A nutritious diet is a cornerstone of healthy aging, so the next time you visit your elderly loved ones you might want to bring along a healthy and delicious dish. Ideally, the food you are cooking for seniors should be easy to reheat and enjoy again. This will ensure that your loved ones are eating well when you’re not around. The National Institutes of Health indicates that a well-balanced diet can reduce the risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, some forms of cancer, and anemia, which will help your elderly relatives live independently and stay healthy longer.
When you’re cooking for seniors you need to consider what will last longest. By preparing freezable meals, you’ll spend less time preparing meals, leaving more time to bond with your aging relatives.
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so don’t forget about whipping up a good morning meal when cooking for seniors. Eggs are a great source of protein, and they can be cooked in countless ways. They can also be frozen and reheated in the microwave, making it quick and easy for your elderly relatives to heat up a tasty, nutritious breakfast.
Pancakes and waffles are also freezable. Just make a big batch, package up the leftovers, and freeze them. Then, to reheat them, your senior only needs to pop them in the toaster. Pancakes and waffles can be made healthier by swapping out various ingredients. Substitute rolled oats for flour and bananas or apple sauce for butter and eggs.
Soup is a great choice; it’s warm and filling. You can make hundreds of soups using healthy ingredients like kale, beans, lentils, and any number of vegetables. Kale in particular is a great ingredient. It’s loaded with vitamins A and C and calcium. Opt for vegetable stock over chicken or beef stock as a base, and choose low-sodium options to create healthier soups. You can use any vegetables your elderly relatives like to create unique soups that you can then freeze and reheat later. According to FoodSafety.gov, soups and stews will last two to three months in the freezer.
If you’ve used a slow cooker before, you know just how easy it is to create a tasty meal. All you need to do is throw all of your ingredients into the pot and turn it on. In a few hours you’ll have a ready-made meal. When cooking for seniors, you have two options. First, you can prepare bags of ingredients to refrigerate or freeze until your elderly relatives are ready to eat. All they have to do is defrost a bag and put the ingredients in a slow cooker in the morning. Dinner will be ready when it’s time to eat.
You can also use your own slow cooker to whip up a tasty meal and refrigerate the leftovers, so your senior loved one doesn’t have to worry about defrosting or ensuring the food is fully cooked. You can make vegetarian meals that are loaded with vitamins and nutrients, and heartier stews to warm your relatives up during colder months. Unprepared meat lasts between six to 12 months when frozen, but once it’s been cooked the shelf life is between two to six months.
Making healthy meals for seniors can be fun and easy. If you’re running out of ideas, turn to the Internet or organize a recipe swap with other caregivers. Remember, you’re only as limited as your imagination!