My mother in law is Diabetic and an incredibly picky eater. If she could have pancakes with syrup every day for every meal she would. That is a big no go!

She tries to eat peanut butter by the spoonful several times during the day and constantly asks for McDonalds. Ummm no not happening.

She has been better about the meals I have been preparing and I try to cater them to her likes but making them healthy though there are few vegetables she will eat or can eat, she refuses to use her dentures to eat. We are looking into new ones but she doesn't want them.

Anyway, I made her soup and packed it full of blended vegetables but she caught me blending and one doesn't trust me when I have the blender out refusing to eat what I made saying she will just have top ramen. *sigh*

She will drink V8 once in a while but will not drink Boost or Ensure or anything like that.

She was drinking smoothies before she caught me with the vegetables.

Any ideas? I want her healthy......

She won't eat: eggs, yogurt, oatmeal, chicken, rice, apples, any veggie other then green beans (from a can only) or mushrooms, pork, any seafood, salads of any sort, nuts ground up, really the list goes on.....I'm desperate!

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Stop trying to sneak things into your MIL's meals. It backfires.

It might help us to know why your MIL needs a caregiver. Does she have diabetic complications? Does she have other impairments? How old is she? In general, what is her health like? How is her weight? How long have you been cooking for her? Do you live together?

Does she like cheese? Cottage cheese? Bananas? Cherries? Watermelon? ANY fruit?
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Do what parents do whenever there is a child who refuses to eat vegetables or anything else..... prepare the meal, place it in front of the person.... if the person refuses to eat, then that is their choice, there will be no substitution..... the person won't starve, eventually they will start eating.... and she will start using those dentures.
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When I make bolognese sauce, I grate carrots and celery into it, as well as parsley, mushrooms and of course the tomatoes. Would she notice a grater in the same way that she spotted the blender?

Tinned tomatoes are very healthy. Tomato rice soup - is rice on the banned list? - oh. Oh well. What about cream of tomato soup, then?

Does she like sweetcorn? That's nice creamed.

Raymond Blanc has a delicious recipe for peas: you pulse them lightly so that they're a bit squashed but not puréed, then stir in olive oil, lemon juice, mint and… oregano I think, then cook them over very high heat just for two or three minutes, stirring. You can use frozen ones but you have to thaw them first (a minute in a microwave). If you're interested I'll look the recipe up for quantities. If you make a bed of them and - goodness, how is she eating anything much if she won't put her teeth in? I was going to recommend a nice tasty lamb chop, but she'd have a job with that, wouldn't she. I suppose you could cook the chop, take out all the bones and fat, chop it small, reheat it for a second, then shape it into a sort of soft burger.

Does she like pickles? It's not ideal, but it's better than nothing.

If you've got a soft-leaved lettuce handy, you could stir it into the beans as they're cooking. The leaves just soften into sort of green ribbons. Not much nutrition but again better than nothing.

Onions? Good for folates (I was surprised, but when you think about it the bulb is made of leaves, so yes, makes sense…)

Cress (ordinary cress, not watercress which she might find too peppery) in egg sandwi - oh bugger, she won't eat eggs.

Hm. Well. I agree with FF that she can only be as fussy as you allow her to be, but on the other hand there's her autonomy to consider, and in any case you obviously want her to enjoy her food, not endure it. Reeducating somebody's palate is hard going at the best of times. Having said that, don't forget the old adage: "a pinch of appetite is worth a pound of seasoning." Do make it as hard as you humanely can for her to eat between meals.

As a last resort, I would tell her there's been a global noodle shortage (you heard it on Fox News, remember?) and sadly they won't be available for several months. So what would she like instead :)?

Oh potatoes! Don't forget potatoes. Cooked in their skins they keep quite a lot of vitamin C, and of course they're very versatile and quick in the microwave. Add some butter for vitamin A and D, some tuna - tuna? Does that count as seafood?, and some sautéed mushrooms for B, and you're nearly there!

You can get, I think, sugar-free jello (is that how you spell jello? I'm having to translate from British English, here); and recently the manufacturers have started making lunchbox pots of it with fruit in it - peaches, mangoes, mandarins. Of course the fruit is cooked, not fresh, and of course it's not as good, but my mother eats one very cheerfully for her lunchtime dessert and - again - better than nothing. Tinned fruit in general might help - it's soft, and you can get it canned in juice rather than syrup. Just watch how much sugar she's getting from it, though; because it might not help her diabetes.

You can roast peppers, squashes, aubergines, zucchini - drizzle them with olive oil, pinch some large-flaked sea salt over them, shove them in the oven and wait until they're pleasantly browned. The sweetness might appeal to her.

I got my partner to enjoy cauliflower by puréeing it, sieving it, beating in some butter and serving it as a creamy garnish. And it was quite tasty, though I do say it as shouldn't. I liked it too.

That's it. I have exhausted my fuss-pot repertoire. You have brought back cold-sweat memories of when my ten year old self-proclaimed vegetarian daughter wouldn't eat tomatoes, mushrooms, aubergines, lentils or pulses of any sort, leeks or potatoes. Yes, that was a fun time...
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Thank you for your comments!

My mother in law also has Epilepsy and though her doctor does not see the need for round about care she does not know when a seizure will come and has hurt herself many times. I live with her and have for about 7 months. She is 62 years old. The doctor says her weight is good however she thinks she is overweight and sometimes tries to skip meals. She also doesn't have much of an appetite.

She drinks a lot of water which I guess could be good and bad. She was drinking a 50% less sugar orange juice but her Nutritionist told us that was a no go.

She will eat bananas BUT they have to be green just turning yellow and if they have even one spot on them she is done. I got her to eat strawberries with breakfast but she is tired of them now and won't eat other berries or fruits.

Each time I go to the store I get a couple of new things and try that. She usually looks at the. And saws, "eww" I get her to try them and she gives me dirty looks.

I thought of tinned fruit but the syrup is too much for hr diabetes.

You are right I should not try to sneak it if she catches me again I fear she won't eat anything!

Country mouse, you have some good ideas. Sometimes just the name of something she will turn her nose up to.

I think I am going to do a couple of things: one I'm going to continue trying new things each shopping trip and just cooking them not giving her the choice and two: we are starting to do 2 walks a day now maybe I can get her appetite up and once she smells the good food while being hungry she won't make as much of a fuss.

Here is for hoping!

Thank you again for your responses.
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CountryMouse, I had to laugh about the global noodle shortage and hearing it on a certain news station :)
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Well, bless you for being so caring as to be taking on this battle. Hon, there's a limit to what you can do, as she is a picky eater. You want her healthy, but she has to be willing to work on it too (ie dentures). I buy V-8 Fusion for DH as it tastes like fruit juice and has added veg juice in it. You could check into recipes online by moms who sneak the veggies (pureed) into the kids' food. They create cubes in ice cube trays and then add the cubes to the food. I've done this for added nutrition (I didn't sneak...more of an "eat it, that's dinner" sort of mom). Sweet potato/carrot mash is really good. Baked sweet potato fries.
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Linda, I love that idea with the ice cubes I will try it! Lol thank you. Though it is a battle I could not do it without my husband. I am the kind of person that needs praise and I get depressed when I do not get it. I feel odd for saying that but it is the truth. My husband comes home very night and tells me how much he loves me and supports me, then asks me to make him a sandwich, in which my response is, "you have two hands" lol no he is very appreciative and always tells me how great of a job I am doing. I'm only 27.
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Oh hey the noodle shortage actually is a great trick because she watches the news all the time. I feel bad for deceiving her but I may try it.
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Nennie - at 27, you're starting a caregiving journey very young. Just remember that it's normal and necessary for you to have time alone, time with your husband, with friends. Don't be afraid to set boundaries. It's good that you've found this site - it'll help you going forward.
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Nennie86, thank you for the additional information. It helps.

First let me join your husband in complimenting you. Including another adult in your life can be challenging, and when that adult is a whole generation older, and your mother-in-law on top of it, it is a brave and generous thing you are doing!

I also congratulate you on your motives. You want MIL to be healthy. Good for you! And I don't detect any power trip going on.

I see your situation a little differently. You are living together (your house or hers, by the way?) so she has immediate help available if she has a seizure. That is a worthwhile endeavor. But being available in case of need is not quite the same as being a caregiver.

You make no mention of MIL having dementia or any other cognitive problems.She is a competent adult. Adults are allowed to make decisions about their own lives -- even very bad decisions. Just because you are living together for a particular purpose does not mean she can no longer make decisions for herself. For example:

1) You should neither insist she go to church with you or prevent her from going to church. That's her business.
2) You don't have authority to "upgrade" her listening habits. If she likes heavy metal you can't insist she listens to classical music -- or vice-versa.
3) If she likes to watch mindless game shows don't insist she only watches Masterpiece Theatre

I think you see where I am going with this. She evidently has not asked you to be in charge of her nutrition. Her doctor has not asked that. She is not a small child under your care. She has developed her tastes over six decades. That is more than twice as long as you've been alive! She is not going to change overnight no matter what tactics you use.

Just being exposed to healthier things to eat may have an influence over time. In 2009 (latest available statistic) only 26% of Americans ate 3 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day. (The recommendation is 5). So MIL is hardly alone in her unhealthy eating. And you are NOT responsible for changing that, any more than you are responsible for improving her religious practices. She is an adult!

Set a good example. Make healthy good available to her. Serve canned green beans for dinner every night, along with whatever vegetables you and hubby eat.

Can she cook for herself? If she doesn't like what you are serving, could she make herself pancakes?

Personally, I think that in the long run having a good, cordial relationship with her son and daughter-in-law is better for her health than 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Being on her side is more important than sneaking nutrition into her. It would be great if she could count on you to help her openly rather than distrust you because she catches you adulterating her food. What if you sat down with her one day, perhaps with a variety of pancake mixes or recipes and a few different syrup choices and you said, "I know that you love pancakes. I know that you want to keep your diabetes under control. Let's see if we can figure out how many pancakes you can eat in a meal, and how much of various syrups can be worked in." You are on her side. You want her happy with what she eats, and you care about her health. Let her know that BOTH things are true. Be her friend, not her constant supervisor.

(My answer would be considerably different if MIL had dementia and could not make safe decisions on her own. My answer is based on the information you supplied.)
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My MIL has epilepsy and the beginning stages of Dimensia. She has asked me too care for her and to help her with her decision making. Because of the amount of seizures she has endured her cognitive thinking is not at the right state and she has been deemed by her primary doctor, neurologist, memory care therapist and psychiatrist well as social worker to not be of fit mind to care for herself.

Her son and I are her POA and secondary POA.

I still treat her like an adult as much as I can. We have conversations often lead by her.

To understand the situation fully you would need to know her. She knows nothing of bills and the cost of things. She doesn't know how to use a phone anymore, has no idea what the internet is.

When she sees an ad for something on TV that had been out for a long time she thinks is brand new even if she saw that same commercial the day before.

In some ways you are right she is capable of some things but overall she needs an assistant. We live in an apartment where myself, my husband and she are all on the lease.

She forgets to eat sometimes. If left to take her pills on her own she has in the past taken a double amount. If left alone she might have a seizure outside while smoking and fall on the concrete.

She is my mother overall and I care for her dearly. She tells me what she likes to eat I just try to tweak it so it can be healthier. If she wants to do something we do it. However all she wants to do more often then not is watch TV and other then a walk each day I let her. I do try to engage her I. Card or board games but only if she is interested. The doctor said the games could help her memory.

Thank you for your concern.
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I should have given all the information in the beginning I apologize.
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Another idea is a good whole food multi vitamin supplement.
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Ah, Nennie86, this is an entirely different story. Probably the number one factor to consider in dealing with a loved one who needs care is their cognitive state. And yet caregivers often fail to note in their profiles or in a topic that their loved one is cognitively impaired. That makes a huge difference.

It does sound like you are doing a fantastic job. Be proud!

And, yes, it would be nice if MIL ate more nutritiously, and yes, that is another huge challenge for you. Stay strong!

But ... eating more vegetables is not going to cure her dementia, or her diabetes, or her epilepsy. Being able to trust you is more important than having a variety of green vegetables. Green beans are fine.

I don't know what nutritionist you talked to, but most Certified Diabetes Educators say there is NOTHING totally off-limits to people with diabetes. Portion control is everything. It is better for MIL to eat an orange than to drink orange juice. But if she likes orange juice and hates oranges, give her orange juice. But a serving is 5 ounces, not a quart! If she loves pancakes, figure out how many she can safely have for a meal and serve them once in a while. Even a Big Mac is not off-limits if you serve it occasionally as a special treat and she isn't eating fast food every day. Her insurance should cover at least 2 hours with a Certified Diabetes Educator. Make an appointment and go with her, to educate yourself about what is most important to her diabetic health. Perhaps include a written note before the meeting explaining in full MIL's impairments. The first thing the CDE asked me was what kinds of foods I like. The poor CDE isn't going to have much to work with for MIL, but she or he will be creative and very helpful to you.

MIL's food pickiness reminds me so much of one of my sons. He is strictly a carnivore and the range of fruits or vegetables he will consider is extremely small. And wouldn't you know it? He married a vegetarian! Talk about mixed marriages. He theoretically likes bananas, but there is about a 90 minute window in the life of any banana that he considers them suitable for eating. NO brown speckles on the skin! LOL I find his wife easier to cook for when they visit than for him. So I empathize with your struggle. I suggest consulting a CDE and relaxing at least a little. The AMA, the CDC, the FDA, and thousands of doctors combined cannot convince 74% of the population to eat enough fruits and vegetables. Don't beat yourself up if you can't single-handedly convert your MIL to healthy eating. Do your best. Focus on other issues. Be proud of all the good you are doing!
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Nennie, it's not a small thing, appreciation. Actually, you made my chin wobble! - for me, making food is - without wanting to get too soppy about it - about love, and rejected food is… well. It's sad. I don't blame you one bit for minding.

Constant memory wiping doesn't do anybody's brain any good. Your MIL is young to be dependent on you, but if her epilepsy has been lifelong there will be all kinds of gaps in her thinking. If she's also been taking medications since diagnosis I imagine they will have taken their toll too.

Yup, no more trying to sneak things into her, though. Go the other way, maybe - make meals look extra colourful and appealing, make things that you and your husband really enjoy, and (this is as with small children, no getting away from it) keep encouraging her to sample.

Does she like spices, or herbs? You can do a carrot a lot of favours with a little fresh, chopped coriander. Beetroot - you can have it soft and cooked, or in soup, but it's lovely grated raw, too. Go for colour and big flavour and you can cut back on sweetness without the person missing it so much.

Bean sprouts. Try putting a bowl out as a snack, just pick them up like crisps and nosh them casually - if she tries one, she might like the crunch. Same for wasabi peas (not if she doesn't like hot spices, though), olives, I'd even try pistachios - the texture isn't "nutty", it's smoother and quite soft, and they're satisfying to eat in a popping bubble-wrap kind of way.

Once she's found one thing she genuinely enjoys, besides the pancakes and syrup (yum yum, by the way!), she'll be more interested in trying others. Meanwhile, although it's always a shame if someone doesn't share your enjoyment, in the end it's her loss not yours.
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She sounds like a meat and potatoes kind of gal. I find that I can sneak other things into my potatoes. I sometimes make scalloped potatoes but I add other things that are white, like parsnips or fennel. This is in the winter.

I do basically the same thing in the summer, but no sauce - just a little oil and seasonsings between layers in a saute pan on the stovetop or in foil on the grill.

I do oven fries and I wonder if your MIL would eat sweet potato oven fries?

Can you blend when she's not there, store the blended item and surreptitiously add it when you cook?

Will she eat pizza? I make mine with canned tomato puree. I won't insult you by suggesting you slice zucchini on it, because I suspect she wouldn't eat that, but the sauce is at least a little bit of vegetable.

Does she like lasagna? You can hide things in those layers. If she can't chew it, you can volunteer to blend it. You can take the lasagna and blend it right in front of her so that she see's you're not doing anything else to it. Just don't let her see you make it, I guess. Ditto for spaghetti with sauce.

I do agree with the last posting about trust, though. It's a hard thing when you know you're responsible the person and their diet but that you need to maintain trust. I agree that you should sit down and see if there's any kind of compromise on this.
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All great ideas. We have sat down several times and she always says she doesn't know what she wants and when I offer things she needs to see then so I show her pictures and she says ewww. I've taken her to the store before and spent 3 hours there walking isle by isle letting her tell me what she would want to eat and telling her what I can make. I have a whiteboard on the fridge with a list of 20 things I know she is at least semi interested in and I tell her to look at that when thinking about meals. I wish it helped.

I know this is a controversial subject but because her epilepsy is medication resistant the doctor has suggested Marajuana. When her husband had cancer he had Marajuana and it helped him eat a lot. Perhaps if we decided to try it it would help her as well? We are back and forth on the subject doing research.
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Well at the very least it should improve her appetite! - at least, if all the rumours I hear are true… :)
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I have heard it'll improve her mood as well lol
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I've purchased baby food carrots and added them to chili (will she eat chili?) or even spaghetti sauce; other pureed baby foods could be added also, but hubby has suddenly said "no carrots" so that was my choice even though the nutritional content is probably diminshed.
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