She's catching onto my tricks. She won't drink any of the flavored beverages like she used to. She'll usually drink the nutritional drinks (Ensure, Boost), but not always. I don't know if there should be a daily limit on how many of those she should drink. Other beverages that she would probably drink are full of sugar or acid (like soda) and I'm not sure she should have those. I don't want to make milkshakes because she seems to have issues with too much dairy. Oddly, the one time I gave her a diet cola, she complained it was "too burny" even though I watered it down just like they do at her favorite fast food place. Popsicles are out this time of year as she says it's too cold for those.

I could probably fatten her up a bit if I just fed her pure junk food (chips, chocolate, candy, cookies, etc.), but that's just asking for all sorts of other problems like constipation. The meals I cook are low-fat and healthy because I need to eat that way. I'm not sure what to give her that isn't full of sodium or sugar. Mac & cheese? She has trouble with pizza and Hot Pockets. Sometimes she eats more than I do and I'm the one that gains the weight. Ugh!

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Fruit can be a relatively easy way to add fluids and avoid constipation. My Mom loves apples, tangerines, nectarines, strawberries, watermelon and cantaloupes. Although I keep a supply of fresh fruit on hand I often buy unsweetened frozen fruit or the markdown for quick sale fruits and immediate freeze to always have some on hand and reduce the cost. My father's favorite "smoothie" is made with frozen strawberries, sugar free angel cake, and a touch of low carb vanilla ice cream. I keep a small fruit bowl of apples, tangerines and nectarines for my mother's daily snacks. I serve cantaloupe slices as a side with a cold fruited chicken salad and offer watermelon as desert or a snack. When serving cold meals in wintertime, I also serve hot coffee or tea with the meal.

Homemade soups can also add fluids. I have a basic low salt potato soup that is good plain or can be dressed up with some cheese and broccoli. Vegetable beef is a favorite with my mother and adds lots of fiber and veggies to the diet. Chicken noodle is an old stand by. Although we occasionally eat some canned soups (like tomato) most have too much salt to indulge very often.
Helpful Answer (1)
Reply to TNtechie

When I was caring for my mom at home, this was a big challenge too. I called a senior health clinic and was able to get a dietitian to visit mom's home for 30 min and look at what we were preparing and serving. One recommendation she had which ended up helping was making fruit smoothies with evaporated milk or an alternate like almond milk. I also used a little yogurt to make it creamier (and sweeter) and my mom really liked those. I also found that if I kept a pitcher of water where my mom could see it during the day, she was willing to drink it more when I offered it.
When mom ended up in rehab after a fall, I talked about my concerns with their dietitian and the speech therapist. The therapist sat with her at meals for several days and discovered that eating and drinking was more of a texture issue than a flavor issue with my mom. It also seems that "sweet" is the particular taste bud she favored. Mom transitioned about a month ago to long term care there, and she actually eats and drinks a wide variety now and her nutritional status is much improved. They serve her a small 3 oz. nutritional shake-type drink as soon as she sits down at the table before breakfast and lunch, and a high protein dessert (Magic Cup) after lunch and dinner, along with a completely pureed diet. She also gets a small glass of water and a small glass of a diluted cranberry juice at every meal. She drinks and eats it all. The variety and a regular schedule for meals seems to have helped her quite a bit. Also I asked the aides and med tech when they come to her room to please pour her a glass of water. I keep a pitcher (with a water filter) in her room on her little fridge.
Maybe your mom's physician could recommend a dietitian consult?
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Reply to DDoherty

At Moms NH they monitor fluid intake daily and I’ve learned that anything that will melt at room temperature is considered a fluid. So ice cream and jello count. Her taste buds seem to change daily, so she gets ensure, apple juice, cranberry juice, decaf tea and water with every meal. Some days she like the juices (yummy) some days not (too sour!) so it helps to be flexible and offer choices.

Instead of the crappy little cookies they offer for a snack, I purchase Atkins cookies & cream bars and chocolate & coconut bars. She loves them and they’ve got protein and fiber. She also likes the Belvitas chocolate filled biscuit cookies (also healthy) and has them with a cup of tea as a snack. So they may be ideas to help you get some extra good calories into her. I wouldn’t rely too much on processed foods due to the bad ingredients. They don’t serve many processed foods at the NH, more balanced meals, protein, veggie, starch, fruit, dessert etc.
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Reply to rocketjcat

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