Sometimes life events get in the way, and cooking a sustainable, healthy meal can be the last thing on your agenda. Luckily, making a collection of home-cooked meals ahead of time can save your senior loved one time and stress! Studies have shown that meal-prepping also helps with weight control and leads to an overall healthier diet.
Many different diets on the market are catered to your senior’s health needs, focusing on specific food groups or nutrients your elderly loved one needs in their daily diet. When planning meals to make for the week ahead, it’s important to consider your senior’s health goals and how they may factor into their meal plans. These may include:
- Gaining or losing weight
- Promoting brain health
- Building bone strength
Once you’ve narrowed down your senior’s specific goals, try going online with them and research which types of foods are best for their health to incorporate into their daily meals. It can be helpful to make a list of your senior’s favorite meals so they can still have fun making the foods they love!
In addition, try creating a weekly budget to see which foods would be most affordable to take home from the grocery store, and make note of the ingredients your senior loved one already has to save the most money. Listed below are several meal-planning resources for you and your senior to try out.
Eat This Much is a website that allows users to access a free, custom meal plan right from their desktop or mobile device. You’re able to include specific diet plans such as paleo, vegetarian, vegan, Mediterranean or ketogenic in order to generate meals specific to your senior’s dietary restrictions.
Eat This Much also lets you add your food preferences, budget and even your personal schedule to create a plan best for your senior’s needs. When creating your senior’s profile, you’re able to include their health information along with personal goals such as weight loss or muscle gain, and even set a specific weight goal. This website is straightforward and easy to use, as it’s designed to eliminate foods you don’t want in your diet while still making sure you’re eating healthy, balanced meals.
Plan to Eat is an online meal planner available on desktop and mobile devices. You can sign up for a 14-day free trial, but you only have to pay $4.95 a month afterward, giving you access to all the tools and resources. Plan to Eat breaks down your meal planning schedule into three easy steps that can help keep your senior on a consistent schedule.
First, gather the recipes you want to cook; you can then share your recipe ideas with friends and family, and even view step-by-step instructions on how to cook your favorite meals.
Next, organize the meals you want to cook throughout the week with Plan to Eat’s meal planner. Once you’ve finished creating a weekly menu, all recipes and ingredients will be automatically added to a digital grocery list. Plan to Eat lets you control your own checklist and format it however you’d like, whether it’s printed out or on your phone.
This meal-prepping website offers a broad, detailed list of flavorful recipes, and also allows you to filter recipes by specific diets—making this a great option for seniors who have food allergies or other dietary restrictions. Eatwell101 breaks down recipes by several categories including:
- Course of meal
- Popular ingredients
- Drinks and cocktails
Similar to Plan to Eat, this website follows an easy three-step system where users can check off their favorite recipes, add them to a meal planner, and then download to their computer. Although Eatwell101 isn’t available for mobile devices, you can share your digital meal plan to your phone, and signing up is completely free!
This website focuses on family-friendly meals that are easy to make and already assembled. Each meal plan comes with a printable sheet that lays out each meal and separates it by course and category, such as meat, produce and refrigerated/pantry goods. This serves as a great reference you can hang on the fridge or keep nearby in the kitchen. Although the website offers more than 50 recipes you can save in seconds, Tastes Better from Scratch allows you to sign up for free meal plans sent to your email on a weekly basis.
If your senior is vegetarian, vegan or looking to transition to a plant-based diet, Forks Over Knives is an ideal meal planning resource. Available on both desktop and mobile devices, Forks Over Knives sends you a customized meal plan each week along with an updated grocery list. The app is also connected with Amazon Fresh, which allows your senior to shop for groceries directly through the app. The app costs $5 to purchase online and monthly subscriptions are $9.99 per month, but you can give it a two-week free trial run to see if you both like it before buying it.
With so many excellent meal-prepping resources, your senior will have no trouble planning their future meals in a time-efficient way. While most of the apps listed above provide custom planners, also check out some downloadable meal planning sheets that can help you personalize your loved one’s meal schedule.