High Protein Breakfast for Shut-in Seniors

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Dear Francy writes about high protein breakfast and recipes with ideas for care. Francy Dickinson

Up out of bed senior eats breakfast at table

Getting George out of bed and feeding him breakfast at the table

Dear Francy; My dad refuses to eat anything but fruit loop cereal every day. I know this is not enough for him, what can I do?

Many seniors get into a daily eating pattern. Cereal is a common easy repeat, so is toast, care givers have to learn how to tweek it so the daily habit is healthy. First, do not try to remove their favorite food. Just make a change in a slow way.

Almond milk can be added to the diet in place of regular cow’s milk. Many older seniors grew up with milk and simply love it. They want it at each of their meals, but many seniors find that milk starts to be a problem with their medications, or causing a build-up of mucus. Adding almond milk to the mix is a great way to move them into a different direction. If you have not tried Vanilla Almond Milk…do it! It has a great flavor that is low in carbs and really a wonderful addition to the shut-in diet.

My mother got into Pillsbury, Toaster Strudels. She wanted them for every meal. So what do you do? I said that she could have them for breakfast every other day. She was fine with that. I also gave her strudels, if she was feeling unwell, as a comfort food. She was in her late nineties when I cared for her, so to me, her wishes and likes were always honored. At the same time, I had to make sure she had more protein in her diet.  I would put protein drinks or powder in everything I made for her.

My husband George (who is now fighting Alzheimer’s) loves his bagels with apple butter topping. So, once again, I allow him the bagel, but only twice a week. That way I can get his protein breakfasts in the door and keep his sugar levels on a study stream. **Alzheimer’s and Dementia patients need to keep a higher sugar level to help their emotions. Just the opposite of the diabetes senior that needs to watch their in-take of sugar and of carbs.  NOTE: Carbs, like breads and such, change into sugar as the body absorbs them.

I will use your senior’s favorite as Breakfast A – It does not matter what it is…it’s going to be on our list as B-A: or substatute with a Fruit smoothie for a change of pace.

Your Weekly Breakfast Menu:

Monday Breakfast:
B-A or a Fruit Smoothie (You will find a great recipe on my food/recipe site CLICK HERE)

Tuesday Breakfast:
Hot cereal – with 2tsp of brown sugar or honey in the cooking water/ Sprinkle the –top with flax flakes or Metamucil powder – top it with Vanilla almond milk, or vanilla protein shake.

–>This means the hot cereal is packed with the daily needs of a senior for their bowel functions. Then it is adding in a boost of protein with a topping of the almond or protein milk. If the senior needs to watch their sugar in-take use a sugar substitute.
–>Some Seniors really like oatmeal, others like cream of wheat, then you have the troops that like their regular cereal mixed with hot milk. You judge and serve what feels right and adds nutrients.

Wednesday Breakfast: B-A or a Fruit Smoothie

Thursday Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs n Yogurt
–>Adding in 2 tbp of protein drink or Vanilla almond milk, sprinkle in the flax flakes or Metamucil power, salt n pepper with a drop of Tabasco Sauce. Mix this with a blender, or a whip and really make it fluffy. Pour into your preheated pan (Pam spray if needed) and either stir for scrambled or let heat through for an omelet. Serve with a great flavored yogurt.

–>Ok so this is a great way to get more into eggs, then just eggs. You can always use your Eggbeaters (or egg whites) with this just make sure you whip it so it’s foamy. This makes great eggs and you have everything in the mix to add the bulk and the sugar and the drop of Tabasco…why? Seniors lose their ability to taste. It makes eating so bland and so boring they start to pull away from their food. You do NOT want to add to much spice, it can really upset a stomach…but just a drop (and I mean a tiny drop) will just add to the taste along with the salt and pepper. The yogurt will calm down any heat that it causes in the tummy and add even more protein and helpful things for the intestines. I know I keep harping on bowels. But just trust me; when you are older and in trouble with your health, your bowels go wacky. You need to help seniors keep steady and adding daily Metamucil helps. If their problems are in the opposite direction, you can add a stool softener to their daily morning pills.

Friday Breakfast: B-A or Fruit Smoothie

Saturday Breakfast: Protein from the refrigerator.
This is a Danish treat, an open-face sandwich served for breakfast with different things on top from the left-overs in your refrigerator.  This makes for a change of pace and perks the senior up to see what is on the sandwich.

–>What you want to make sure is that the only bread you buy for a senior is loaded with brans, whole-wheat, seeds and such. It makes great sandwiches and good toast. Take one piece of bread and toast it.
–>Then you will use something to spread on the top. It could be cream cheese, (I like the soft kind with flavors that you can buy in a tub and lasts longer than the brick.) yogurt, apple sauce or apple butter. It’s now time to sprinkle your bran, flax or Metamucil over the spread.
–>Look in the fridge and pull out bits and pieces. Chicken or meats from last night’s dinner are perfect. Paper-thin cut the meat and layer it on the toast that you covered with cream cheese. Add a sprinkle of sliced tomato or cooked veggies from the dinner. Sprinkle it with Mrs.Dash to give it more of a kick and serve. You can serve it as it is, or put it back into the toaster oven and toast the top for a minute or two…either way, its Yummy!  You might want to serve it with V-8 juice; now available in veggie and fruit mixes.

Sunday Breakfast: You have more time today; let’s make it a day for pancakes for the whole family.
–>You can make a larger batch for the gang.  If you are cooking just for your senior, make the batch and then layer the unused cooked pancakes with wax paper and place in a freezer bag. That way you can reach in the freezer and get a couple of pancakes anytime the senior is in need of a calming meal.

–>The only difference with these pancakes would be instead of using the water to mix into the pancake pre-mixture — you add in your protein drink with the same measurement. If the senior is the only one eating the cakes, go ahead and add in the bran, flax or Metamucil in the batter. Cook them like you normally do, the only difference will be that you added more protein to the batter, it will not show in the taste.
–>I like to serve these with fruits and a dollop of yogurt on top. It is so easy to buy frozen berries in the market. They last for ages and you can open them and use a ½ cup for a recipe anytime you like. Perfect to add to a smoothie or other toppings. Not to mention, the yogurt is not just a treat to eat in the whole cup, you can open it and use it, a dollop at a time, during the day in different ways which will sneak-in the added protein.

Cooking for seniors in care is always a challenge.
I try to keep in mind what the nutrition rules are and how I can make things taste good, yet, always add-in good nutrients to their meals. Simple foods? Yes. But, even everyday breakfast can make the day start with a mind that is healthy and food on a tummy that will absorb the many medications that your senior will have to take.

As always, check those medications. You may find one has to be taken “before food” if it does, you want to take that pill to the senior with water as you wake them up or get them going in their morning toilet. You can then go and prepare their meal while the medication dissolves into their system.

Because everyone asks about food, recipes and meal ideas; I am going to try to add more tips in this direction and I have started to put ideas down for a care giving cookbook. In the meantime…good news, my care guides are almost out the door. They will be ready in March…yeah.

Blessings on your care giving…you make a huge difference with the time and love you give to your senior, thank you. francy

New senior care book will be out in March - YEAH! That's mother "Toots" and me with loads of good ideas for care.