While retirement may bring you more time to cook and perfect the dishes you most love to make, age can affect your appetite and taste. Here are five surprising things that may change about your taste as you age.
As you get older, your body requires less energy, meaning you may eat less overall. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t desire to eat any less. It simply means it’s important that you make what you eat count and pack nutrients into those smaller portions. If you’re having trouble figuring out how many servings to eat every day, check out this version of USDA’s “My Pyramid,” which has been adjusted specifically for mature adults.
Just because you need fewer calories doesn’t mean it’ll be easy to eat less. This is especially true if you love to snack or eat more out of habit than hunger. While you won’t become obese overnight, consistent over eating can lead to obesity-related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.
As we get older, our sense of smell tends to become weaker. Because smell is one of the main components of flavor, it can affect how food tastes. You may not notice how strong bleu cheese smells, for example, as you get older.
If you’ve been a life-long foodie, retirement will give you a chance to spend more time in the kitchen, if that’s what you like to do! Even though you’ll have more free time to prepare complicated dishes, you may find that prep work takes longer, too. Arthritis and weakening vision can extend the amount of time it takes you to do tasks. Consider investing in measuring cups that have large, easy-to-read numbers and peelers and knives that have softer grips that are easier to hold onto.
Additionally, one prep trick that may save you time is to buy semi-prepared foods at the grocery store. Zucchini that has already been spiralized or a rotisserie chicken can save you tons of prep work at home!
…And you may not be able to eat firmer textures that you once enjoyed. While the number of people who experience losing a full set of teeth has decreased over time, certain textures may be difficult or painful to eat. For example, think corn on the cob.
You may also experience some change in your sense of taste, but this usually doesn’t change as dramatically as your sense of smell. However, you may still lean toward one of the five taste qualities—sweet, sour, bitter, acid, and umami. For many people, they respond most to sweet flavors.
Ultimately, not everyone will experience all of these changes. However, it’s best to be prepared and know what could be down the road.
How has your taste changed with age? Let us know in the comments!