Have you stopped eating healthy because cooking’s become a hassle? You’re not alone. A lot of seniors feel that way. But not getting the proper nutrition can weaken your muscles and bones, which will increase your risk for illness and falls.
If you’re a senior who’s looking for easy meals, or a caregiver who’s providing care at home to a parent or other loved one, keep this in mind when it comes to nutrition. Healthy meals should include a mixture of lean protein (e.g., lean meats, seafood, eggs, beans), fruits and vegetables, whole grains (e.g., whole grain breads, cereals, brown rice, whole wheat pasta), and low-fat dairy (e.g., milk, yogurt, cheese). To that end, here are some quick, healthy recipes for seniors. You should be able to find these ingredients in almost any Kansas City (or Independence, or Overland Park…) grocery store:
Healthy Granola Parfait: Spoon 1/4 cup of plain Greek yogurt in the bottom of a tall glass. Top with 1/4 cup of granola, then 1/4 cup of berries, then 1 tsp dark chocolate chips. Repeat for second layer.
Fruit Smoothie: Put 1 container of plain Greek yogurt in the bottom of a blender. Add 1/2 banana, 1/2 of an 8 oz. bottle of vanilla Ensure Alive, 1 tsp. instant milk powder (optional), and a handful of frozen berries. Blend.
Peanut butter on toast. Spread peanut butter on whole grain toast. Serve with a side of fruit and a glass of milk.
Breakfast Egg Scramble: Beat together two eggs, 1/8 cup of milk, and your choice of seasonings (e.g., basil, paprika, salt substitute, pepper). Brown a small amount of turkey sausage (or you can use diced canadian bacon). Set aside. Add a small handful of diced onions and a small handful of diced green pepper to egg mixture. Melt two tablespoons of butter in a pan. Pour mixture in and scramble. When almost done, add the meat and a small handful of cheese. Continue to scramble until cheese is melted and eggs are set. Serve with a side of fruit.
All-in-One Salad. Start with a 50/50 spring mix (half spring mix, half spinach leaves). Add a chopped, boiled egg, a handful of shredded cheese, some nuts, and some berries. Top with a vinegarette dressing.
Easy turkey wrap. Spread onion and chive cream cheese on a whole wheat tortilla shell. Top with turkey slices, spinach leaves, shredded swiss, diced tomatoes, and cooked turkey bacon (optional). Roll tightly. Serve with a side of fruit.
Fish tacos. Lightly sprinkle cumin on a piece of white fish (cod is a healthy choice; avoid tilapia). Pan fry. Cut in slices. Divide fish between two small whole wheat tortilla shells. Top with lettuce or cabbage, tomatoes, diced onions, lemon juice, and salsa.
Shrimp scampi. In a large skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil and 1/2 stick of butter on medium heat until butter is melted. Add 1 lb. of shrimp and one package of shrimp scampi seasoning. Stir until shrimp is pink (3-4 minutes). Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice. Toss with cooked quinoa pasta. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with a side salad (50/50 spring mix). Freeze leftovers in one- or two-person portions for later.
- Diced onions and green peppers (and other vegetables you can add to salads or other meals) are available in the freezer section in most Kansas City area grocery stores.
- You can buy 50/50 spring mix, lettuce, and spinach leaves already cut and washed.
- Most Kansas City area grocery stores sell fruit that is already cut up.
- Shredded cheese is also available in local grocery stores.