Are you looking for easy finger food ideas or a meal plan for a person with dementia? We’ve got a 3-day sample menu of meals and snacks that are nourishing and dementia-friendly.
Using a fork and spoon can become difficult and more confusing as dementia progresses. If you’re noticing a decrease in the ability of a person to feed themself, handheld foods could help improve overall food intake.
Finger foods allow a person to maintain independence at mealtime and reduce the confusion often caused by utensils.
What are Finger Foods?
Finger foods are foods that can be easily picked up and eaten with one hand. Handheld foods can be of regular or soft textures and should not be overly messy to hold. If you are just getting started with finger foods, be sure to check out the Ultimate Guide to Finger Foods for Dementia.
How Can Finger Foods Help A Person with Dementia?
Increased Food Acceptance and Better Intake of Meals
Eating poorly at meals is a common struggle for people living with dementia. This often results from confusion with using utensils or the inability to grasp a fork or spoon. Handheld foods can simplify the process of eating, leading to an increased intake of meals and snacks, which is important to help prevent weight loss.
Maintaining Independence in Eating
Promoting independence in eating and drinking is important to consider in dementia care. Foods easily picked up with fingers allow the person to continue to feed themselves or have minimal assistance from caregivers. Some people with dementia are resistant to having someone assist them in eating, making handheld foods a good strategy.
Honoring Food Preferences
Handheld foods are often preferred by people with dementia. While the person may retain the ability to use a fork or spoon, they may simply prefer to eat foods with their hands. Observation at mealtime is the best way to determine the preference of certain foods and eating styles.
Portable Options for People On The Go
Finger foods are easy options for people who wander or find it difficult to sit at the table for long. Be sure to provide supervision for safety in eating while on the go.
Finger Food Meal Ideas
Easy Finger Foods – Breakfast
- boiled eggs
- fruit and yogurt smoothie
- mini muffin
- mini waffles
- pear slices
- strawberry halves
- toast with jelly or peanut butter
- yogurt – drinkable or tube
Easy Finger Foods – Lunch
- cheese – cubes or slices
- chocolate milk
- cucumber slices
- grapes – cut in half (choking hazard)
- mandarin slices
- soup in a mug
- toast with peanut butter
- whole grain crackers
- wrap with tuna or chicken salad
Easy Finger Foods – Dinner
- chicken sausage on bun
- green beans
- french fries
- mini burger sliders
- pasta salad
- pineapple chunks
- potato wedges
- salmon patties
Easy Finger Foods – Snacks
- apple slices
- cheese cubes
- cutie orange
- drinkable yogurt
- fruit smoothie
- granola bar
- milk shake
- peanut butter & helly sandwich
- soft cereal bar
3 Day Finger Food Meal Plan for Dementia
This meal plan represents a balanced diet for the general population. It is important to note nutritional needs vary for each person. For specific nutrition advice, seek the help of your primary care provider or a registered dietitian.
Key Takeaways: Finger Food Meal Plan for Dementia
Finger foods can increase meal and snack intake for people living with dementia. Benefits of finger foods include improved acceptance of foods, independence in eating, and portable options for people on the go.
Other Dementia-Friendly Finger Food Ideas
Looking for more information on finger foods? Check out this List of Finger Foods for Dementia.
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