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I know that she doesn't remember eating and thinks she's hungry because within 15 minutes of a meal she will say she is starving and hasn't eaten all day. I've had to take all the readily edibles out of the pantry and lock the refrigerator, else food migrates to her bedroom closet, is hidden and spoils - and she's still on the prowl for more food. Her Dr. says that many who suffer Dementia crave more intense tastes and that is true of her. She will use a sweet tea mix meant to make 1/2 gallon in 1/2 glass of water (if I don't catch it first). She loves peanut butter and a hugely sugared drink called Bolthouse which I provide to her in moderation - as in, some each day, but not free use. If I left out the peanut butter jar, it would be gone in two hours. If she has access to a case of canned drinks, she will drink all 24 in one day. So there is NO self moderation. Her Doctor says let her have what she wants (craves) and I agree, but I just can't imagine that a jar of peanut butter and 24 Cokes is good for her. She gets 3 square meals a day which she enjoys. Weight is not a problem at this point (her metabolism must be very high). I just need something tasty that I can give her a LOT of when ever she says she's hungry. Any ideas?

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how about baked potatos, loaded baked potatos? that may hit the spot? just an idea
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What I did for my Husband, H would go through a box or more, if they were around of "Nutty Buddy Bars" so I started keeping bowl of fresh fruit on the counter and on the table.
Apples, pears, oranges he would eat several a day.
The sweets he liked I kept locked and I would put one out in them morning and one out in the evening for him to "find" if he found it great, if not he wold find it the next day.
I was lucky that he really did not go through the cupboards or the refrigerator looking for stuff.
He loved Crystal Light (after I got him off the soda) or one of the other flavored drinks and I kept that on the counter all the time. He did not like his drinks real cold (dental problems but that is another post) so when he was mobile he would get his drinks and snacks when he wanted them. I am not a fan of the artificial sweeteners so I drastically cut the products with the artificial sweeteners with water to the point that he was drinking almost all water.
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...Though this may not be very helpful, it could be something to help.
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You might want to check her for diabetes. You should get her celery and peanut butter if she is clear of diabetes, as well. Celery and peanut butter go together very well. For a drink if you really care for her a lot, you should get a smoothie machine for her this way she will have something tasty to drink and eat, but not very sugary at the same time. Also if she is forgetting how much she ingests, put a note/post-it next to the container of peanut butter and the thing of celery saying 'These were full,' reminding her how much she ingested.
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Has she been checked for diabetes? Excessive thirst is one of the symptoms of it. My former mil had both excessive taste and craved peanut butter with her diabetes.

I can understand your concern. Perhaps next time you take her to the doctor, take along a days worth of snacks, so the doctor can physically see how much she is consuming in snacks. Or pile it up on the table and take a photo to show him. That may open his eyes to the scale of the issue.

In the meantime, I guess you purchase sugar and salt free peanut butter, cheap bread and dole out how many slices a day, (my former mil used to eat peanut butter off a spoon).

Is she still capable of seeing an empty pop can and would that help to show her that she has just had a drink? Could you refill a can with water?
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I am wondering why cost is a big issue. Does your friend not pay for her food? There are very few people with no income and no assets. If she is living with you, she is not paying for institutional care, so she should be able to pay at least for her food. Then you can buy whatever is easiest. If she doesn’t like the cost, it might be a prompt for her to change. Think about how to untie your finances, at least for day-to-day expenses.
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Grandma1954 Oct 14, 2018
Where did you see cost is a factor in the post?
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When I hear the phrase, “ just let them eat whatever they want” I shake my head and sigh. You have to control what goes “in” the body if you are the one who does the clean up on what comes “out”.
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Whyarewe Sep 26, 2018
Thanks for the elucidation. I would not have thought of that. Some other comments here help me see the larger picture.

The diabetes angle seems a good one to me, though I might wonder why the doctor has not, apparently, thought of it and yet advises free range eating. Maybe it's a case of wearing blinders b/c of "she" being, in no particular order: older, demented, female, w/o adequate insurance, POC?, possibly diabetic.

Has she been checked for internal parasites?

I do recognize the financial load on you.
Affordable food is often harmful to the body.

She is lucky to have you for a friend.
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I'm wondering why you worry that what she eats be "good for her."
When someone has dementia, I seriously wonder if trying to lengthen life is necessarily a good thing. The doctor says to let her have what she wants. I think maybe you should listen to what he's telling you.
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Sassy75 Sep 22, 2018
I agree with that general philosophy and try to let her have what and as much as she wants. However, when she has "free access" to food/drink, she has lost the ability to self-limit. Sugar (her favorite) feeds anxiety which results in less sleep, difficult or aggressive behavior, so what I try to moderate most is sugar. Kind of like giving a 2-year old cookies and ice cream at midnight - just plain dumb if you're thinking that baby will fill satiated and drift off to sleep any time soon. And, there is cost factor - she will drink a case of pop-top cans on anything she has access to within a day; ditto for salty snacks - a $4 cereal or chips doesn't last an hour, a loaf of bread and a jar of peanut butter, maybe a day. And it's not just what she eats, but what she squirrels away takes that is found later green with mold. I eat a lot of popcorn - cheap, salty, and easy to fix; but she has bad teeth (all that sugar) and mainly wants breads, soft cookies, nut butters, and sweet drinks. She goes through about 2 gals of green tea sweetened with stevia a day - and that's not cheap either. Amazingly (excepting the teeth problem, and, of course, Dementia), she's physically healthy and
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It’s tricky, because many of the suggestions will take a lot of time to prepare and are perishable if not used quickly. Does she only want very sweet things, or would sour things be strong tasting and also acceptable? The easiest would be popcorn to eat and water to drink, flavoured with stevia for sweetness or apple cider vinegar for sour. Perhaps even both, to pack a real punch! Anything more interesting will have to be locked up. It probably depends on whether her problem is just about the act of eating and drinking something strong, or whether she is really keen on a wide range of food.
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Make the case of drinks Diet Rite (no sodium or sugar, sweeten with splenda, several flavors available), chocolate milk might be a good choice too.

celery sticks or carrots with a good dip, popcorn (watch the salt content), watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, honey nut cheerios (eaten dry), animal crackers, popsicles, pudding and fruit cups (like for kids' lunches), peanut butter to-go cups, cheddar cheese cubes, butter round crackers

Since you have secured the main refrigerator, consider getting a small refrigerator for her room where you can place dips or anything else you prepare for her snacking.
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I might consult with a nutritionist, who could come up with some healthy snacks that meet her needs. I'm no expert, but, I encourage my senior family members to eat sliced cucumbers. You can add a little vinegar and it spices them up. If sodium is no issue, pickles are low in calories. I also like sliced fresh fruit like pineapple, cherries, and strawberries. What about something strong like liqorice? I don't care for it, but, it's strong tasting. Also, little mini quiche. You can load with veggies and freeze until ready to eat. Good protein and pretty tasty or just have a bowl of roasted veggies sprinkled with garlic powder.

I'd also explore if her meals provide enough healthy fat. I've read that fats help you feel more satisfied and not as prone to snack or feel hungry.

Also, you could try freezing calories free flavored waters and serve as popsicles. You can also buy low sugar popsicles. They only have a few calories, but, offer not much in nutritional value. The same goes for sugar free jellos.

Sam's Club sells a low cost Orange Aid that is sugar and caffeine free that has a little tart flavor. It's more tasty than regular water, but, does have Aspartame, if that matters to you.
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