Eating healthy can be hard to do, especially when eating alone! The senior population may encounter this barrier more often than others due to their increasing age and life changes. Some seniors may lean towards a frozen, pre-prepared meal because it is quick and easy. This may not be the healthiest option due to the fat and sodium contents of the meal. Some may skip meals altogether due to lack of appetite from changing metabolisms or medication side effects. Some seniors may have relied on their spouse to prepare their meals, and now their spouse is no longer able to cook or may no longer be with them, therefore healthy meals are no longer an option. Regardless of the reason, there is still a way to eat healthy for one, and it may take a conscious effort on the part of the senior who is preparing the meals. I have listed some ideas on how to eat healthy meals in a small way!
Learn to Love Leftovers
This doesn’t mean that you have to eat the same meal every day for a week. You can prepare a recipe that may feed 2-4 people and have it today and tomorrow!
Utilize the Freezer
Many foods, especially soups, can be prepared in a larger quantity and then frozen into individual servings. This way there is less sodium than a prepared frozen meal, it is easy, and it tastes good.
Some people enjoy shopping while others do not. However, shopping often gives you the ability to buy smaller quantities of foods that go bad quickly, such as produce. This gives you the option to eat healthy with fresh fruits and veggies.
This may be easier for some people that have a little more experience in the kitchen, but there are many recipes that call for “everything found in the fridge." You never know, this may be your new favorite meal!
Wait, how does this relate to healthy eating for one? Having a friend that you can swap meals with or even eat with, helps with the social aspect that mealtime is also about. Swapping meals means you get to try something that you may not know how to prepare, and you get the socialization factor at the same time (just remember to keep 6 feet apart)!
While eating alone is definitely not our first choice, sometimes it is inevitable. Hopefully the tips that I have shared will make eating alone a little healthier and a little more enjoyable as well!
Written by: Care Manager - April Campbell, LPN