cereal is another option, or you can use milk in your oatmeal instead of water. If you drink coffee, opt for cream in your coffee instead of a low-fat option. Small changes can make a difference.
3. Add Starches to Your Diet
Potatoes really pack a punch when it comes to calories. They’re just one option for adding starches to your diet to add calories in a healthy way.
When it comes to preparing potatoes, the sky is the limit. A simple baked potato with full-fat butter, cheese, and sour cream is delicious and provides some of the calories you need.
Mashed potatoes are another option. You can prepare them with milk and a bit of butter for taste and a few extra calories. Potatoes are affordable, too.
Other starch choices include pasta. Pasta dishes you could make include spaghetti, fettucini alfredo, or penne with vodka sauce. Pasta allows you to get creative and experiment with a number of flavors and dishes.
If you don’t feel like cooking a meal, purchase some frozen ravioli and sauce, or premade fettucine. Add some parmesan for flavor and a few extra calories.
4. Don’t Forget the Bread
Bread gives you an opportunities for many different meals, and eating bread is not only a good way to gain some weight, it’s also a way for you to incoporate grains into your diet.
Whether you enjoy a bagel, toast, or English muffin for breakfast, you can add bread to your first meal of the day. Spread a bagel with peanut butter or add butter to some toast.
Sandwiches are easy lunch options, and there are many ways to add bread with dinner. Serve up dinner rolls alongside your meal, and if you’re having Italian, don’t skip the garlic bread (add cheese for extra fun and calories!)
Whole wheat bread is good for you and provides plenty of nutrients. You can add bread to any meal of your day, it’s cheap, and it’s versatile. This makes it perfect for a senior’s diet.
5. Eat Smaller Meals
Instead of eating three big meals a day, sometimes it’s easier for seniors to eat five or six small meals throughout the day.
This is great for smaller appetites, and ensures you’re getting the nutrients and calories you need. It may be easier to take in smaller meals than sit down to a big meal if you don’t have a large appetite.
Also, if you eat smaller meals when you do sit down to eat, there is more room for snacks throughout your day. You can add a mid-morning snack to your day, before lunch, then have a snack after lunch before dinner.
Make sure snacks offer extra calories. This way, you’re effectively sneaking in some additional calories throughout your day, giving you more of a chance to gain the weight that you need.
6. Always Eat Dessert
You may have had to watch your weight in the past or put off dessert, but as long as you don’t have health issues that restrict the amount of sugar in your diet, some dessert won’t hurt you.
Sneak in a cookie with your afternoon snack, and don’t skip the pie or cake after dinner. It’s okay to say yes to sweets, and if you need the calories, then sweets are a great way to get them in.
There’s no good reason to overeat snacks or sweets, but as long as you eat them in moderation, there’s nothing wrong with indulging in these types of foods.
If you’re unsure about the amount of sugar or sweets you should have, talk to your doctor about some healthy ways to add some sweets to your diet to get more calories.
Even things like milkshakes give you the opportunity to have a bit of fat as well as milk.
7. Drink Your Calories
If you’re having a hard time keeping up with smaller meals or extra ways to gain weight, why not try and drink some of your calories? This is easy and may be better than eating for some seniors.
Some suggestions are to have a smoothie every day. To boost the calories in your smoothie, add a spoonful of nut butter. You can also use protein powder, wheat germ, or chia seeds.
Blend in some regular-fat milk as well. Other drinks to try include milkshakes of different flavors and types. Chop up bananas and make a chocolate banana milkshake, or add fresh strawberries to a milkshake with vanilla ice cream or milk and ice.
When it comes to other beverages, while it’s good to continue drinking the right amount of water during the day, you’re also free to add some juice to your diet as well as a glass or two of milk.
8. Dress Your Foods
When it comes to condiments and dressings, don’t skimp. Olive oil is a good way to get some extra fat, and it tastes great.
Whether you drizzle it on pasta or a salad, it always adds the right amount of flavor. Go ahead and enjoy dressing on your salads, too.
When it comes to sandwiches, a bit of mayonnaise adds calories and flavor. Things like peanut butter on celery or raw vegetables dipped in ranch are delicious snacks that pack a bit of a small punch when it comes to calories and nutrition.
You can also add avocado to sandwiches or salads along with dressing and other condiments. Combining several foods that offer healthy fats is a good way to get the calories you need for the day in one meal.
There are many options when it comes to adding sauces, dressings, dips, and other things like that to your diet. You can even dip garlic bread in olive oil.
9. Add Seeds and Nuts
A simple way to add some fat to your diet that’s also healthy is to add things like nuts, seeds, olives, and raisins to your dishes.
Next time you bake cookies or brownies, add nuts to them, or raisins. Sprinkle sunflower seeds or olives onto your salads or sandwiches.
You can add nuts to many types of dishes, and of course, you can simply snack on nuts throughout the day. Nuts go great on top of ice cream, too.
Any way you can be sneaky about adding these extras to your diet ensures you’re getting some healthy types of fat.
These foods are also cost-friendly. If you don’t like the taste of nuts, necessarily, you can blend them up in drinks.
10. Call a Nutritionist
If you’re really struggling with how to add calories to your diet in the safest and healthiest way, a nutritionist does it for a living.
Contact a nutritionist or ask your doctor to sit down with you and go through a meal plan that you can access when it comes to choosing the right food or drinks for your weight gaining goals.
Maybe some recipe ideas or snack solutions could help you put together an easy diet to follow. If you have someone that prepares your meals or picks them up for you, include that person in your diet planning as well.
Nutritionists can give you references to read in order to figure out which foods will work for you and which ones to avoid. You may need the guidance if you don’t know a lot about which foods you should be adding to your diet.
A professional could also give you some ways to “sneak” calories in if you don’t have a big appetite or simply don’t like some of the recommended foods that could help you gain weight.