Millions of older Americans have diets that lack the essential nutrients they need to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Many at-home seniors simply lose interest in grocery shopping and meal preparation, and for others the prospect of eating alone just isn’t appetizing. When providing care for an aging in place loved one, it’s oftentimes a struggle to prepare them a healthy meal after your workday is over. What follows are several nutritious meals for seniors you can use that will also save you some valuable time.
Plan Your Meals for Seniors in Advance
Start by planning out your senior’s weekly dinner menu in advance while including these time-saving steps:
Write Out a Meal Plan
Sit down on Sunday and plan out your senior’s dinners for the entire week. For one, this will help eliminate special trips to the grocery that you probably don’t have time for with your own busy household to manage. Write your weekly dinner “menu” down, and share it with your loved one ahead of time so they won’t feel overwhelmed or surprised. Try to include ingredients from the 4 essential food groups in each meal.
Enlist Their Help
Ask for your senior’s assistance in preparing food for upcoming dinners. This will not only reduce your workload, but your loved one will feel more invested in their meals as they look forward to sharing time with you each day.
Prepare Versatile Ingredients in Bulk
The whole idea of advanced meal planning is to make your life easier, not harder. Instead of trying to prepare each dinner individually from scratch, make up large batches of certain ingredients that you can use more than once during the week. For example, wash and cut up some fresh vegetables, and store them in tightly-sealed containers in the fridge for later use. Shredded cooked chicken stored the same way can also be used for several dishes during the week.
5 Quick and Nutritious Meals for Seniors
To assist your efforts when compiling your weekly dinner plan, here are a few of the quick dishes you can prepare that also pack a lot of nutritional value:
1. Baked Alaskan salmon (Cooking time: 15 minutes)
Garnish each pre-thawed salmon steak with diced tomatoes, onion, dried or fresh basil, chopped garlic and one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. Wrap each piece of fish tightly in aluminum foil, and place it in the oven on low heat (300 degrees). In about 15 minutes, the fish should be flaky, yet still moist. Serve with steamed veggies or a side of applesauce.
2. Shrimp and pasta (Cooking time: 15 minutes)
Heat up a tablespoon each of butter and virgin olive oil in a saucepan. Add some chopped fresh herbs, garlic, and a handful of fresh shrimp. Stir the mixture over medium heat (10 minutes or so) until the shrimp is cooked. Place the shrimp and herbs on a bed of cooked pasta, and top off with some freshly chopped tomatoes.
3. Beans and rice (Cooking time: 20 minutes)
Warm up a can of pinto, white or black beans, and serve them with cooked brown rice, barley or oats. To save time, you can warm up the entire meal in a crockpot ahead of time, and serve it when your loved one is hungry.
4. Liver and fennel (Cooking time: 10 to 15 minutes)
Keeping the liver slices from overlapping in a skillet, brown each side in extra virgin olive oil for 2 to 4 minutes. Top with chopped fennel, red onion and cabbage. Cover the skillet and then steam over medium heat until the liver is tender.
5. Southwest chicken salad (Cooking time: 20 to 30 minutes)
Place a boneless, skinless chicken breast in a skillet with extra virgin olive oil and cook each side over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes. When it’s done, shred the chicken and add mild salsa for a tasty Southwestern dish that won’t be too hard on your senior’s digestive system. The resulting chicken/salsa mixture can also be used later in the week for a salad, wrap or soup.
Nutritious and Delicious Meals for Seniors
Finding time as a caregiver to prepare healthy dinners for an aging loved one can be frustrating. When you need a hand, call upon the nutritious meal planning and preparation experts at Cranberry Home Care. From grocery shopping, to meal preparation and cleanup, our experienced aides provide at-home seniors with the creative and healthy food ideas they need to keep them aging in place comfortably right where they want to be.
While in your senior’s home, our highly trained and thoroughly screened aides can also perform services like light housework, personal hygiene, medication reminders, transportation and companionship; all delivered in a flexibly tailored package when and where you need us. To schedule a FREE in-home consultation, or to learn more about the family trusted senior home care services Cranberry Home Care offers in the Middleboro, MA, area, please visit: www.cranberryhomecare.com now!