Helping Dementia clients to eat well

Helping Dementia clients to eat well.

We hope you find the information in this article informative; the aim is to help our clients to eat well and remain healthy whilst living with Dementia.

Food Recipes.

Try and involve them in the decision-making process, if they struggle to decide what they would like to eat, give them 2 options of the foods you know they like.
Stuck for new food ideas to try? Check out some different dishes below, click on the titles to go through to the recipes!

Mac n veg slices. This soft, tasty dish requires medium effort and takes 30 minutes to cook.

Potato and poached egg hash. This quick dish will take 20 minutes to cook and is great to use up old cooked potatoes. 

Broccoli and bacon muffin tin frittatas. You can keep these in the fridge for up to 4 days and it will only take you 35 mins to make! Why not try the vegetarian version and get some healthy fats in this dish using Philadelphia's recipe.

Add fruity goodness to your porridge with this mashed banana and raspberries recipe!

A huge meal may not be appealing to someone with Dementia, try serving finger foods or bite-sized foods that are easy to pick up. 

Easy to cook/prepare options could be: orange segments, sliced grapes, tender stem broccoli, pitta bread soldiers sliced carrot & celery sticks with creamy hummus dip, cheese & olives, sliced boiled eggs, even chicken nuggets!

If you have more than an hour with your client, why not try creating this tasty dish - roasted root veg with beetroot and cucumber dips or for a twist, try roasting sweet potato fries, pumpkin or butternut squash instead! 

Soft, easy to create, flavoursome foods that require minimal chewing are great options to try. We have listed them below, click to view in more detail:

Mash potato
Scrambled eggs
Asparagus tips with brown bread - add butter on the plate to dip the asparagus in!
Soft bread - Foccacia sliced & paired with soup.

Soft vegetables
Bread and butter pudding


All bran fruit loaf
Pureed Food

Weight control: 

Replace high sugar foods with low calorie jelly

Fruit – high in nutritional value

Encourage activity

Smaller portions

Storing things out of sight

Weight gain:

Add high calorie ingredients such as cheese, butter & cream to mashed potato & sauces

Hearty soups with croutons and vegetables

Snacks – dried fruit, nuts, crisps, chocolate

Add full fat milk to add nutritional value & increase calories

Smoothies & milkshakes

A variety of hints and tips

○ Have you tried serving food on a blue plate? Research shows that changing from white to blue plates enables patients with dementia to see food better as sometimes, they experience difficulties with their sight and perception. It can also help to make food look tastier!

○ Big smells such as freshly baked bread (a part-baked mini bread roll baked in the oven if time is limited), fairy cakes, garlic bread or brewed coffee are all great at getting the taste buds tantalised.

○ Keep easy to access snacks around the place for the person with dementia to dip into when they feel like it.

○ Try different times for meals and snacks, there might be a better time to encourage the person with dementia to eat.

○ As taste buds change, you’ll want to use bright coloured foods with varying textures and strength of flavours to help engage them with eating.

○ Some people with Dementia benefit from a quiet environment, they may need to concentrate harder to accomplish any task, including eating. Make it easier for them by lowering noise and activity around them. Turn off televisions, loud music, limit any distracting conversations. Allow them to eat in quiet, clean, simple settings, to feel comfortable, without needing to rush.

○ Verbal cues and food setup such as opening containers, taking off lids, and removing silverware from packaging may be necessary. Demonstrating the steps, like using a fork and knife to cut a piece of meat or spreading jam on toast are great visual cues. Resist the urge to feed them, they may just be missing that one step or cue to continue with the meal.

○ Helping them to cook ‘your’ food, which is for them and eating ‘with them’ are great ways of engaging them in meal times. Whether it’s setting the table, washing or peeling the vegetables, stirring the soup, custard or mixing gravy in the saucepan on the stove!

○ Too many food options can cause frustration and be overwhelming. Plate small regular portions and be flexible – dessert first? Offer crisps / chocolate to ignite their appetite.

○ Serving meals in bowls rather than on plates can facilitate eating, as the sides make it easier to scoop food onto a fork or spoon.

○ You may find by providing a straw they have an easier time drinking.

○ Ensuring they stay Hydrated, as they are less able to recognise their thirst. Here are a few signs of when someone is dehydrated: dry mouth, sticky saliva, and dark urination.
Offer them water or juice, several times throughout the day (not just at meals). Foods that have high water content include, watermelon, cantaloupe, cucumbers, lettuce, soups, yogurt, and cottage cheese.

○ Pay closer attention if they drink or smoke. People with dementia may forget when they last imbibed. For drinking, reduce the amount of alcohol in the house, or water it down. For smoking, ensure a fire-resistant environment and working smoke alarms.

Remember that each person is different, and care will be dependent on specific needs and through observation.

If you have any ideas or suggestions that you would like to see added in, please email Olivia – [email protected] or call her on 01242 513203, we would love to hear from you!