How to Gain Weight Healthy for Seniors & Older Adults
5 tips to gradually increase weight including meal ideas
If you are an adult in your “golden years” or if you have a parent experiencing an unintentional weight loss and needs to gain weight, then this article is for you!
As a registered dietitian, one of my areas of practice is senior health and Asian diets. I have successfully helped older clients and patients who enjoy their Asian cuisine, gain weight gradually by making small changes to their eating habits.
Keep reading to learn how to gain weight for seniors and older adults!
Common causes for unintended weight loss
After assessing their medical history, diets, eating habits, and lifestyle, my discovery for the unintended weight loss is summarized as follows:
- Eating inadequate food for their caloric and nutrient needs.
- Small appetite.
- Taking many medications that affect appetite.
- Cooking too “healthy” – steaming or boiling most of their foods without adding any fat or oil.
- Swallowing problems or digestive issues (such as bloating, indigestion, constipation).
- Living and eating alone.
- Having a chronic disease or a medical condition that limit their food preferences or choices.
- Having little energy to grocery shop and cook.
5 tips for older adults to gain weight in a healthy way
Many of my clients found the following practical tips for weight gain very helpful and easy to follow:
- Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. Choose high-calorie and nutrient-dense foods at every meal.
- Snack on high-calorie and high protein foods (cheese, avocado, eggs, or nut butter) between meals.
- Add healthy fats or oils such as drizzling olive oil or sesame oil to steamed or boiled vegetables.
- Eat soft and easier-to-digest foods such as tofu, ground meat that has been cooked to a softer state, as well as snacking on nut butter.
- Get or stay active! Being physically active will increase appetite and improve your mood!
Breakfast & lunch ideas for gaining weight
My clients enjoyed the following breakfast and lunch ideas that I suggested. I have included the easy and simple nutritional high-calorie drink recipe at the end of the article!
Healthy breakfast ideas for weight gain
- One half or one whole avocado
- 1 cup of hot old-fashioned oatmeal with ground walnuts or almonds and goji berries, with 2% or homogenized milk
- 1 cup creamy black sesame drink*
Healthy lunch ideas for weight gain
- Buckwheat noodles or Rice vermicelli drizzled with 1-2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
- Pan-seared salmon with teriyaki sauce
- Stir fry vegetables with a liberal amount of vegetable oil
Creamy black sesame drink*
- 1 cup of soy milk or milk
- 1 tbsp of black sesame powder
- ½ tsp of honey or maple syrup (optional)
In a blender, combine all the ingredients. Blend till smooth. Serve hot or cold.
Looking for more ideas on how to gain weight for seniors in a healthy way?
Contact us for additional private one-on-one Online Nutritionist support for healthy weight gain. Our Dietitian team can help you with personalized strategies about how to gain healthy weight for a range of reasons related to meal planning challenges, eating disorders, mental health concerns, ADHD, digestive health issues, sports/training demands and more:
You might also want to check out some of these previous blog posts below.
To learn more, please visit Health Canada’s Food Guide for Seniors.
Thank you for these great ideas to try for a senior who is losing weight or appetite, or just refuses to eat.