Millions of aging in place elderly Americans don’t get the daily nutrition they need. Although people over the age of 65 don’t require the same amount of energy they used to, their bodies still need essential nutrients like fats, proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates to keep them active and independent.
If you’re currently looking to provide some nutritious meals for seniors, or maybe just for that one special loved one, what follows are several nutritional meal preparation ideas to help keep them healthier and happier.
Why Seniors Don’t Eat Right
The diets of many seniors lack the proper daily nutrients they need for reasons like:
- Decreased appetite
- Loss of taste
- Loneliness and depression
- Trouble getting to the grocery
- Chewing and swallowing difficulties
- Lack of energy or interest
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a chronic disease, like heart disease, diabetes or high blood pressure, poor nutrition can further place their health and wellbeing at risk.
Benefits of Good Nutrition
On the other hand, when an older person eats a healthy diet containing the essential nutrients their body needs, it benefits them in these ways:
- Faster healing times
- Stronger immunity
- Increased energy levels
- Sharpens mental acuity
- Helps prevent vision loss
- Promotes a better night’s sleep
Now that you’ve seen the importance of your senior eating healthier, it’s time to explore some time-saving ways to prepare nutritious meals for seniors that’ll make it happen.
If you typically cook meals in their home, the first step is stocking up on nutritious foods so you can prepare the ingredients in advance. Go grocery shopping and stockpile their pantry and fridge with healthy foods like cereals, soups, fresh or frozen veggies and fruits, whole-grain rice and breads, pastas, yogurt, canned beans and jarred pasta sauces. If your loved one has a chronic disease, low sodium and high fiber foods are going to be a safe choice.
Meal Planning and Preparation
Preparing nutritious meals for seniors everyday can be exhausting, especially when you have your own household to manage. Organize all pots, pans, cooking equipment and utensils in easily accessible spots ahead of time. And, make sure that you have a crockpot available. Maintain a safe cooking environment when you’re not around, especially if your senior deals with cognitive impairment.
Next, plan out the meals for the upcoming week with their specific nutritional needs in mind. For example:
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Crockpot oatmeal
- Whole grain pancakes or waffles
- Toast and peanut butter
- Yogurt parfaits
- Veggie and cheese omelets
- Fish dishes
- Stir-fry dishes
- Fresh salads with lots of veggies
- Liver and veggies (crockpot or stovetop)
- Whole-grain rice and beans (crockpot or stovetop)
- Pasta with shrimp or chicken (crockpot or stovetop)
- Salads with chicken and veggies
Using your menu, prepare some ingredients in advance as a time-saver during the week. Foods that can be cut up beforehand include fruits, veggies meats and cheeses. You can even pre-cook something like boneless chicken breasts and keep the shredded meat in a sealed container in the fridge to heat up later. If your senior wants a snack during the day, the cut-up fruits and veggies are much healthier than chips or cookies. With the ingredients ready to go, you can usually cook and plate a meal within a half hour or so.
Try a Meal Delivery Service
Another option you have is to hire a meal delivery service for your senior, like:
Most of these services offer to-the-door deliveries and nutritious foods for seniors with special dietary requirements. You can also work with a licensed professional home care agency that offers grocery shopping and meal preparation services.
Nutritious Meals for Seniors in Northern Alabama
Preparing nutritious meals for a senior loved one is hard when you have your own hungry crew to feed or live far away. When you need a hand, call Seniors Prefer Homecare. Our well trained and carefully screened caregivers can assist your loved one with all their grocery shopping and meal preparation needs while serving as an extended family in the home. While there, our fully licensed and insured aides can also perform duties like light housekeeping, personal hygiene, medication reminders, transportation and companionship.
And, all our family trusted home care amenities can be flexibly combined in an affordable package that’ll put your mind at ease. To learn more about Seniors Prefer Homecare, or to schedule a FREE, in-home consultation for a senior in Birmingham, Tuscaloosa or Huntsville, AL, please visit: www.seniorspreferhomecare.com now!