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Tips to Simplify Meal Prepping for Seniors

by Jessica Hegg March 04, 2024 0 Comments

For some, it’s a passion while for others it’s a chore, but either way, the cooking has to get done. As we age, everyday tasks like this can become more of a hassle, taking up more of a senior’s already full schedule. Luckily, some planning and some smart thinking can go a long way toward simplifying your daily meal prep. Want to learn how? Take a look at our meal-prepping tips for seniors.

Where Time, Taste, and Nutrition Meet

It’s a common myth that delicious food takes a long time to make, or that fast and flavorful meals can’t also be good for you. The reality is, that when you plan your meals, you can get exactly what you want without having to sacrifice. Below, you can learn more about how to save time when cooking. But first, let’s look at the building blocks of a healthy meal.

The main rule to keep in mind when making healthy meals is to include ingredients from every food group. Protein, carbohydrates, fruits, and vegetables should all play a role, with about half of what you eat coming from the last two categories. It’s a good rule for anyone to live by, but is especially important for seniors, who should always make health their priority.

Eating healthy has all kinds of benefits. Learn more about foods that can help fight fatigue.

Simplify Cooking With These Meal Prepping Tips

Cutting down cooking time doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor or quality. Try some of these tips to take the hassle out of your cooking while still enjoying healthy and delicious food every day.

1. Make a Plan

Cooking should never be a last-minute affair. If you want to make good meals and cut down on time, plan a whole week's worth of meals at once. By planning a dinner for each day, you can get all your shopping done at once, and plan for cooking. While it might take a bit of a time investment upfront, it will end up saving you frequent trips to the grocery store.

2. Choose the Right Recipes

Of course, make sure to choose recipes you like, but also don’t forget to keep in mind the nutrition and time it takes to cook. Below are some quick, healthy, and delicious dinner ideas.

  • Make a simple stir-fry by combining the meat and veggies of your choice, cut into bite-sized pieces, and cook over high heat.
  • Throw together a quick frittata by combining the ingredients of your choice in a pan with eggs and milk, and baking.
  • Start with pasta as a base, find a nice sauce, and add meat and vegetables
  • Salads don’t have to be boring. Feel free to add a bit of fruit, meat, and crunchy snacks on top of yours.
  • Don’t underestimate the humble sandwich, especially if you grill it on a hot pan.

If you’re looking for new ways to balance your diet, consider adding plant-based proteins.

3. Don’t Forget Breakfast and Lunch

Most of your cooking time should focus on making dinner, but that doesn’t mean you can skip breakfast and lunch. For both of these meals, choose simple and light options you can throw together quickly and will leave you feeling energized. For breakfast, hard-boiled eggs are a great option that you can prepare a whole week ahead of time. For lunch, wraps and sandwiches are a quick meal that you can even take on the go.

4. Share the Work

If friends or family are nearby, a senior shouldn’t shy away from asking for help. Whether you need a ride to the grocery store, assistance making a big pot of stew, or getting organized, an extra set of hands can make the difference. While it isn’t always possible to have help with every meal, a bit of help can go a long way for larger, less frequent tasks.

5. Prep Ingredients in Advance

If you do have weekly help from a family member or other caregiver, one good way to take advantage is a prep day. Try spending an hour washing produce, chopping vegetables, portioning grains, and other small tasks you can do ahead. That way, when it comes time to put your meal together, you can cut down your cooking time to as little as fifteen or twenty minutes.

6. Scale-Up Recipes

The freezer is a busy cook’s best friend, especially if they plan! If you’re crunched for time, try making a big batch of soup, stew, pasta sauce, or casserole when you have extra time. You can either eat it multiple days in one week or save the leftovers for weeks or months later. Shelf life varies depending on the food, but you can usually expect to keep meals frozen for a couple of months, as long as you seal them in an airtight container.

7. Simplify Storage

Aside from ingredients, prepping tasty and senior-friendly meals doesn’t take much extra investment. However, you might want to consider buying a small collection of plastic storage containers and Ziploc bags, if you don’t already have them on hand. As mentioned above, leftovers are a great way to skip cooking a meal. However, you can only take advantage if you have the right container to keep them in.

If You Really Can’t Cook…

Sometimes, our schedules become too full, or else we’re just not up to the task of prepping a whole week's worth of meals. If this sounds like you, you might consider finding a meal delivery service. There are plenty of different options to choose from these days, whether you’re looking for daily meals, or just a bit of extra help one or two days a week. Big-name meal delivery services like Blue Apron usually offer the flexibility to let you customize your plan to your needs.

Overcome dexterity issues and eat in style with an adaptive utensil set.

Smarter Meals to Simplify Seniors’ Lives

The key to smart meal planning is remembering that there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether you want to prioritize convenience, health, or flavor, it all comes down to finding the right recipes for you. Once you get used to planning and shopping ahead, you’ll see that cooking doesn’t have to be a hassle.

Jessica Hegg
Jessica Hegg

Jessica Hegg is the content manager and at ViveHealth.com. With vast product knowledge and understanding of individual needs, she aims to share valuable information on making smart buying choices, overcoming obstacles and overall improving the quality of life for others. Avid gym-rat and nutrition enthusiast, she’s interested in all things related to staying active and living healthy lifestyle.



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