One thing that happens as we grow up and get older is that our tastes change. What we are passionate about, the music we love; the food that we eat.
As a teenager I remember thinking that I could never love anything more than listening to Take That (the first time around). These days, although I listen to the odd song for nostalgia, you are more likely to find me listening to Green Day, Beyonce, electronic dance; anything basically other than atypical boy band music.
Growing up and into my late twenties I never liked tea or coffee. But one day, after trying a friend's hazelnut latte, I was suddenly hooked. Fresh coffee in my store cupboard and a regular hazelnut latte with a double shot espresso is regularly seen in my hands.
One thing that I have noticed is that when people get past retirement age and well into their twilight years, their appetites decrease. The plates get smaller, the variety of food they eat lessens. This can mean that their nutrition can suffer as a result.
This can be especially problematic with people that suffer from mental health issues like dementia. From forgetting to eat, not knowing what they want to eat; to not wanting to eat altogether.
This is something that I experienced with a elderly relative of mine. Seeing someone who used to eat us out of house and home transform into someone who did not want to eat is heartbreaking. So what do we do? How can you get nutritious food into someone who does not want to eat?
The wonderful thing about the internet is that there is a now a wealth of information out there to help you. Age UK are a fantastic resource and have loads of helpful information about everything from falls prevention to helping to spot when a elderly relative is having issues like dementia or Alzheimers and what you can do.
There are also things like nutrition guides that provide tips for getting healthy, vitamin rich food into people who are not that bothered about eating any more. Things like doing away with three meals a day, which can be overfacing and changing to small meals, dotted throughout the day,
If your relative is in a care home, one thing to try is perhaps getting a mini fridge for their room. Keep yoghurts in there, carrot sticks and sliced fruit. If you are bringing in food from home, try to liven up what they are eating. Bring small selections of different things to awaken their taste buds like potato wedges with curry sauce or something with a chilli kick. Moist foods like soups and stews are also brilliant for those who are having problems chewing.
If you are having problems getting your relative to have protein, what about something like a Peanut Butter Split Smoothie, here is a great recipe which gives a brilliant 13.5 grams of protein in one drink. Tip, freeze the banana first.
Check out all the food recipe websites and food blogs that are out there now and you really will find something to inspire you to cook, and your relative to eat.