Baby food for elderly

Is it Okay for Seniors to Eat Baby Food? – The Informed Senior

If you have experience taking care of the elderly, you’d know that sometimes they can have trouble swallowing their food. Since seniors need certain nutrients to keep their body healthy, the only option is to puree their food to make it easily chewable, just like baby food.

Can seniors eat baby food? Yes, but it is not recommended to be a substitute for a standard, adult diet. Baby food is made to contain all the essential nutrients, carbs, and other vitamins and minerals that infants need; they may not meet the nutritional requirement an elderly person has. 

Baby food is food that’s either mashed down or broken down to make it soft so that it’s easily consumable. Let’s dive in to see whether baby food is for seniors or not by understanding their dietary needs compared to infants. 

Can seniors eat baby food?

Seniors can be given baby food in regulated quantities by adding it to pureed recipes to add more taste or create variety. For example, fruit-flavored baby food could be used to replace sugar in desserts. Baby food also provides the convenience of a quick meal if you are struggling with time or work.

However, there is a reason it’s called baby food; it contains all of the necessary vitamins and minerals that babies from 6 to 24 months of age need to grow and be healthy, but may not be enough to support the diet for an older adult. Why?

  • Babies need more energy. Babies are more active than elderly people. Since they are growing up, their body consumes more energy and needs food that’s rich in fat. On the other hand, seniors need to reduce fat intake, so baby food doesn’t help.
  • Insufficient nutrients. The nutrient requirement for elders and babies is very different. Baby food contains nutrients that are required by a baby, which may not be sufficient or more than what an older adult needs. For example, baby food doesn’t have enough proteins that are needed by seniors.
  • Taste is different. Baby food is pretty bland since babies do not have their taste developed at such an early age. On the other hand, elders may lose their taste over time and want more flavorful food.

Is it okay for adults to eat baby food?

As mentioned above, baby food is prepared with the growth and development of a baby in mind. Whether it is seniors or adults, their nutritional requirements are very different from the babies. Adults have a faster metabolism than seniors, but it’s still slower than babies. Adults also need less energy than what babies do.

Though it may feel tempting to eat baby food sometimes for the sake of convenience, it may not be as helpful in maintaining a well-balanced diet in adults. You may have to make up for lack of nutrients with supplements and workout more to use up all the energy produced by the fats in baby food.

Why do some seniors need a soft diet?

Before planning the kind of soft food or baby food you want to give seniors, it is essential to understand why an elderly person may need a soft diet in the first place.

Teeth Loss

One major cause of switching to a soft diet for seniors is tooth loss due to old age. As the human body ages, tooth enamel gets weaker and wears away, which causes the teeth to loosen. This can cause tooth loss, which is a big reason why elders find it difficult to eat food. Teeth loss also leads to receding jaws. This means that elderly people are not able to open their mouths wide enough and move their jaws properly to chew the food, thus requiring them to have a soft or pureed diet.


The elderly are at a higher risk of suffering from dysphagia or the feeling of food being stuck or delayed on its way to the stomach from the mouth. With the ability to swallow deteriorating with age, many elders find it hard to chew and swallow whole, dry, or solid foods. This leads to poor nutrition, dehydration, loss of appetite, and weakness. In severe dysphagia cases, when swallowing solids becomes nearly impossible, an elder may need to be given a pureed diet.

Weakened Motor Skills

Motor difficulties can affect a person’s eating habits. In the case of memory loss, the person may not even remember to eat or drink. Sometimes, due to the limited movement of their mouth and jaw, they may have difficulty swallowing food. With an increased requirement in nutrient-intake and decreased ability to chew, swallow, and eat the food, elders may need to be given a liquid or soft diet.

Surgery or Medical Requirement

In many cases, after major surgery, especially heart or stomach surgeries, the digestion process is slowed down, and the body finds it challenging to be able to break down solid food. In such cases, the elderly are given a pureed diet with foods that contain all the necessary nutrients for the recovery of the body.

Understanding a Senior’s Diet

It is common knowledge that elders have many different nutritional requirements than teenagers or young adults. Whether they can consume a solid diet or require a pureed food diet, it is also important to understand how different age-related health problems affect their diet:

  • Weaker digestive system. With age, the production of digestive fluids in the body goes down, which means it either takes much longer to process the food or isn’t able to break down food and absorb complex nutrients like Vitamin B12.
  • Decreased appetite. With age and growing ailments, many seniors begin taking a lot of medication that affects their appetite. This could either mean that the medication is covering for the lack of nutrients as senior-supplements or it is causing side-effects that include loss of appetite.
  • Slower metabolism. Metabolism slows down with age, which means that the body is not consuming enough energy. This translates into the fact that with old age, the body’s energy requirements also go down, and you need to eat healthy to stay healthy.
  • Mental health. One of the most severe side-effects of age and medication is on mental health. Many elderly suffer from loneliness, emotional imbalances, memory loss, etc. which also leads to loss of appetite.

A well-balanced diet can do the trick of providing the body whatever nutrients it needs in the right quantity. This is achieved by eating fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy, and eliminating sugar, fat, etc. in your everyday diet. As food requirements change with age, the diet needs to change too. 

How to Plan a Balanced Diet for the Elderly

  • Introduce fresh fruits and vegetables. Elders need food that is easily digestible like green vegetables. Fruits help balance the water and sugar levels in the body. Since the body is not able to break down complex sugar, it is vital to take sugar in its natural form through fruits that act as a source of energy.
  • Incorporate low-fat dairy with Vitamin D. Old age leads to weaker and sometimes brittle bones. It is, hence, essential to consume products that are rich in Vitamin D without adding fat intake. Low-fat dairy with Vitamin D, either in the form of milk, yogurt, etc. , is a good idea.
  • Reduce calories. Reduce calorie intake by avoiding food that has a high-calorie count but low nutrients. Keep an eye on how many calories any given food item contains by reading the nutrition labels. Avoid indulging too much in desserts, fried foods, junk foods, etc.
  • Take supplements. Some nutrients may get missed, even if you have a balanced diet. This could be due to allergies, medications that you are taking, or because the body is not able to absorb these properly. Consult a doctor to see if you can add supplements to your daily diet to make sure your body is getting all the required nutrients.


With age, the human body undergoes drastic changes. It becomes increasingly important to focus on healthy eating and the right nutritional intake as you grow older. As the activity levels decrease with age, so do the body’s needs for energy-generating foods. However, with organs, bones, and muscles growing older, too, they need additional nutrients to remain healthy.

Ultimately, seniors can eat baby food in controlled quantities as an addition to their existing diet. Seniors cannot solely rely on baby food for all their nutrient-need. If you plan to give the elderly any kind of baby food, make sure you read the nutrient label carefully to see how it would affect the diet, what nutrients it would provide, and how much quantity can be fed.


How To Puree Food That Seniors Will Love

There comes a time when a senior may need to have pureed food as their main diet. If that’s the case for your senior, it’s important to know how to puree food properly. This will help him get the best nutrition and calories he needs every day.

The texture and taste of foods can make a world of difference in your senior’s desire to eat. We’re providing plenty of tips for pureeing foods he’ll love with the best taste and texture. Also, check out a few of our tasty pureed recipe ideas to switch up the diet.

The Need For Easy-to-Swallow Food

Dysphagia affects between 15% and 22% of the United States population age 50 and over. The condition affects one’s ability to swallow properly. It often results in a person choking on even a small bite of food.

The risk of dysphagia increases as age increases. Illnesses that are more common in the elderly population can cause dysphagia. Many of those with Parkinson’s Disease, for example, have dysphagia.

For those in nursing homes, the prevalence of dysphagia skyrockets to 40% to 60%. Seniors in assisted living facilities often have inhibiting conditions. Many of them are highly related to dysphagia.

The prevalence of eating and swallowing difficulties in seniors calls for adjustments to their diets. Those with dysphagia often require a diet of pureed food for the elderly.

What is pureed food? It’s cooked foods that you turn into a paste form, either through blending, grinding or another method. The pureed texture helps seniors with dysphagia easily swallow their foods without a reduced risk of choking.

Tips For Easier Swallowing

Even pureed food can be difficult to swallow if someone with dysphagia doesn’t take caution when swallowing. A few ways you can make sure your senior swallows safely are:

  • Make her sit upright as she eats. She should also continue to sit upright for at least 30 minutes after a meal. This will help to move her food down to the stomach safely.
  • Alternate bites of food with different tastes and textures. The goal is to keep your senior alert while eating, so giving her palate varying foods can help.
  • Give her small bites at a time. Allow her plenty of time between bites to swallow.
  • Your senior should have a full glass of water available during a meal. Have her drink sips between bites to help move her food and keep her mouth moist.

It’s also important to make sure that both you and the senior remain distraction-free during a meal. Talk to her and keep her focused on you and her food.

What About Baby Food?

Baby food may be okay for seniors to eat. But, there’s a reason baby food is for babies and not seniors.

Baby food has a baby’s nutrition and palate in mind. If you’ve ever tasted it, you know they’re usually bland. They also may not meet the calorie and nutrition requirements your senior needs.

It’s okay to add baby food to your pureed recipes for a little extra flavor. Fruits, especially, provide some healthy sweetness for recipes. Or, some may even be used to thicken a runny recipe, especially baby food meats.

Baby foods do provide convenience for a quick meal. But, you shouldn’t rely on them to fulfill your senior’s diet. Baby food meats, in general, do not provide enough protein for seniors.

You’re better off creating your own pureed recipes that will meet the nutritional needs of your senior. Keep some baby food on hand as an easy additive to a meal, rather than the main component.

How To Make Food Seniors Can Enjoy

Learning how to puree food for the elderly isn’t difficult. With some practice, you can learn to make pureed foods that taste good. Seniors shouldn’t have to sacrifice the tastes they love so they can swallow safely.

Tips For Pureeing Foods

Pureed food for adults may not sound appetizing to most people. But, it’s very necessary for many seniors. The best thing you can do for seniors who need a pureed diet is to learn tips to make their foods delicious.

First, focus on your ingredients. If possible, you should usually opt for smooth ingredients over those with chunky additives. For example, creamy soups and smooth applesauce are better than chunky varieties for purees.

Next, your blender or food processor can make the biggest difference in your puree quality. Food processors typically have the best ability to puree foods to the proper thickness and texture. You may want to choose a processor that’s big enough to create bulk meals to store for convenience.

You can also consider purchasing molds that you can shape purees into. This can help purees seem more like the real thing. They can especially help seniors having a difficult time accepting their new diets.

The following video shows how food molds can greatly increase the appeal of a pureed meal:

Getting The Right Texture

Pureed food can easily become too runny, too thick, or too chunky. Unfortunately, the slightest texture issue can increase a senior’s resistance to eating the food.

After you puree foods, scoop some onto a spoon. If it runs off easily, it’s too runny. But, if it doesn’t move from the spoon easily enough, it could be too sticky. This can increase the risk of choking.

Try to steer clear of foods that are too watery. Drain excess liquid off foods before pureeing. Refrain from adding water, gravy, juice, or other liquid to the processor until you do a spoon test once it’s pureed.

If the food is too dry or sticky, add small amounts of flavorful liquids until the texture becomes a bit thinner. Fruit syrups and purees are perfect for thinning a mixture while also adding flavor.

Thickening Agents

It’s a little trickier to thicken pureed food than it is to thin it out. But, there are commercial thickening agents made for that purpose. However, they usually don’t provide added flavor and can affect the food’s overall taste.

Cheaper, and more flavorful, options include potato flakes or baby cereal. If you use these, make sure you mix them with hot water before adding them to your food puree. You can also use a small amount of gelatin mix to thicken runny foods.

Give It Some Flavor

The flavor of pureed foods should be the main focus for preparers to keep seniors interested. Always adhere to a senior’s diet restrictions first. But, in most cases, adding a bit of salt, sugar, or spices to enhance flavor is acceptable.

Try adding some sauce or gravy to pureed meats. Barbecue sauce, chicken broth, or condensed soup can thin, thicken, and help add flavor to bland recipes.

You can also add a small amount of butter or margarine to pureed potatoes. Or, mix in some flavored, low-fat yogurt to pureed casseroles. Honey and jellies are good choices for sweetening bland desserts and foods.

Test It Out

You don’t want to eat bland foods, and neither does your senior. It’s especially important for preparers to test the food they’ll be serving. If you don’t love the texture and taste, your senior probably won’t love it either.

Just as you would your own food, test a small spoonful of the pureed meal. If necessary, add a bit of spice or another additive to keep it flavorful. You can also check its texture to ensure it’s perfect for your senior’s swallowing needs.

Recipes Your Senior Will Love

Learning new puree recipes can give you some inspiration to keep a senior’s diet interesting.

Creamy Broccoli Cheese Soup

Create a white sauce for a base by mixing together two tablespoons of oil and butter with two to three tablespoons of flour. Once the mixture begins to bubble, you can slowly stir in one cup of skim milk. Allow it to simmer until the mixture thickens.

Puree the sauce and a cup of broccoli together. Add the mixture to a small saucepan with ¼ cup of shredded cheese. Heat until cheese is melted. Add some potato flakes to thicken, if necessary.

Beef Stew

You can modify this stew recipe to include a senior’s favorite meat and vegetables. Add about 4 ounces of beef chunks to a food processor with ½ cup of liquid, like beef gravy or broth. Add in desired vegetables, like peas, celery, and carrots, with seasoning to taste.

You can thicken the mixture with added flavor using cream of mushroom soup or potato flakes.

Yogurt And Fruit Parfait

Seniors are more likely to love their diets when they don’t feel deprived of foods they love. You can still puree yummy desserts using healthy fruits and sweeteners.

Create a replica of a fruit and yogurt parfait with your senior’s favorite fruits. Use low-fat vanilla yogurt, desired fruits, and a small amount of milk to create the right texture. Add a little low-fat whipped topping to create a creamy fruit dessert.


A pureed diet for seniors doesn’t have to be boring. There are plenty of ways preparers can keep it fun and tasty to hold their interest with new recipes and flavors.

If you’d like to share your favorite pureed food recipes and tricks, please do so in a comment below!

Recommended Articles

What is important to consider when catering for the elderly

In our country, as in the whole world, the number of the elderly population is constantly increasing. The highest rate is the increase in the number of people over 80 years old. Therefore, many countries are creating programs aimed at maintaining the activity and working capacity of the elderly population. A balanced diet plays a huge role in maintaining the health of the elderly.

The human body needs about 600 different substances to function properly. This includes proteins, fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and trace elements. The body itself synthesizes only a small part of this list. All remaining substances must be obtained from food. Not only life expectancy, but also the quality of active longevity depends on how well the nutrition scheme is built.


The gradual aging of the body is characterized by a slowdown in the intensity of metabolic processes, which are the basis of the life of any person. The science that studies the nutrition of the elderly is called gerodietetics.

Proper selection of products affects not only health, but also regulates the nature of changes occurring in all systems.

An elderly person needs less high-calorie food, as the intensity of metabolic processes is significantly reduced. The energy value of the diet:

  • in 60-70 years old is 85% compared to 20-30 years old
  • and in 70-80 years is 75%.

Therefore, the aging body has a negative effect on excess calories or excess nutrition.

Nutrition for constipation in the elderly

The digestive system undergoes a number of changes with aging:

  • there is a decrease in the functional abilities of internal organs,
  • increased hypokinesia of the gastrointestinal tract,
  • increasing body weight has a negative impact on the functioning of the digestive tract.

Changes in the motility of the gastrointestinal tract in old age leads to frequent constipation. Other causes of constipation may include:

  • changes in intestinal microflora,
  • rectal distensibility reduction,
  • decreased tone of the muscles of the pelvic floor and intestines,
  • poor dental health also affects the quality of chewing food and the quality of digestion and assimilation.

Before changing the diet or changing the menu, it is necessary to consult a specialist who will identify the causes of constipation and advise on how to properly adjust the diet.

The main recommendations of nutritionists include:

  • increasing the number of meals (in contrast to three or four meals a day in young and middle-aged people, older people need five or six meals a day),
  • cooking must be done for one serving (excessive grinding and mixing of food is not required),
  • Food temperature should be 15-60ºC.

Elderly people should take their time eating and try to chew their food as well as possible.

40% of the diet should be boiled, baked or fresh vegetables and fruits, sour milk or other dairy products, low-fat fish or meat, dark varieties of bread - rye or whole grain cereals.

It is necessary to exclude from the diet:

  • sweet soda,
  • strong tea and coffee,
  • fatty fish or meat,
  • products based on coarse fiber - cabbage, beans, peas.

Nutrition of the elderly with fractures

One of the features of the elderly is a decrease in bone density. The consequence of this is osteoporosis and a tendency to hypotraumatic fractures, which can occur with minor stress or trauma. The cause of injury may be dizziness and weakness, which are the result of a violation of the heart and blood vessels.

Metabolic disorders and unbalanced nutrition lead to the fact that the bones of the elderly grow together very slowly. You can speed up this process by adjusting your diet.

The menu for an elderly person must include:

  • dairy products (it is better if it is sour milk, cottage cheese, kefir or yogurt. It is better to exclude products from full-fat milk or butter),
  • fatty fish (you need to choose sea fish, as it has more minerals and complex omega-three fats, which are also a means of tissue repair, prepare aspic),
  • rich broth from meat and poultry (you need not so much broth as aspic or aspic),
  • fresh fruits and vegetables,
  • nuts and cereals.

You need to take vitamin and mineral supplements recommended by your gerontologist. You should not abuse calcium, as it is poorly absorbed in old age and can settle in the renal tubules and renal pelvis, forming calcium stones.

Baby food for the elderly

There are several reasons why the idea that baby food is suitable for older people.

  • Canned food is low in calories, which saves you from searching for suitable products.
  • A small portion of the finished product is placed in a jar - just enough to be enough for one time.
  • Baby food is hypoallergenic, does not contain salt, dyes and preservatives.
  • The kids' menu is varied and balanced, suitable for the elderly.

But, despite the huge number of advantages, baby food will not satisfy the elderly.

  • It does not contain spices and condiments, and if an old man can eat them, he will be dissatisfied with the insipid and similar taste and mashed beef and homemade chicken.
  • Baby food does not contain fiber and fibers that stimulate the elderly's bowels. It is designed for the undeveloped gastrointestinal tract of the baby.
  • Constantly eating food from jars means risking anemia. The food does not contain all the necessary vitamin and mineral components.

Baby food is expensive. If an elderly person has a desire, he can enjoy food for babies from time to time, but you can’t eat like that every day.

Nutrition for the elderly after 80 years

Nutrition plays a decisive role in slowing down the aging process. Upon reaching the age of 80, nutrition should not only support the body, it should resist tissue sclerosis.

Features of the nutrition of older people who have overcome the eighty-year milestone are that the excessive overregulation of the menu and the rigid regime of the day cause appetite suppression.

In addition, even if you eat low-calorie meals 6 times a day in small portions, an elderly person will still gain weight. Therefore, if he refuses to eat, then the next meal should be skipped.

Meat and fish dishes, as well as foods containing a large amount of calories, are best eaten in the morning.

Dinner is better not to salt, and prefer light dairy products. Spicy, spicy and fried dishes are best used in the morning in small quantities and only to stimulate the appetite.

It is necessary to exclude from the diet products containing cholesterol, which contributes to vascular sclerosis - animal fats and oils, replacing them with vegetable ones.

It is also worth removing sugary foods from the diet - jam, cakes and sugar.

Stewed and boiled vegetables and salads are the best solution. From drinks it is better to choose weak tea and coffee, vegetable and fruit juices without sugar.

How to organize proper nutrition for the elderly yourself

People who have reached retirement age are still full of energy and desires. They are not only interested in various diets, but are also able to find and stick to the most intricate of them. The main thing in this is not to overdo it. The health of the elderly is fragile and easily damaged.

Unfortunately, older people in their 80s need to have their diets and meals monitored. They not only cannot provide themselves with a balanced diet, but due to age, they simply forget about food. There are times when old people have to be hospitalized due to severe exhaustion.

If an elderly person reaches the age of 80 and no one cares for him, then he will not be able to independently provide himself with a balanced diet. The best solution in this case is to assign him to a specialized boarding house, where specialists will look after him. If the old man is being well cared for at home, a specialist in gerodietetics should be consulted to ensure proper nutrition.

Can adults eat baby food: benefits and harms

Natalia Kurzova / Adobe Stock

Now we will talk about the benefits and harms of products made specifically for children. These include fruit and vegetable purees, juices and nectars, yoghurts and curds, cereals and various snacks for the little ones.

Pluses of baby food

No harmful components

It is clear that baby food is made specifically for babies. Therefore, they do not add harmful additives, dyes, flavors, a bunch of sugar and salt. Not a single ingredient in the composition should cause an allergy or any disorder in a baby - which means that such food is safe for an adult. Moreover, manufacturers are strictly looked after - all children's products undergo a thorough check, and only then they get on the shelves in stores.

Tasty and convenient

Children's curds, cereals and purees with a sweet fruity taste can easily replace high-calorie cakes and other "adult" desserts. Some may also like cookies in cute little packages.

Speaking of packaging. Kids are not physically able to eat a lot, so for them everything is laid out in small portions. And these jars and packaging are very convenient to take with you for a walk, to school or university.

Low Calorie

Children's fruit and vegetable purees, and in such tiny portions, are very, very few calories! Some stars even specifically switch to only baby food in order to lose weight. So, for example, did Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.

Ready to follow suit? Well, slow down. Now let's talk about why you shouldn't do this.

Disadvantages of baby food

Not enough essential nutrients

Yes, these delicious purees contain only useful things and nothing harmful. But do not forget that this is still baby food. That is, it is made specifically for babies - taking into account the peculiarities of digestion of young children. And the body of an adult, you know, is very different. An adult needs a lot more fiber and dietary fiber - otherwise problems with the intestines will begin.

Sometimes it's not so tasty

Taste is both a plus and a minus of baby food.

Learn more