As people age, “tea and toast syndrome” starts to become a real problem.
Tea and toast syndrome happens when seniors don’t, or can’t, prepare nutritious meals for themselves, and end up relying on simple fare such as tea and toast. This can happen because of factors such as a senior’s reduced mobility, changes in appetite, and fatigue.
Known as a form of malnutrition, tea and toast syndrome causes a deficiency of macronutrients like protein and fat as well as important vitamins. Warning signs and symptoms of malnutrition include unintended weight loss, tiredness, loss of strength, constipation, weak immune system, and poor wound healing.
According to Stats Canada, “Almost a million (an estimated 979,000) Canadians aged 65 or older are at nutritional risk.”
However! There are easy ways to adjust your tea and toast meal so that it's more nutritious but just as easy to make.
5 Ways to add some extra nutrition
1. Add a boiled egg, or two.
Boiled eggs can be prepared in batches ahead of time and are a really easy add-on for protein. Eggs also have nine essential amino acids. The body doesn’t naturally produce amino acids, so they need to be added into our diet. Eggs.ca has a lot of information about the nutritional benefits of eggs, but simply put: eggs are simple to add to a meal and they pack a punch.
If you are not an experienced boiled egger expert, not to worry! Try these easy steps.
- Put the desired amount of eggs into a pot of water, making sure to cover the eggs completely.
- Bring the pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn a timer on for 9 minutes. (That’s for hard-boiled eggs; if you want to soft-boil your eggs so that they have a runny yolk, it’s 4 minutes.)
- Once the 9 minutes have passed, plunge the eggs into ice water. You can either eat them warm after a few minutes, or store them in the fridge until you’re ready to eat them.
For instructions on how to boil eggs in the microwave, head over to Just Microwave it for all the ways to cook them.
2. Add some collagen to your tea!
Collagen is the “glue” that helps hold the body together and is the most abundant protein in the body. Collagen keeps your skin firm and elastic, your joints strong and stable, and your digestive system healthy and working. It can also help support deep sleep.
However, as we age and use our bodies for movement, collagen levels in our bodies naturally decline.
Tea is a great delivery method for collagen, as it simply dissolves in your brew in no time, with no taste! One scoop of collagen powder offers approximately 9 gm of protein.
Organika (a Canadian company) is one collagen product currently available.
3. Make avocado toast
Although often considered a vegetable, did you know that an avocado is actually considered a berry? Avocados are also known as “good fat.” According to Healthline, avocados are packed with the macronutrients of fat and protein essential in a healthy diet. Eating an avocado adds vitamins C, E and K to your diet, and will also add 14 grams of fiber.
Avocados can be a bit of a tough customer when it comes to keeping them from going brown, especially when you want to prepare ahead of time. Sprinkling the cut side with lemon juice and storing the leftover avocado with the pit still in can do the trick. CookingLight has a few more suggestions on how to work with your new nutritional BFF!
4. Add some sliced meat to your meal.
Again, boosting your meal with protein is a nutritional bonus in many ways. Adding some sliced turkey or ham to your meals is a quick and easy fix. Instead of buying a whole package of pre-sliced meats, you can ask for just a few slices from your local butcher or deli counter at the grocery store. Cleveland Clinic has a great list of ways to select the best meats. This may not be an everyday solution, but still a good add a few times a week!
5. Keep your toast, but make it whole wheat or whole grain.
Whole wheat bread adds a world of nutritional benefits to your diet! Complex cabs leave you full for longer and the fiber will help with digestion. For additional health benefits, head over to VeryWellFit for the complete list.
Instead of making a syndrome out of your tea and toast, make it a meal that will fuel you throughout the day! We’ve offered a few easy ways to add extra nutrients, fiber and proteins into your diet without a ton of extra effort. Many are easy to prepare beforehand if you are making meals for yourself or a loved one.
If you’re having trouble keeping up with groceries or meal prep, or if you’re feeling a bit isolated, why not consider looking into retirement living? Most independent retirement homes serve home-cooked meals (which means they are also taking care of the groceries), freeing up your time to hang out with new friends and do other things you love.
Haven’t thought about it before? No problem! Dip your toe into the lifestyle with our easy-to-read book Breadcrumbs, piecing together the retirement living industry.