There are many benefits to meal prepping, especially for seniors. It can help you save time and money, and it can also help you make healthier choices while creating tasty meals.
Meal prepping for senior citizens is a great way to ensure that they are getting their nutritional needs met. Older adults may find it difficult to cook meals from scratch every day, so meal prepping can be a huge help.
Incorporating this into your day makes it easier to comply with healthy eating habits. It also saves your parents time and money. Let’s discuss the benefits of meal prepping for older people and give you some tips and yummy recipes to get started.
Choose an easy recipe that can be prepared ahead of time and you’re on your way to meal prepping.
Table of Contents
What Is Meal Prep?
The first thing to know about meal prepping is that it is not cooking. It is the process of planning and preparing meals in advance. It can be as simple as packing a lunch to take to work or making a batch of soup to have on hand for the week.
This can be done by cooking all of the ingredients for a meal ahead of time. Or by portioning out cooked meals into individual servings.
It’s an ace way to save a buck, and it can also help the elderly stay on track with a healthy diet and their budget.
- You can manage the amount of sugar, salt, and fat that goes into each meal.
- You can save money and stick to your budget by taking your list to the grocery store and buying only what’s on that list.
The idea is to cook multiple meals at once and store them in the fridge or freezer. It can also mean chopping up veggies and fruits so they’re ready to eat throughout the week.
Meal prep can be a breeze with a little bit of planning and forethought. When it comes to putting together an easy meal, think simple and nutritious. Incorporate plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, and whole grains into your diet.
Preparing ahead of time will make mealtimes much easier and less stressful.
Why Is Meal Prep Important for Seniors?
As we age, we may need different nutrients than we did when we were younger. We all experience changes in our sense of taste. Health conditions may require us to cut back on salt and sugar, etc. Preparing your own meals can help you to control what you are eating.
You may find that your senior parent simply needs some inspiration for meal ideas, and some reminders on just how much good food they should be eating. They may be unaccustomed to choosing nutrient dense food or bolstering their old favourite menu items with healthy alternatives and additions. The good news is these can all be learned and new habits can be created. They may simply need a nudge to move past the tea and white toast breakfast routine they’ve had for years.seniorhomecarecalgary.com
The best part of incorporating a meal prep routine into your lifestyle is that it can help seniors (and caregivers) make sure they are getting the right nutrition and at the same time enjoy nutritious meals.
Additionally, many aging people live alone and may not have someone to cook for them every day. Preparing meals ahead of time can help these seniors have access to healthy food even when they are cooking for one.
Another option (if cooking is out of the question) is to use a meal delivery service.
You can search for meal delivery services with a senior-friendly menu near your place. There are many great options provided by meal preparation services and there are even some specific senior meal delivery service companies as well.
These services can provide vegetarian options, specific meals for high blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
One of the best ways for seniors to maintain their health is through meal prep. Meal prepping ensures that seniors have healthy options available to them when they need it and can help them control their portions.
By preparing meals ahead of time, seniors can easily heat up a healthy option when they’re feeling hungry instead of reaching for unhealthy snacks.
It’s not only a great way to save time and money, but it can also be beneficial for your health. If your elderly parents are dealing with a chronic illness like heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure, meal prepping can help them stay on track with their health goals.
How to Get Started with Meal Prep For Seniors
If you are new to meal prepping, it can seem daunting to get started. But don’t worry, we will walk you through everything you need to know!
- First, you will need to decide what type of food your senior will want to eat. If they have any dietary restrictions, be sure to take that into account.
- You will also need to think about what type of equipment you will need to meal prep. For example, if you are cooking for one senior, you might only need a few basic kitchen tools. But if you are cooking for a large group of seniors, you might need to invest in some additional equipment.
- Decide on what types of storage containers you will need and have them on hand.
- Once you have all of the necessary supplies, it’s time to start cooking!
Be sure to follow all food safety guidelines when preparing and storing food. And don’t forget to have fun! Meal prep can be a great way to bond with your senior loved ones.
Here are some great cookbooks that can help you get started.
What Foods Should You Include in the Meal Prep Plan for Seniors?
Make sure you include a variety of nutrient-rich food items into the meal preps for your parents. This could include:
- fresh fruits and vegetables
- whole grains
- lean protein
- low-fat dairy
- healthy fats (olive oil, nuts, seeds and fish)
Creating a meal plan with these food groups will help seniors get the nutrients they need to stay healthy.
What Foods Are Not Good for Meal Prepping?
The foods that do not meal prep well include:
- delicate fruits and vegetables
- foods high in fat
- foods that contain a lot of moisture
- junk food
It is best to avoid using these types of foods as they will not last as long or taste as good when reheated.
What Foods Should Seniors Avoid?
There are some foods that most seniors should avoid, including:
- foods high in saturated and trans fats
- foods high in sugar
- foods high in sodium
- processed foods
Instead, focus on meals made with fresh ingredients. These will be more nutritious and better for your parents’ health.
Of course, always follow your doctor’s advice for the best diet for yourself.
What Are Some Good Meals For Seniors?
Naturally, what is “good” for some may not be good for others! I personally cannot tolerate any type of dairy or red meat. But for others, this may not be a problem.
So, of course, you will want to tailor the meals you prepare for your parents to their own dietary restrictions and preferences.
That said, here are some ideas for good meals for seniors:
- Vegetable soup
- Chicken or fish (baked, grilled, or poached) with a side of vegetables
- Rice and beans
- Pasta with a simple tomato sauce
- Eggs (scrambled, omelette, or hard boiled) with toast
- Cereal with milk
- Oatmeal with fruit
- Salmon (an excellent source of fatty acids)
- Yogurt with granola
- A salad (with either grilled chicken or fish, tofu, or beans for protein)
- oatmeal and berries
- a healthy chili
- a fruit salad
These are just a few ideas to get you started. The important thing is to make sure the meals you prepare are nutritious and well-balanced.
What Are Some Meal Prep Tips For Seniors?
Here are a few tips for seniors who want to get into meal prep:
1. Start with simple recipes. There is no need to complicating things when you are just starting out. Choose recipes that have fewer ingredients and are not too time-consuming to make.
2. Make sure you have all the necessary kitchen supplies. Before you start cooking, make sure you have all the pots, pans, and utensils you will need. This will make the process much smoother.
3. Plan ahead. One of the best things about meal prep is that it can help you save time during the week. Plan out your meals ahead of time so that you know exactly what you need to make and when you have the time to do it.
4. Batch cook. Batch cooking is a great way to make sure you always have something nutritious and delicious on hand. Cook a large batch of food at the beginning of the week and then portion it out into individual servings. This way, you can just grab a meal and go!
5. Get creative with leftovers. Don’t let your leftovers go to waste! Get creative and use them in new and interesting ways. There are endless possibilities when it comes to leftover meals.
6. Keep it simple. You don’t need to make extravagant meals to eat well. Sometimes, simple is best. focus on making healthy and delicious meals that you enjoy and that fit into your lifestyle.
7. Meal prep with friends or family. Meal prepping with friends or family can be a great way to bond and save time and money. You can cook together, share recipes, and split the cost of ingredients.
8. Hire a professional meal prep service. If you don’t have the time or energy to meal prep on your own, there are plenty of services that will do it for you. This can be a great option if you want to make sure you always have healthy meals on hand but don’t want to do the work yourself.
5 Meal Prep Ideas for Seniors to Consider
1. Whole-Grain Pancakes and Berries
- whole-grain pancake mix
- fresh or frozen berries
Make a batch of whole-grain pancakes using your fave pancake mix. Top with fresh or frozen berries. Serve with low-fat yogurt or maple syrup. Leftovers can be stored in your fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months. Reheat the food in the microwave or on the stove top before eating.
This is a quick and easy breakfast that can be made ahead of time and enjoyed all week long. This meal is packed with nutrients like whole grains, berries, and low-fat yogurt that seniors need for good health. Plus, the whole grains and fruit will give you sustained energy throughout the morning.
2. Vegetable Lasagna
- 12 lasagna noodles
- 26 oz jar of pasta sauce
- 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
- garlic cloves
- 24 oz bag of frozen spinach, thawed and drained
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Use your bowl to mix together ricotta cheese, eggs, garlic cloves, salt, and pepper. Set aside. Spread ½ cup of pasta sauce on the bottom of a baking dish. Layer four noodles over the sauce. Spread ½ cup of the ricotta mixture over the noodles and top with ⅓ of the spinach. Repeat layering until all ingredients are used up. Cover the lasagna with tinfoil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest for five to ten minutes before serving.
3. Chicken Salad
- two boneless, skinless chicken breasts
- slivered almonds
Boil the chicken breasts in simmering water for about 15 minutes or until cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool before chopping into small pieces. In a bowl, mix together chopped chicken, mayonnaise, celery, grapes, slivered almonds, salt, and pepper. Serve on a bed of greens or in a sandwich.
4. Vegetable Soup
- one tablespoon of olive oil
- one onion, chopped
- two carrots, chopped
- two stalks of celery, chopped
- one peeled and cubed potato
- one can of diced tomatoes
- four cups of chicken or vegetable broth
- one bay leaf
- salt and pepper
Use your Dutch oven or a big pot to heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook until softened, stirring occasionally. Add potato and tomatoes with their juice, broth, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes. Remove bay leaf before serving. Ladle soup into bowls and enjoy.
5. Mongolian Beef Rice Bake
- one and a half pounds of flank steak, thinly sliced across the grain
- three tablespoons of olive oil, divided
- one teaspoon of salt
- one teaspoon of black pepper
- one yellow onion, diced
- four cloves of garlic, minced
- two tablespoons of freshly grated ginger
- two red bell peppers, diced
- one cup of uncooked white rice
- one and a half cup of beef broth
- one-third cup of soy sauce
- one-third cup of honey
- sliced green onions for garnish
Preheat your oven till it’s 375 degrees F (or 190 degrees C). Season the beef with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add the juicy beef and cook until browned all over about three minutes. Remove the beef from the skillet and add two tablespoons of olive oil to the pan. Add the onion, garlic, ginger, and bell peppers and cook until soft, about five minutes. Then add the rice and cook for one minute. Pour in the beef broth, soy sauce, and honey, and bring to a boil. Switch to the low heat and simmer the beef for 15 minutes.
Best Mason Jar Meals For Meal Prep
Mason jars can be stored in the pantry, in the refrigerator, in the freezer and can even be microwaved (but not for more than 5 minutes otherwise the glass can shatter).
Mason jar meals are a great way to prep ahead for quick and easy lunches or dinners. Simply layer the ingredients in a jar and store in the fridge or freezer until ready to eat. When you’re ready to enjoy, just add hot water (if necessary) and give the contents a good stir.
Here are some of our favorite mason jar meals to meal prep for seniors…
1. Mason Jar Salmon Salad – This salmon salad is a great option for a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner. Simply layer cooked salmon, chopped veggies, and your favorite salad dressing in a jar.
2. Taco Mason Jars – These taco mason jars are perfect for a quick and easy dinner. Simply layer ground beef, chopped veggies, and your favorite taco toppings in a jar.
3. Mason Jar Chicken Salad – This chicken salad is a great option for a healthy and satisfying lunch or dinner. Simply layer cooked chicken, chopped veggies, and your favorite salad dressing in a jar.
4. Mason Jar Fruit Salad – This fruit salad is a great option for a healthy and satisfying snack or dessert. Simply layer your favorite fruits, chopped nuts, and yogurt in a jar.
5. Mason Jar Overnight Oats – These overnight oats are a great option for a quick and easy breakfast. Simply layer oatmeal, milk, and your favorite toppings in a jar.
6. Mason Jar Smoothie – This smoothie is a great option for a quick and healthy snack or breakfast. Simply blend your favorite fruits, milk, and yogurt in a blender and pour into a jar.
7. Mason Jar Soup – This soup is a great option for a hearty and satisfying meal. Simply layer your favorite vegetables, beans, and meat in a jar.
8. Mason Jar Quinoa Bowl – This quinoa bowl is a great option for a healthy and filling meal. Simply layer cooked quinoa, vegetables, and beans in a jar.
9. Mason Jar Salad – This salad is a great option for a light and healthy meal. Simply layer your favorite salad ingredients in a jar.
10. Mason Jar Dessert – This delicious treat will have you coming back for more. Just put crumbled cookies or graham crackers in the mason jar, follow it with a few spoonfuls of peanut butter, add some chocolate chips, coconut flakes and hot fudge (if you like) and then top it off with whip cream.
Easy Freezer Meals For Seniors
Another meal prep option is to make meals that you can then put in the freezer for later on. My mom-in-law does this a lot!! At 100 years old, the freezer and the microwave are her best friends in the kitchen.
Of course, you may have your very own recipes that you love to make and freeze. But if you’re in a rut or are looking for some new ideas, here are some of my favorites:
- Chicken Parmesan
- BBQ Pork Chops
- Stuffed Peppers
- Meatballs (I make them with ground turkey)
- Turkey Stroganoff
- Vegetable Lasagna
Making a big batch of soup is also a great way to have pre-made meals on hand. Some great classics are:
- Chicken Noodle
- Tomato Basil
- Broccoli Cheddar
There are many options to choose from. Check out these cookbooks with lots of recipes for more freezer meals.
- Seriously Good Freezer Meals
- Modern Freezer Meals
- Taste Of Home Make It Freeze It
- Freezer Friendly Dump Dinners
Frequently Asked Questions
For How Many Days Should I Meal Prep Ahead?
You can meal prep food for up to four-seven days in advance. You can start on Sunday and meal prep for the entire week.
What Should I Include in My Senior Meal Prep?
Your senior meal prep should include healthy, nutrient-dense foods. These yummies should be easy to digest and packed with antioxidants and vitamins. Try to include a variety of colors and textures in your meal preps.
Is Meal Prepping More Expensive Than Cooking Each Day?
Prepping meals can actually save you money in the long run. You’ll be less likely to waste food or order takeout when you have meals already prepared.
What Are The Right Containers To Store Meal Prep Food In?
You will need an assortment of containers in different sizes with tight-fitting lids. Glass meal prep containers are the best because they do not stain or hold odors. Such packaging can be used in the microwave, freezer, and dishwasher.
Meal prepping is a top-notch way to make sure you always have healthy meals in the kitchen, but it can be especially helpful for seniors. Senior meal prep recipes need to be easy to make and easy to reheat since many seniors live alone. By considering the handy tips mentioned above, you can make meal prepping for your aging parents a breeze.
Overall health is important for seniors to maintain in order to live a long and healthy life. Meal prep can help make this happen by providing seniors with nutritious meals that are easy to make and easy to eat. By meal prepping, seniors can make sure they are getting the nutrients they need while also saving time and money.