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The lifetime pattern of eating is not easily changed, and the older woman who has always liked rich desserts or the man accustomed to eating hearty rich foods will find it difficult to adjust to the lower calorie requirements. The Four Food Groups still furnish the basis for meal planning because they provide all the nutrients needed by the older man and woman.
Since the Basic Diet provides 1165 kcal, the woman of 51 years or older will need to restrict her intake of calorie-rich foods lest she rapidly gain weight. Some useful points to keep in mind when planning meals for older persons are noted below.
1. Consider the food likes and dislikes of the individual. Learn to use essential foods in dishes acceptable to the person. For example, milk may be disliked as a beverage but well accepted in puddings, custards, cream soups, and cream sauces, on cereals, and so on.
2. Use fried foods, rich desserts, highly seasoned foods, and strongly flavored vegetables with discretion and according to the patient’s tolerance.
3. If chewing is difficult, adjust the meals to include finely minced or chopped meats, soft breads, fruits, and vegetables.
4. Serve four or five small meals when the appetite is poor.
5. Breakfast is the meal most enjoyed by many older persons, and every effort should be made to provide pleasing variety.
6. Dinner at noon rather than in the evening is preferred by some.
7. If coffee and tea produce insomnia, they should be restricted to meals early in the day.
8. Encourage a liberal fluid intake daily. Adjust the fiber content of the diet if constipation is a problem.

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