Healthy meal planning is a key component of maintaining good health as an older adult. Planning and preparing meals in advance can help ensure that you are getting the nutrients you need to maintain a healthy weight, prevent chronic diseases and support overall well-being. In this article, we will explore some practical tips and strategies for healthy meal planning for older adults.
What Is Meal Planning?
As its name suggests, meal planning means planning and preparing your meals ahead of time. You can choose to cook all your meals in one or two days and portion out the leftovers throughout the week, or freeze them for use at any time. The benefit of meal planning is that it can help you plan meals more intentionally, reducing the likelihood of making less nutritious choices because you don’t have a meal at hand.
Why Should Seniors Meal Plan?
Meal planning puts you in control of portion size, nutritious ingredients, sugar, salt intake and desired flavor. This allows you to take control of your health, as diet plays a major role in keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy.
How To Meal Plan
For those interested in meal planning, here’s an easy meal planning guide to help you get started or to enhance your current planning process.
Consider Your Dietary and Nutritional Needs
The first step in meal planning is to consider your dietary needs and preferences. If you have food restrictions due to allergies or health conditions, speak to a dietician or health professional to get suggestions for recipes that are compatible with your needs.
In addition to your dietary restrictions, you’ll want to consider your nutritional needs. Older adults should adhere to a diet that supports optimal brain and heart health, as these vital body organs can experience decline in later stages of life. Our nutritional needs also change as we age. Older adults typically require fewer calories, which may be due to less physical activity, changes in metabolism, or normal, age-related losses to bone and muscle mass.
Focus on Healthy Favorites
Sometimes eating healthy can feel like a chore, but when you focus on creating meals that feature more of your favorite foods, it can become fun and creative! Seek out recipes that are centered around whole foods you enjoy, like squash, carrots, collard greens or lean protein like chicken.
Write Down Your Weekly Meal Plan
Plan your meals on a weekly basis. You can use a calendar or a meal planner app on your mobile phone to help you organize and stay on track. Weekly planning will also help guide your grocery shopping list so you know ahead of time what ingredients you need to purchase.
Shop In Bulk
The secret to successful meal planning is shopping in bulk. This allows you to buy large quantities of an item at a cost effective price. For example, if you are planning on making several meals next week that utilize spinach, you can buy a larger size that gives you more ounces for less. Research your neighborhood to find stores that sell in bulk.
Explore Healthy Eating Options At Claridge Court
Inspired to meal plan or find more ways to eat healthy? See how we help our residents live healthy and vibrant lifestyles at Claridge Court, a sophisticated retirement community in charming Prairie Village, Kansas. All of our apartments are designed with right-sized kitchens where you can plan and cook your delicious meals. Or, invite friends and loved ones to dine with you at one of our many on-site dining venues.Discover more about what residents love so much about living here. Contact us to schedule a tour, or complete the form below to learn more!