Spice it Up: How to Add Flavor and Tickle to Your Taste Buds

Spice it Up!

Have you noticed an increasing number of foods that just seem way too bland and flavorless?! What about an overpowering taste coming from your dentures?1 If you are noticing changes in how foods taste and are getting frustrated with eating foods that seem bland and unappetizing, you are not alone.

As we age, changes occur to our bodies that can minimize and alter the flavor of foods.1 Loss of taste buds and taste interference from medications and denture adhesive can decrease the enjoyment we get out of eating and can cause a decrease in the amount we eat.1,2 About 1/3 of older adults report experiencing changes and dissatisfaction in their sense of taste, and it is likely that even more people are affected!1 If you are experiencing these changes, I’ve got some great ideas to bring flavor back into your meals!

A huge variety of items such as herbs, spices, and sauces can help breathe new life into old food favorites! These items can provide an easy way to bring BIG flavor back to your meals. Try pouring fruit sauces and jams made from peaches and pineapple over chicken and pork dishes.3 Dry rubs that include herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme and ginger can be used to enhance the flavor of chicken, beef, pork and fish.1,3 Vegetables like potatoes, broccoli, and greens can be cooked in butter and covered with cream or cheese sauces to decrease bitterness and increase taste.3

These are just a few ideas of ways to increase flavor and bring back the joy that comes from eating your favorite foods. Since the flavors that appeal most to you can be different from those of your friends and family, try a variety of sauces, spices, herbs and see what tastes best to you!3 The enjoyment and health benefits that comes from food can only happen if we eat3, so get the most out of your meals, you deserve it!

Helpful Handouts:

Handout_How to Add Flavor

herb suggestions

Herbs and how to use handout

Guest Blogger:  Lauren Paynter


1. Rawson, N. E. (2003). Age-related changes in perception of flavor and aroma. Generations (San Francisco, Calif.), 27(1), 20-26.

2. Mathey, A., Siebelink, E., de Graaf, C., and Van Staveren, W. (2001). Flavor Enhancement of Food Improves Dietary Intake and Nutritional Status of Elderly Nursing Home Residents. Journal of Gerontology: Medical Sciences. Vol.56A(4), M200-M205.

3. Bernstein, Melissa, and Ann Schmidt. Luggen. “Chapter 6: Smell and Taste in Older Adults.”Nutrition for the Older Adult. Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett, 2010. 93-98.

3 responses

  1. Pingback: Don’t feel “TRAPed” with Parkinson’s | 3 Square Meals

  2. Pingback: Happy National Registered Dietitian (RD) Day!: 5 Reasons to see an RD and a Food Challenge | 3 Square Meals

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