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How to Make Foods Appealing When Your Mom Loses Her Sense of Smell

How to Make Foods Appealing When Your Mom Loses Her Sense of Smell

The loss of the sense of smell is known as anosmia. A minimal sense of smell is known as hyposmia, and it also impacts how foods taste. It’s estimated that 3 percent of the U.S. population have anosmia, and the risk increases as you age. Around 4 out of 10 adults over the age of 80 have it.

If your mom’s been diagnosed with anosmia, you might find it is affecting her appetite. If she can’t smell the foods you make her, they won’t taste as she’d expect them to taste. Here are some tips for making foods more appealing when she’s lost her sense of smell.

Rely on Trial and Error

You may need to try different foods and ask her to rate them. When you find foods she likes, keep a list of the foods she liked. Focus meals around those.

Choose Bold Flavors

Salt may not appeal to your mom. Instead, sprinkle fresh lemon juice over her vegetables. Sour tastes may be easier for her taste buds to pick up as being different. Pineapple served on kebabs with chicken may also help her find meals more appealing.

You could do chicken that’s marinated in pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, and sesame oil. Put it onto skewers with red pepper chunks, pineapple cubes, and leeks. Grill those and serve them with pineapple fried rice. See if she likes that type of meal.

Improve the Texture

When smell impacts how foods taste, you have to start moving towards the other senses. Texture can help your mom find her appetite. Choose foods that have a mix of textures. Sushi with the crisp cucumbers, soft rice, and chewy nori appeals to some people with anosmia.

A Bolognese sauce with chunks of carrots and celery, soft onions, and meats like sausage, pork, and beef will be more appealing than a creamy alfredo. Serve that sauce with chewier gnocchi over slippery spaghetti noodles.

Aim for Colorful Presentations

Your mom can’t smell, but she can still see. Focus on presentation when plating meals and snacks. Bright colors will be more appealing than a plate filled with the same color. A stew of chicken breast, red peppers, eggplant, milk, kale, and green lentils will be more appealing than a grilled chicken breast with rice and steamed cauliflower.

Does your mom need help to prepare nutritious meals that taste appealing? As you work through the foods she does enjoy, jot them down. When you call a senior care agency to help her with meal preparation, you’ll have foods caregivers can focus on. Schedule senior care services to ensure your mom eats well and develops an appetite again.


If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Clayton, CA, please contact the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Walnut Creek. (925) 203-3039.