Every senior knows that it’s extra important to prioritize good nutrition as they grow older. However, it can be hard for them to cook and prepare nutritious meals for several reasons.
For one, some older adults don’t have the energy to grocery shop anymore or do the taxing activities that come with cooking. Others might have a health condition, emotional struggle, or physical difficulties hindering them from fashioning nutritious meals.
As a result of these challenges, seniors often eat poorly, causing them to experience a slow decline in their physical health, leading to severe malnutrition.
This is why it’s important for family members and caregivers in senior living communities to observe and pay attention to their senior loved ones. Maybe they just need a little bit of motivation and inspiration to start cooking again. Or perhaps they need new ideas and healthy recipes that are both easy to do and nutritious.
Regardless, proper nutrition is essential, so you should find ways on how your senior loved one can eat healthily again. To help you start planning, here are six quick, easy, and healthy meals you and your loved one can cook and enjoy.
You probably heard this one, but breakfast is indeed the most important meal of the day, especially for seniors who require more energy to function throughout the day. Their morning meals should both be healthy and filling, so make sure to pack a lot of protein in them while balancing the meal out by adding fruits, veggies, and whole grains.
Oatmeal with Fresh Fruits and Boiled Egg
Warm oatmeal is such an easy to prepare snack that’s also both tasty and enjoyable. Cooking a cup of oatmeal in hot water already gives seniors their daily fiber needs, which is good for digestion. Then add fresh berries, bananas, or peaches on top to provide some flavor and much-needed vitamins. Lastly, prepare a hard boiled egg on the side to satisfy their protein needs.
Avocado toast is a trending dish right now because of its delicious and easy-to-cook nature. But unbeknownst to many people, it’s also a significantly healthy breakfast as it has everything you need for the morning: protein, fiber, healthy fats, and healthy carbs. So first, toast your bread. Then, scoop out your avocado and mash it in a bowl. Add a pinch of salt, herbs, and garlic if you like. Mix it well, then spread it onto your toast!
After a protein-rich breakfast, it’s time to devour a vegetable-filled lunch to get the essential vitamins and minerals that your senior loved one needs for the day.
It can be difficult for the elderly to squeeze in some time to prepare something to eat during the mid-day. That’s why it’s essential to stick with quick and easy recipes that seniors can do in their senior living communities. This includes:
Veggie Berry Chicken Salad
Prepare a quarter cup of blueberries or strawberries, chopped celery, torn spinach, green peas, and olive oil mayonnaise. Also, prepare some chopped or shredded leftover chicken breast.
Whisk your mayo, sugar, dried tarragon, and other flavorings you usually put in your salad mix. Mix all of the other ingredients in your dressing, then voila—a hearty salad lunch!
Grilled Salmon Wraps
You can use canned Alaskan boneless salmon for this or grill your own boneless and skinless marinated salmon for 8 to 10 minutes. Chop the salmon into bite-sized pieces and place it on a whole grain wrap. Add some chopped avocados, tomatoes, spinach, and plain yogurt.
Some other lunch recipes you can try include an omelet with cheese and veggies, stir-fry vegetables, quinoa salad, pasta and peas, and beef and barley soup.
Another way to achieve healthy meals is to incorporate nutritious ingredients and beneficial cooking methods. For example, you can try sauteing, grilling, baking, or broiling to keep most of the foods’ nutrients intact. Additionally, use olive oil and other healthy oils as a source of omega 3 fatty acids.
Shrimp and Whole Grain Pasta
Cook your shrimp using non-fat butter and a tablespoon of olive oil. Mix it with some herbs and spices to give it the flavor you desire. Then, add it on top of your preferred kind of pasta, garnished with freshly chopped tomatoes.
Your cooked pasta takes care of your senior loved one’s fiber and micronutrient needs. So you just need to pair it with foods rich in protein and omega fats for added healthiness. Besides shrimp, pasta would also go nicely with grilled chicken breast, tuna, and green leafy vegetables.
Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Garlic Potatoes
Cover your chicken (whole or breast) with olive oil and flavor it with freshly chopped herbs. Then, roast it on top of your chopped onions, carrots, and parsnips.
For the potatoes, cut them into quarters and place them in a bowl with pre-mixed olive oil, pepper, salt, and garlic. Make sure all the potatoes are well-coated before roasting them in the oven. Once it is brown and crispy, remove it and then season with parsley until it’s good for your taste buds.
Besides the chicken, you can also make lamb, turkey, and salmon your main dish. Then, just add a side of fresh greens or mixed veggies to finish the entree.
Older adults also need snacks and desserts in between meals, just as you do. However, you should make sure to serve them dishes still on the nutritious side of the spectrum to maintain a healthy body. Some of these are extremely easy to make that even your loved one can do this by themselves.
- Greek yogurt parfait mixed with berries or peach slices
- Frozen banana or grapes
- Baked sweet potato chips
- Hummus with cucumber and carrot slices
- Celery and nut butter
- Blueberry almond smoothie (contains unsweetened almond milk, blueberries, almond butter, chia seeds, and flax seeds)
- Green smoothie (contains peeled orange, kiwi, romaine lettuce, and spinach.
Caregivers in senior living communities can also encourage residents to eat healthy meals and snacks. In addition, they can help in preparing dishes so seniors can get ideas on what to cook.