Sometimes quick and simple is best (for recipes)
As people age, it can become harder to eat well. For some seniors, that stems from changing taste buds or appetite levels, and for others, it can be a lack of motivation, whatever the reason making the right meal choices becomes even more important as we age. Making cooking for mealtimes as easy and quick as possible is a great way to keep seniors eating healthy. But finding good, quick and simple recipes can be difficult.
Planning out meals ahead of time is one way to save time when cooking. Whether it is easier to have a daily plan or a weekly menu, knowing what’s going to be on the table ahead of time helps ensure not only that each meal contains the proper balance of nutrients, but that everything needed for the meal is already in the fridge or pantry. For some ideas, the National Institute on Aging has some sample menus based around a well-balanced 2,000 calorie diet.
According to Choose My Plate, it is necessary for seniors to get adequate amounts of potassium, calcium, vitamin D, vitamin B12, minerals, and dietary fiber. Eating a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables is a great way to do this. Having an arsenal of quick and easy meals is one of the best ways to ensure a healthy and varied diet.
Quick and Simple Recipes:
Hard-boiled eggs with fresh fruit and whole-wheat toast- Hard-boiled eggs are great because they can be ready in less than 20 minutes and can be made in batches and prepped ahead of time. Once cooked, eggs can last up to a week in the fridge. One tip is to take a pencil and write the boiling date on the shell of each egg, so you don’t forget when they were made. When paired with fresh fruit and whole-wheat toast, boiled eggs are a nutritious source of lean protein.
Overnight oatmeal with peanut butter and bananas- Oatmeal can be made immediately before serving, but that takes time and requires standing over the stove. An easier way to make oatmeal is to put it in a crockpot with water and let it cook on low overnight. When you wake up in the morning, the oatmeal will be a thick, creamy consistency and all that you need to add is a cut-up banana and a spoonful of peanut butter for a meal that is rich in fiber and healthy carbs.
Tuna Wrap - Tuna salad is a quick, easy meal to prep and can last in the fridge for three to four days, meaning it can last for several meals. Tuna salad is also diverse and can be made according to your taste with additions ranging from celery to dried cranberries. For a full meal, take a whole grain tortilla wrap and add avocado and fresh greens then top with tuna salad to load up on healthy omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins.
Quinoa salad - Quinoa is an excellent source of protein, fiber, and iron but doesn’t taste great by itself, to make quinoa more interesting consider sauteing vegetables and adding them to the quinoa with your favorite dressing to make a delicious meal. Quinoa can be prepped ahead and can last for 3 to 5 days in the fridge, or it can be cooked when needed in about 15 minutes. The vegetables can be cooked fresh or made ahead of time for a quick, simple meal.
Beef stew - At the end of the day it is often hard to find the energy to cook, so meals that can be prepped in the morning or mid-day are ideal. For beef stew take pre-cut meat chunks from the grocery store and add it to beef or vegetable broth with your favorite cut-up vegetables and seasonings, carrots and potatoes are nutritious and delicious additions. All of the ingredients can be put in a slow cooker and left to cook throughout the day, so by dinnertime the meat is cooked, and the flavors have married to create a delicious meal.
Beans and rice - For an even simpler meal, that takes no time at all, beans and rice are an easy staple enjoyed around the world. Both can be cooked from scratch, which takes a bit of time or can be purchased in a ready-to-eat format. Beans can be found pre-cooked in the canned section of the grocery store, and bags of pre-cooked rice can be bought in the frozen food section, each taking just several minutes in the microwave to heat up. For added protein, a piece of chicken or fish can be added to balance out the meal.
Do you have any quick and simple recipes of your own? We'd love to hear about them! Post them in our comments section below.
Related post - Eating a well-balanced diet