Published: October 13, 2022
While there is no one tip that will work for everyone, there are a few ideas you can incorporate into your week that will help make cooking easier on you and your older loved one.
- Make a plan and write it down. Sit down on a Sunday and plan out your loved one’s meals for the entire week. This will help you avoid making several trips to the grocery store during a busy work week. Write down the menu for the week and put it in a place where your loved one can easily access it. Knowing ahead of time what is planned will make it less overwhelming for seniors whether they are the ones cooking or not.
- Make meal prep a group project. Enlist your loved one’s help in prepping for the week’s meals. Not only will you get assistance (and company), but they’ll feel more invested in what they are eating and will enjoy having a weekly project to look forward to.
- Prep versatile ingredients for the week. Meal prep is supposed to make your life easier, not more difficult. Instead of trying to prep each meal individually, start by prepping certain foods that make more than one appearance in the week’s meal plan. For instance, cook enough quinoa for the week or wash and chop vegetables and put them in tightly sealed containers in the refrigerator. This will ensure that no one is starting from zero when they begin cooking the meal.
Healthy and easy meals for seniors
From breakfast to dinner (and snacks in between), these are great meals for seniors that pack a seriously nutritious punch.
Good sources of protein are important with every meal, but especially with breakfast, as seniors are just beginning their day. While a frequent component of a balanced breakfast, nuts and seeds can be difficult for some seniors to digest, so Karr suggests looking to avocados as a substitute.
“Good sources of protein are important with every meal, but especially with breakfast.”
- Warm oatmeal and berries. Place frozen or fresh berries in a crockpot at a low heat setting. Add a pat of butter and one serving of old-fashioned oats and water. Cover and cook on low for several hours (or overnight). This will give it the consistency of bread pudding. (The easier option is adding berries to warm oatmeal.)
- A hard-boiled egg. Accompany with a side of fresh fruit and a slice of whole wheat toast.
- Whole grain pancakes or waffles. If you can find one, choose a brand that contains chia seed, which Karr says is more stable than flaxseed and contains essential fatty acids and proteins. Then top with fresh berries. For protein, also eat a handful of walnuts or almonds.
- Yogurt parfait. Mix together yogurt, nuts and fruit. It’s a good combo of healthy fat, Vitamin C and carbohydrates.
- Power toast. For healthy fat and some protein, spread peanut butter or almond butter on whole wheat toast. Enjoy fresh fruit on the side.
- Poached egg. Place egg on top of whole wheat toast and steamed asparagus. Top with a small amount of butter.
Lunch is the ideal meal for loading up on colorful vegetables. Feel free to add leafy greens to any of these meals for additional midday nutrients. Lunch should be the most substantial meal of your loved one’s day and suggests steaming or sautéing all vegetables for easy chewing.
- Quinoa salad. Sauté pre-chopped stir-fry vegetables (onion, red pepper, mushrooms). Combine with pine nuts or pecans and cooked quinoa. Toss with Italian salad dressing. Eat fresh, warm or cold. Keeps well refrigerated. Steam or sauté vegetables in olive oil instead of boiling, which drains the nutrients.
- Eggs and red potatoes. Melt a pat of butter in a skillet. Chop up potatoes and add to skillet over a medium heat. Cover skillet for two minutes. Then, pour scrambled eggs over potatoes, add pepper and toss until eggs are hot. Rather than season with salt, which can lead to water retention and high blood pressure, use fresh herbs and spices.
- Cottage fries. Slice parboiled red potatoes. Heat extra virgin olive oil in a skillet and cook the potatoes at a medium heat. Top with leftover vegetables and grated sharp cheddar cheese. Cover, let steam and serve.
- Southwest omelet. Beat two eggs. Put 1 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet. Pour in the egg mixture, and add pepper jack cheese chunks and natural salsa or chili sauce. When eggs are firm, fold and serve with sliced avocado. Tip: Chili and spices help boost diminished taste buds.
- Salmon wrap. Place canned Alaskan boneless skinless salmon on a whole grain wrap. Add chopped avocado, tomatoes, greens and plain yogurt. Wrap tightly, cut in half and serve.
“Research is supporting lower calorie plans with intermittent fasting and high fat for seniors,” as this approach helps support brain function and reduce inflammation.