Healthy Meals For Your Aging Parent
Cooking meals can sometimes become a challenge for your aging parent or loved one. But, taking the time to prepare ready-to-eat meals in advance can provide just the assistance they need to maintain appropriate health and nutrition. In our years of home health experience at Santé, we have learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to meal preparation for seniors. Here are a few tips to consider:
Prep for Them, Not for You
It’s easy to fall into the habit of preparing meals that sound appetizing to you. But unless you prepare your loved one’s favorites, they may not choose to reheat and eat the meals you’ve put away. Ask about favorite and least favorite foods and run recipes by them before you buy groceries or start cooking.
If your aging loved one is still able to participate in any way, find ways to include them in meal preparation. Perhaps they’re comfortable washing vegetables, drying dishes, or sitting at the table to keep you company. Working together or just being together can help them feel a sense of purpose.
Package in Single Servings
Nearly every hot meal can be cooked, divided into single-serving containers, and frozen for use later. Single serve containers are easier for your loved one to select, take out of the fridge or freezer, reheat, and eat. It also makes it easier for you to gauge how many portions are remaining so you can time your next meal preparation day accordingly.
Mix It Up
Rather than freezing 24 portions of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, consider preparing and freezing 4-6 portions of 4-6 different dishes keeping in mind any dietary restrictions. Dedicating a few hours once a week can save you time, and having options can whet the appetite and encourage proper intake and nutrition.
Ask your loved one which recipes they liked the most and which recipes left something to be desired. By communicating often you can avoid making the same thing twice if it wasn’t a favorite.
Meal preparation can be a special bonding time for you and your loved one, and your efforts can promote their wellness at home. To learn more about helping your loved one, contact us here at Santé.