Once the malnutrition process is under way, it is very difficult to improve the situation. It is important to act early, as soon as the first warning signs appear and to take preventive action by surveying diets..
Prevention is better than cure
Combine taste and nutrition for undernourished patients: Organoleptic properties are even more important for hospital patients with a loss of appetite. Mealtimes become a challenge.
The food served must fulfil essential criteria: be nutritionally balanced, served at regular intervals, in sufficient amounts, suit tastes and degree of autonomy.
- Each patient’s meal should be prepared to their taste and comply with dietary constraints: simple, varied meals that are a pleasure to eat and cover nutritional requirements. Presentation plays a vital role in the pleasure of eating; colours, textures, shapes and flavours are very important.
STAGE 1: IMPROVE DIET
It is important to improve the nutritional quality of everyday meals. Pack more nutrients into the same amount of food! Extra ingredients can be added: milk, cheese, cream or cream cheese in soup etc.
A simple, efficient way of enriching meals is to use powdered dairy proteins (calcium caseinate or whey) to provide the required dose.
Stage 2: SUPPLEMENT FOOD
Oral Nutritional Supplements (ONS) are recommended when diet alone is insufficient to meet daily nutritional requirements. According to a 2007 French government health report, ONS should provide 400 Kcal per day and supplement protein intake by 30g.