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My husband never enjoyed eating. I’m not a natural in the kitchen, but I can follow recipes and make very decent meals. Recently, though, I face an emotional crisis when I try to plan and execute dinner because too often what I make is refused. Even stuffed peppers, which was a favorite, is now refused. Why? Claims he just doesn’t want it, or says it’s too heavy to eat after just waking up (which is always because he now sleeps all the time). He used to prefer spicy, Indian dishes (as opposed to my go-to Italian favorites). But now if I make or buy them, they sit untouched and I have to toss it out after a few days in the refrigerator. He doesn’t like sweet or thick smoothies, which I tried for a while. He never liked ice cream, either. (Crazy, I know!)


I don’t know what to make, and now neither of us are eating enough. Breakfast is ok, but dinner is a daily struggle.


Background: poor teeth, kidney disease, diabetes, extreme fatigue, vascular dementia. He used to have a reduced sugar and sodium diet, but not anymore because the doctors are just happy if he eats. Oh, and those nutritional drinks like Ensure are not a hit with him.

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There are periods of time when my husband is more picky, less cooperative with any menu plan, and it is more frustrating.

Get so tired of asking, accommodating only him. It is an ever changing situation.

At times I cook for him separately.

At other times I put h i s plate, covered, on the table, as I am eating alone mostly anyway. He has social anxiety and has a ritual before he can come to the table.
Announcing dinner has him running the other way.

He will always eat a salad.
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Reply to Sendhelp
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I too struggle with this! It got to the point where I told my husband that he is on his own for dinner. I eat plant based and he doesn’t. You can’t make him eat the food you make but you don’t have to be stressed because of his... make him make his own meals.
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Reply to Healthnut22
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Dear Julia, I’d be concerned about your own food first. You have to stay strong to look after him. Perhaps it would be good to forget about eating the same dinner together, and feed the two of you differently. Cook up a big meal that you enjoy, and freeze one-meal portions for yourself. Find something that your husband will eat (you didn’t say that you had actually asked him!), and prepare that in one-meal or snack portions as well. You might need to buy a little freezer if you only have a fridge – and the stand-up half-height freezers are less efficient but much easier to find things in. Microwaves will prepare each meal quickly. You can eat at the same time, just different things.

Preparing and then throwing out food is depressing, and so is feeding yourself on invalid food. You need to look after both of you. Very best wishes, Margaret
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Reply to MargaretMcKen
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Too bad about the icecream thing. I used to use Slimfast and I had to have it really cold. I also would put it in the freezer till it got like a milkshake and eat it that way.

If breakfast is what he eats give him breakfast for dinner. With Dementia the brain no longer tells them they are thirsty or hungry.
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Reply to JoAnn29
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We were advised to stop offering meals which might feel overwhelming to someone with no appetite and just have finger foods/appetizer type food always available. We offered soups in a teacup, small, crustless sandwiches (cream cheese and jelly was eaten) and puddings.
I offer that advice to you even though it didn't really work for us. Our loved one is just not interested in eating. The nurses suggest that this may just be the natural progression of the disease. Try not to worry. You can only make food available. As long as you are doing that, you're doing everything you can do for him.
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Reply to Marcia7321
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Maybe he has lost his sense of smell, so all food is bland to him.
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Reply to shad250
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Breakfast for dinner!
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Reply to Isthisrealyreal
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Peanut butter, no jelly.
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JuliaRose Nov 2, 2018
Your answer triggered a memory. He always used to eat the jellies in restaurants as we waited for our food! He‘s not fond of peanut butter, but maybe I’ll see if I can interest him in restaurant-style jellies. Not too many, of course I know they’re high in sugar, but might be a nice treat.
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There are lots of threads about getting people to eat, some ideas include:

smaller portions offered more often - a big plate can seem overwhelming so serve little portions on small plates and keep snacks available

think high value high calorie with everything you make - lots of butter and cream in mashed potatoes and custards, look for greek style high protein yogurts made with full fat milk and cream, cheeses, nut butters

With poor teeth he may do better with a soft diet, think of normal foods that are naturally easy to eat - well cooked pasta, risotto and rice puddings, sweet and savoury custards, mashed potatoes, soups and stews (almost any soup can be made thick and creamy with an immersion blender), polenta, refried beans, oatmeal or scrambled eggs for breakfast.....

Don't forget beverages - smoothies, juices, pop, beer
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JuliaRose Nov 2, 2018
Thank you!
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