Senior Nutrition: Quick, Healthy Meal Ideas for Older Adults

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cooked chicken and vegetables

Cooking for one can be challenging. The COVID-19 crisis has made it more difficult as many older adults continue to avoid grocery stores. It may cause seniors to forgo fresh meals and choose foods that are more convenient.

Unfortunately, “convenience” foods are often high in preservatives and low in key nutrients aging bodies need. With a little planning and preparation, older adults won’t have to sacrifice safety for nutrition or vice versa.

4 Tips for Eating Well during Retirement

  1. Meal planning

Meeting nutrition requirements isn’t always easy, especially for seniors who live alone. Many feel cooking for one is a waste of time and food. Meal planning sites can be a solution.

These sites share one-serving recipes. Meals are designed to save single people time and money while minimizing waste. You can use one of these sites to plan ahead. When you have a solid set of menus for the week, you are less likely to reach for packaged foods or fast foods.

There are a variety of meal planning sites to choose from, including Fresh 20 and Dish Kitchen. Fresh 20 offers a menu plan called “The Fresh 20 for One.” It gives members access to healthy one-serving recipes along with shopping lists. You can opt for vegan, gluten-free, paleo, and other specialty meals. Costs vary depending upon which option you choose. While it’s less structured, One Dish Kitchen is another site to explore. You’ll find single serving recipes for breakfast, desserts, dinner, and more.

  1. Meal kit delivery services

Even before the coronavirus pandemic began, many older adults found these services helpful. Now that so many seniors are avoiding public shopping venues, meal kit delivery services are more popular than ever. They deliver recipes and ingredients for healthy meals. Some come with ingredients that are already chopped and ready to cook.

HelloFresh and Home Chef are two examples. Both deliver quick and healthy meal kits. Ingredients arrive pre-portioned, so there is very little prep time. Both companies can accommodate special diets, such as low-calorie or vegetarian.

  1. Home-delivered meals

While similar to meal kits, home-delivered meals have an important difference: they are prepared and cooked. Seniors only need to reheat them. These services are a good choice for seniors who have mobility challenges or simply don’t want to cook.

Silver Cuisine is designed specifically for adults over 65. Seniors can select a plan that meets their personal situation. Options include diabetic-friendly, low-sodium, heart-healthy, and gluten-free meals.

  1. Restaurant services

One change even rural communities have witnessed due to the COVID-19 crisis is greater availability of curbside meal pick-up and home delivery. More restaurants are willing to accommodate guests who can’t come inside for a sit-down meal. These services provide more ready-to-eat food options.

If your favorite restaurants don’t deliver, Grubhub and DoorDash work with a variety of restaurants. Food will be delivered to your door within a given time frame.

The Importance of Nutrition for Seniors

A well-balanced diet is vital for people of all ages, including seniors. A poor diet can lead to malnutrition, which can put older adults at higher risk for everything from heart disease to falls. At Five Star Senior Living communities, we take nutrition seriously. Visit Dining & Nutrition to learn more about our chef-inspired meals and dining options.