Nutritious Home Meals for Single Seniors

Independent Living

October 12, 2021
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Cooking for one is a chore that requires a lot of planning and work. As a senior, you need to make sure your body is fuelled with the right nutrients to keep you healthy and strong. Luckily, grocery delivery and prepared meal options help relieve the burden of daily cooking for seniors. 

Home-cooked meals are often regarded as the most healthy and contain the least amount of processed foods. Feeling unmotivated to cook for yourself while stuck at home all day? Here are some easy meal planning and preparation tips for single seniors living at home. 

Seniors Need to Eat Nutrient-Dense Meals

Older adults are more prone to muscle mass loss because of a combination of a lack of exercise and low growth hormone production. Eating healthy, balanced, and nutritious meals is one way to make sure you can maintain your body. 

Adjust the size of your plate to your appetite. Seniors require less calories than working-class adults due to changes in activity levels. Make yourself a plate that you know you can finish and go back for seconds if you need it. Piling up too much food can leave you overwhelmed and anxious about finishing your meal. 

 

Step 1: Plan your week

Since most of us are spending a lot more time at home than we used to, it is wise to map out your meals for the week. This doesn’t mean that you need to print out the exact recipes of each dish (unless you want to), but having a general idea of the ingredients you need helps.

Many ingredients like leafy greens, rice, beans, chicken breast, and cheese can be used to create a wide range of hot and cold meals. It is recommended to keep your sugar intake low, so opt for fruits instead of sugary baked goods when possible. 

 

Eating Nutritious Meals: Making a Grocery List

You are what you eat! Nourish yourself with some ingredients like:

  • Fresh fruits and vegetables in season or frozen options when they are not in season
  • Leafy green vegetables like kale, spinach, bok choy, swiss chard, watercress, or arugula
  • Low-fat dairy products fortified with vitamin D like yogurt, cheese, or milk
  • Healthy fats such as eggs, nuts, avocados, or extra virgin olive oil
  • Lean proteins including chicken breast, chickpeas, beans, or lean ground beef


Step 2: Grocery Shopping

There are so many options for groceries, whether you choose to go to the store yourself or have them delivered to you. Most grocery stores now offer free delivery, so check which stores are near you. You can also hire a driver, grocery delivery person, or companion to help you with your weekly shopping on sites like Caremada

It’s easier to grocery shop when you have a plan for what meals you want to eat throughout the week. Make a list, and stick to your budget!

 

Step 3: Cooking

Cooking can be the highlight of your day or the part that you dread the most, depending on how much you like cooking. Luckily, there are options to hire help at home. 

  • Hire a home cook or meal preparation chef
  • Many will also offer to include grocery shopping as part of their services too. 
  • Subscribe to a meal kit service that will deliver groceries and recipes straight to your door
  • Look for Meals on Wheels programs in your area that will deliver ready-to-eat meals

 

Step 4: Reflect on your Meals

Reflecting on your diet is key. You want to nourish yourself with your food. Keep it fresh by asking yourself questions like:

  • Did you like your meals this week? 
  • How did you feel while eating your dinner? 
  • How did you feel after eating? 
  • Would you make the dish again?

Think back to which meals were easiest to make and easy to digest. Make changes to your weekly list to add or take out an item. Eating the same few meals everyday can get old, so try out some seasonal recipes if you can. If you are feeling lonely during meal times, consider companion or virtual companion options. Eating alone can result in too many unhealthy meals, an unbalanced diet, and not eating enough among seniors. 

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