Easy Meals for Dementia Patients (Guide)

Easy Meals for Dementia Patients 2

A nourishing balanced diet is important for keeping the body strong and healthy. This is definitely the case for dementia patients as poor nutrition can lead to various medical problems. These include lack of lower body strength making movement a challenge, weight loss and sometimes, an increase in behavioural symptoms. For older carers, trying to prepare tempting meals for loved ones isn’t always easy, so it makes sense to prepare easy meals for dementia patients that are tasty and simple to make…

‘Our food should be our medicine and our medicine should be our food’ Hippocrates

What are the basic guidelines for meals for dementia patients?

Giving your loved one a balanced diet can really boost their health. There has been plenty of research into nutrition for dementia patients and it has been found to make all the difference to the dementia patients’ level of fitness and body strength, which in turn helps maintain their quality of life.

As well as a well-balanced diet, it is important that dementia patients exercise as much as possible. Dementia patients usually find eating small, regular meals and snacks is easier than tackling large plates of food.

Sometimes differences in visual and spatial abilities can make it difficult for them to recognise certain foods. Food needs to be tempting with different colours, textures, and smells. Sometimes medication can affect your loved one’s appetite.

This can either be a change in medication, or in the dosage, and it is best to keep a close eye on things and if the problem hasn’t resolved after a week- ten days, it is good to speak with your GP.

If you find that your loved one is having problems swallowing, or is changing their eating habits, it is well worth seeking professional guidance.

A good balanced diet for dementia patients includes:

balanced diet for dementia patients

  • Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables
  • Whole grains and pulses
  • Lean meats and fresh fish
  • Low-fat dairy products

Keeping your loved one hydrated is very important. Small drinks should be offered throughout the day – water and sugar-free drinks are ideal. A couple of cups of coffee and tea- without added sugar – are fine too.

Types of food to limit:

Types of food not good for dementia patients

  • Foods with high levels of saturated fats such as fatty cuts of meat and butter as these are bad for the heart.
  • Reduce sugar intake. Refined sugars are full of calories and low in vitamins and minerals. Try sweetening foods with a little honey or unsweetened fruit juice.
  • Salt is added to many foods and is certainly in all ready meals as it is known to enhance the flavour. Try to add no salt to your cooking and use herbs and spices to enhance flavours.


Dementia-friendly mealtimes

tempting easy meals for dementia patientsAs well as offering smaller meals, it is important to check that your loved one feels comfortable at the table and that their chair is at the correct height and distance from the table. Before you serve the meal, check it is the correct temperature and not too hot

Make sure there are no distractions such as the television and keep the table setting simple but attractive. Dementia patients can find it tricky to distinguish the food on patterned plates and tablemats.

It is far better to opt for a plain coloured placeman/ tablecloth and white plate and do not lay their place setting with too many pieces of cutlery. Never try to hurry the meal.

  • Eating is a social occasion so try to share a meal together

Easy-to-make recipes for dementia patients

It is best to choose recipes that use just a few ingredients and are quick to complete. If it is possible, involve your loved one in the meal preparation such as cleaning vegetables or measuring amounts.

Always opt for fresh seasonal produce where possible and think about serving raw foods. Carrot, celery and cucumber matchsticks are perfect with a dip such as Tzatziki, hummus or guacamole. Many dementia patients find it easier to eat finger foods and it is the ideal way to serve small portions.

10 nutritious and easy meals for individuals with dementia:

Simple recipes for dementia patients

  • A bowl of salad with some prawns, pieces of salmon, smoked trout, cold chopped chicken or chipolata tossed in.
  • Pasta and prawns – cook prawns with a little garlic and mixed herbs for a few minutes and serve on a bed of warm pasta shapes.
  • Omelette – eggs are nutritious and quick and adding some pre-cooked or leftover vegetables to an omelette makes a tasty meal.
  • Scrambled egg tastes extra good if mushroom, grated cheese, chopped ham or sweetcorn are added.
  • Jacket potato with melted cheese or pesto.
  • Easy baked salmon – place a piece on salmon on a greased piece of tin foil. Top with a chopped tomato and half a chopped onion. Bake at 200°C for 20 minutes.
  • A small individual pizza topped with sliced mushrooms, ham and cheese (muffins can be used as the base and topped with tomato paste, grated cheese, olives etc. and cooked at 200°C for 5 minutes).
  • A mini stir fry made with chopped aubergine (eggplant), chopped courgette, half a chopped onion and chopped green pepper, cooked in a little olive oil.
  • Fresh fruit salad with a spoonful of plain yoghurt on top.
  • Apple sauce with a sprinkle of cinnamon and topped with ice cream makes a tasty pudding.

There are plenty of websites for inspiration for dementia-friendly meal ideas:-


Smoothie – one of the best recipes for dementia patients

If your loved one finds eating some foods a little tricky and prefers soft foods, making a colourful nutritious smoothie can be the perfect answer as the smoothie looks colourful and is easy to drink.

The smoothie can be made using fresh seasonal fruits or you can keep a bag of frozen fruits in the freezer, with no need to defrost them!

Pop a chopped banana, handful of berries (fresh or frozen) a pot of natural yoghurt and two tablespoons of milk into an electric blender and whizz until smooth.

If your loved one likes a slightly sweeter tasting smoothie, add a spoonful of smooth peanut butter.

Making a smoothie is a very tempting easy meal for dementia patients!

Easy Meals for Dementia Patients – Final Thoughts

It is important that you prepare hassle-free meals for the elderly with dementia as there is a chance that your chosen dish may not be a big hit with your loved one. This is not as disappointing as if you had spent more time preparing it.

If your loved one doesn’t want to eat a particular dish, leave it a little while, enhance the flavour with some herbs or spices if you can and try again….


10 Foods That Dementia Diet Should Include

dementia diet

One of the most important things to consider while caring for a person who has dementia is a dementia diet.

Proper nutrition is paramount for wellbeing, independence, and health.

When an individual with dementia fails to eat right, it can lead to weight loss and an increase in behavioral symptoms.

For some caregivers, identify the right foods to include in a weak person’s diet may be challenging.

If you are in such a dilemma, you will find the solution below as we highlight foods that are ideal for persons with dementia.

10 Best Dementia Diet Foods

Oily Fish and Omega 3

oily fish and omega 3 dementia diet
Essential fatty acids present in omega 3’s are important for maintaining, functioning and health of the brain.

Researchers agree that eating omega 3 or oily fish on a regular basis helps to enhance cognitive functioning as a person grows older.

The human body does not have the capacity to manufacture omega 3-fatty acids from scratch. This means that a person must get this from the foods they consume.

Foods that are rich in omega 3 include nuts, fish, vegetable oils, leafy vegetables, flax seeds and oil.

Leafy Greens and Cruciferous Veggies

leafy greens and cruciferous veggies
Leafy greens should make a huge part of the dementia diet. Veggies like mustard and collard greens, spinach, arugula, kale, and swiss chard are great sources of vitamin B9 or folate.

These are known to better cognition in the elderly.

Folate is also important in that it helps to fight against depression by boosting serotine levels.

Leafy greens also offer Vitamin E which is beneficial to the brain.

Cruciferous vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, bok choy, and brussel sprouts are great for memory.

They contain folate and carotenoids that lower homocysteine levels an amino acid that nutritionists link to cognitive impairment.

Persons with dementia should take vegetables on a daily basis.


dementia diet to include nuts
Nuts are an excellent snack for people who have dementia. According to the MIND diet study, nuts are good for the health of the brain. This is because they are rich in fiber and antioxidants.

Other studies also show that they can help to lower levels of bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease.

The MIND diet suggests that people should eat different types of nuts five times a week.

Berries and Cherries

berries and cherries for dementia patients
Experts recommend the inclusion of berries in the dementia diet.

Blueberries, cherries, strawberries, and acacia fruit are perfect examples. These are fruits that have been linked to multiple benefits for the brain.

Some studies correlate this with enhanced memory. An example is a study that was published in 2013.

It uncovered that participants who consumed greater berry amounts showed a slower cognitive decline of about two and a half years as they grew older.

Berry varieties also contain a phytochemical known as anthocyanin that protects the brain from the damage that free radicals cause.


beans for dementia
Legumes are a great addition to the foods that a person with dementia eats. Beans, in particular, come highly recommended for several reasons.

Among these include the fact that they are low in fat and calories and rich in protein and fiber.

This is a good combination that helps to keep the mind sharp.

Individuals with cognitive decline should try to eat beans at least three times weekly.

Alternatively, the ill person can also eat chickpeas and lentils which are equally great for the brain.

Whole Grains

whole grains
Whole grains are a must-have in a dementia diet. They are a better choice when you compare them to refined grains because they retain more nutrients.

They also come with the entire grain seed or kernel which is made of fibrous bran.

Eating more whole grains also helps to increase fiber intake, lowers blood pressure, they offer a myriad of vitamins, and reduce inflammation amongst other perks.

Impaired individuals should eat at least 2 servings of whole grains daily.


Seeds are another great snack option for persons who have dementia. A variety of seeds are rich in Vitamin E.

This is one of the vitamins that help to lower the rates of cognitive decline as people grow older.

Sunflower seeds are rich in choline a compound that helps to enhance brain function.

Pumpkin seeds contain Zinc that improves cognitive function and memory.

Most of the seeds also have tryptophan that is effective in fighting depression. Flax seeds are rich in omega 3s making them an excellent fish alternative.


mushrooms and dementia
It is highly beneficial to include mushrooms in the dementia diet. Don’t eat them on pizza though because this will not do you any good.

Source for fresh or dried mushrooms that you can eat plain or add to a veggie burger, soup, or frittata. These are rich in vitamin B12.

Mushrooms are also known to enhance metabolism, strengthen the immune system, and improve bladder function.

Mushrooms are also great for the body in that they help protect cell health because they are rich in antioxidants.

Sweet Potatoes

sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are great for individuals dealing with dementia. These offer minerals and vitamins that may have anti-inflammatory benefits.

Scientists reckon that persons who have higher levels of zeaxanthin and lutein found in sweet potatoes and other vegetables do not need a lot of brain activity to complete tasks.

Sweet potato meals are also known to enhance brain power which also improves cognitive ability.


Poultry should without a doubt be part of the dementia diet. Turkey and chicken are healthy protein choices that offer multiple benefits to people with dementia.

In addition to being rich in protein, poultry products also offer different minerals and vitamins that help to support healthy bodies.

These are a great protein option because affected individuals can consume them in different ways without the meal becoming monotonous.

Closing Remarks

It is important to be very careful about what goes into your mouth if you have dementia. Above are some of the foods that should feature in a healthy dementia diet.

While these foods may not cure this disease, they can help prevent some symptoms which will help you to better manage the illness.

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