Many of us remember the phrase, "Where's the beef?" from Wendy's Hamburger commercials. Recently we have been hearing this phrase again amid the rumors of meat shortages due to COVID-19. Don't panic! Not only can meatless meals be healthier for seniors, they can be more affordable as well. Good eating habits in older adults can also help to minimize the symptoms of age-related changes that, for some, can cause discomfort or inconvenience. Although the aging process affects some people differently from others, everyone can benefit from participating in a well-planned vegetarian diet every so often!
We thought this would be a good opportunity to share some meatless options for older adults to incorporate into their diets! Here are a few great options for you or a loved one to try:
Eggs are very versatile, quick to make, and cheap! Omelets, quiches, scrambled eggs, egg salad, boiled eggs... the list could go on and on. Eggs contain essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin D, important to absorbing calcium needed for bone strength. Lutein and zeaxanthin found in egg yolks may reduce the risk for cataracts and help prevent macular degeneration.You can even cook some eggs in the evening and have breakfast for dinner!
A favorite of many! Peanut butter contains healthy fats, magnesium, and proteins that provide a long-lasting energy source to help seniors power through the day, plus it's sweet and delicious. Try spreading some peanut butter on toast, bagels, or waffles for a quick and easy meal. Dress your toast up a little by adding some fruit, oats, or semi-sweet chocolate chips on top! If you have a peanut allergy, or just don't like peanut butter, there are now many other substitutes, such as almond butter, sunflower seed butter, and even coconut butter.
Protein Shakes or Bars
These are great on-the-go options for those who are still active daily! Older adults tend to lose muscle mass more rapidly than any other age group. Protein shakes and bars have proven to boost muscle strength in the people above the age of 60! You can either purchase pre-made protein shakes at the store, or make your own. Check out KAPOK's article on the in's-and-out's of making your own shakes. Protein bars can also be purchased at stores, and are made from a variety of different ingredients to pick from. Protein shakes can be a tasty meal replacement, and bars can be a swift snack to keep you going during the day!
Missing those hamburgers? Veggie burgers are a great alternative! They are not only lower in saturated fat than regular hamburgers, but they also provide a higher level of fiber, as well as vitamins and minerals due to the veggies. You can make your own, or buy the pre-made, frozen ones at the store (they are just as nutritious for you as homemade ones). Here is a simple veggie burger recipe to follow if you want to try and make your own!
Beans and Whole Grains
Because caloric needs decrease with age and seniors tend to eat less, it’s important for them to eat plenty of nutrient-dense foods. Beans are high in many nutrients, and therefore are vital to a senior’s health. Whole grains can lower cholesterol in older adults, as well as help with weight management. Veggie chili, brown rice, bean burritos, beans and cornbread, oatmeal, etc. are all tasty ways to incorporate beans and whole grains into your diet.
Looking for more meatless options? Pinterest is full of ideas and meatless recipes for seniors to give a try. Just type in whatever you are interested in knowing more about, and Pinterest will present you with an overload of information!
So, if you can't find beef, chicken, or pork, within the next couple of months, try some of these meatless options instead. Share some of your favorite meatless meals with us below!
If you or a loved one is struggling with meal prep, cooking, or cleaning up afterwards, CAB's care partners are here to help! Call us at 865-444-6787 for more info.
Written by: Care Manager - Paula Anderson, RN