Our nutritional needs change as we get older. Many seniors require fewer calories as their metabolism slows, while others need more of certain nutrients, such as calcium for bone health. Unfortunately, many older adults do not eat as healthy as they should. According to a survey by Ross Laboratories, 30 percent of seniors skip at least one meal a day. Many seniors also fail to take in the proper amount of nutrients in the form of lean protein, whole grains, low-fat dairy, fruits, and vegetables.
If your elderly loved one is not getting the nutrition he or she needs, you may notice a decline in health. Good nutrition is essential for reducing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and certain diseases like diabetes, heart disease, and osteoporosis. Getting the right vitamins and minerals also increases energy levels and your ability to fight off and recovery from illness and injury. To help ensure good health, caregivers are encouraged to provide healthy meals for the elderly. Of course, not all caregivers have the time or means to prep and deliver meals on a daily basis. That is where an in-home care agency comes in. Here are a few healthy meals for the elderly that may be offered.
1. Stuffed Green Peppers
Healthy and delicious, stuffed green peppers are easy to make and very filling. Start by washing four green peppers. Remove the stem, seeds, and pulp. Boil the peppers for five minutes and drain. Next, add 1 pound ground turkey to a saucepan and cook until brown. Add ½ cup of chopped onion, ½ cup of tomato sauce, and 1 cup of uncooked rice to the pan. Add pepper to taste. Stuff the mixture into the peppers and put them into a casserole dish. Pour another ½ cup of tomato sauce on top of the peppers. Cover the casserole dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
2. Southwest Omelet
Omelets are a delicious meal option any time of the day. Start by warming up 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet. Beat two eggs in a bowl and pour them into the skillet. Put pepper jack cheese and natural salsa on top of the eggs. Once the eggs are firm, fold them over to create your omelet. Serve the southwest omelet with a side of freshly sliced avocado.
3. Honey-Dijon Chicken
Honey-Dijon chicken is a quick meal that offers plenty of protein with even more flavor. Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees. Wash and pat dry 1 lb. of boneless, skinless chicken breasts, season with salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. Chop up three medium red potatoes and two medium carrots and spread them out on a sheet pan. Over the veggies, add 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon rosemary. In a bowl, combine ½ tablespoon olive oil with 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard. Coat the chicken with the mustard mixture and place them on the sheet pan with the vegetables. Roast the meal for 25 to 30 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
4. Grilled Salmon Sandwich
Sandwiches are an easy, healthy meal that is perfect for lunch; they are some of the better healthy meals for the elderly, as well as anyone. Similar to a grilled cheese, butter two pieces of bread and place one (butter side down) in a skillet. Add pieces of boneless salmon from a small can of Alaskan sockeye salmon, a romaine lettuce leaf, a slice of red onion, a ring of red bell pepper, and a slice of cheese. Cover with the other piece of bread (butter side up) and grill. Flip the sandwich over after two to three minutes to get evenly toasted bread.
5. Baked Mac & Cheese
Mac and cheese is the ultimate comfort food and one that many seniors enjoy. To make this dish, preheat your oven to 450 degrees. In a separate saucepan, heat 1-1/2 cups of milk over medium-high heat until it begins to steam. In a small bowl, whisk ¼ cup flour and 3 tablespoons flour then pour it into the hot milk. Whisk constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Remove from heat and add 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese and 1 cup cottage cheese. Cook pasta until not quite tender, or about 4 minutes, then drain and add to the cheese mixture. Spread the pasta in a casserole pan and top with 3 tablespoons breadcrumbs. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.
6. Eggplant Stir-Fry
Stir fries are not only delicious but offer a wide variety of nutrients from fresh veggies. To make a tasty eggplant stir fry, peel, cube, and/or slice two eggplants, a zucchini, two onions, a green bell pepper, and 2 cups of cherry tomatoes and place them into a skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil. Add in 3 tablespoons of low-fat Italian salad dressing and cook over low heat until the veggies are tender. Serve the stir-fry over two cups of cooked brown rice.
7. Crab Cakes
Dig into a plate of delicious crab cakes made with just a few simple ingredients. Crab is not only low in fat, but it also contains the mineral chromium which helps enhance the action of insulin which is key for diabetics. In a large bowl, combine 1 lb. of jumbo lump crab with one egg, ½ cup mayonnaise, ½ cup panko breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce, ½ teaspoon soy sauce, and a dash of Tabasco sauce. Next, add 1-1/2 tablespoon minced chives and 1-1/2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper. Combine the ingredients and form them into eight crab cakes. One of the most healthy meals for the elderly, crab cakes go along well with any of the meals listed above!
Contact an In-Home Care Agency Today
Do you have an elderly loved one that you are not able to properly care for or need assistance caring for? If so, an in-home care agency can help. An in-home care agency provides services for seniors including essential activities of daily living (ADLs). As a healthy diet is crucial for senior health, an in-home care agency can also prepare healthy meals for the elderly. Contact Comfort Home Care to learn more about in-home senior care services.