Independent living for seniors means the freedom and ability to take care of yourself. Cooking and preparing your own meals is a big part of maintaining your independence as you age. If you can cook for yourself, that’s half the battle.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Seniors face unique challenges when it comes to cooking. Arthritis or mobility issues may restrict what you can do in the kitchen. Surviving a partner who took care of most of the cooking can also mean facing a steep learning curve when it comes time to cook for yourself.
Seniors living on their own need single-serving meals that you can make fresh or ahead of time. The changing nutritional needs of seniors mean meals should feature lots of lean protein, more vegetables, low sodium content, healthy fats, vitamins, and be low in calories. If you’re moving into a retirement residence, you should check this out to get an idea of what kind of food you should be thinking about preparing yourself, and what chores you won’t have to worry about.
There are a few easy tips you can use for making fresh, quick food:
- Use fresh herbs whenever possible
- Take advantage of lean proteins like seafood, chicken, eggs, and nuts
- Use whole grains
- Find low sodium options at your supermarket
Check out some of these recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Breakfast: Egg White Scrambled Eggs
Keep an eye on your cholesterol by ditching the yolks in this lean, healthy breakfast featuring whole grains, fruit, and vegetables.
Egg whites on their own can be a bit disappointing. Add diced onions, mushrooms, and chives to give it some more vegetables and vitamins, as well as some flavor and texture. Some people even add a bit of shredded cheese, preferably something sharp, hard, and tangy.
- Dice onion, mushroom, and chives
- Scramble egg whites from 2-3 eggs in a non-stick pan
- Set egg whites aside when fluffy, fry onion and mushrooms until golden
- Add chives once done
Serve this up on whole-grain toast and with a side of seasonal fresh fruit.
Lunch: Tuscan-Style Tuna Salad
Add a Mediterranean twist to your usual tuna salad. It also makes a great cool, summer-time lunch and goes well with whole wheat pita bread. You will need:
- 2 cans of tuna (6-ounce, chunk light)
- Quartered cherry tomatoes (10 should do the trick)
- 2 scallions
- Lemon juice as desired
- Salt to taste
- A 15-ounce can of cannellini beans
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
Now combine all ingredients and you have a light, refreshing Tuscan-style Tuna Salad without even having to turn on the stove.
Dinner: Meat, Roots, and Veggies
With this simple formula, you can change things up every night while staying healthy.
Stick to meats like chicken or seafood and prepare baked or broiled to avoid using too much oil. When it comes to fish, tuna, tilapia, and salmon are all great options. Season with fresh herbs and lemon juice.
Stick to yams, potatoes, and squash. Squash is a great source of Vitamin E and B-6, so consider using it more often than plain old potatoes.
Steaming vegetables helps them maintain vital nutrients. Veggies like broccoli, asparagus, spinach, and kale can provide important vitamins and minerals like iron.
Try these meal ideas out today!