Nutritious Meals for Older People: Recipes with Benefits

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It’s no secret that eating healthy is important for overall wellness. Nutrition regulates blood pressure and supports our bodies, yada yada yada…

But really, it’s good to have recipes up your sleeve so you can give yourself or your older family member top nutrition.

Lack of appetite, loneliness, mobility issues, and medication side effects can stop you or your loved one from eating healthily. Many older adults might lose interest in meal preparation or following a healthy diet.

That’s why we’ve found some go-to, nutritious meal ideas, and they’re all a quick Google away.

What Are Good Meals When You’re Older?

Older adults often have specialised diets as advised by doctors or nutritionists. Factors like medication, appetite, metabolism, and medical conditions affect what nutrients you should target.

Here are some healthy, balanced meals and recipes that are easy to prepare.

Fresh Fruits and Vegetables

It can be easy to overlook the lack of healthy greens in our meals. But it’s important to eat 3-4 servings per day.

How? Always add at least three kinds of vegetables and one kind of fruit to the grocery list, or make it a routine to visit the farmer’s market.

Here are some quick and easy meal ideas made out of just a few ingredients:

  • Tomato Soup – Easy to prepare, this food is rich in lycopene. It’s also full of vitamin C which is important to boost immunity and improve heart health. 
  • Baked Vegetable Mix – A simple recipe but full of nutrition, it suits root vegetables, eggplant, squash, tomatoes, and onions.
  • Pumpkin Soup – A classic favourite, this soup is high in antioxidants and full of iron.

Healthy Proteins

High cholesterol is a common problem among older adults, but this doesn’t mean you should stop having protein in your meals! Fish rich in omega-3, like salmon, is ideal, as is white meat and eggs.

  • One-Pan Baked Salmon and Mixed Veggies – This meal has many variants and ample protein and healthy fats. Experiment with seasonings, or try searing the salmon as an option.
  • Berry Chicken Salad – A playful mix of protein and berries, this is a light and easy-to-make recipe. The chicken is grilled for a few minutes, then tossed with fresh salad and dressing. 

Low or Non-Fat Dairy

As we all know, dairy products contain bone-boosting calcium. They also contain protein and phosphorus. Grass-fed, full-fat dairy has vitamin K2.

Obviously avoid dairy if you have allergies.

It’s best not to go overboard on dairy products as they’re also rich in saturated fat. Experts agree to keep daily saturated fat intake to below 20g for a 2000 calorie diet.

There are plenty of alternative calcium sources:

  • Nuts – Macadamias, almonds, and other nuts are now being used for plant-based milks. A 250g serving contains 240mg of calcium. Remember to consult a physician if you’re considering switching from dairy to nuts.
  • Tahini – this seed paste is perfect for dressings, hummus, and even cookies and cakes.
  • Spinach and greens – an 80g serving of spinach provides 120g of calcium
  • Plant-based yoghurts – Beyond calcium and zinc, probiotics can help improve gut health. No cooking required!

Foods Rich in Fibre

Metabolism might need a boost as we age. If you also need to lower cholesterol, you can incorporate low-GI ingredients like whole grain or whole wheat into your diet.

  • Four Bean Salad – This simple meal needs four kinds of beans and other leafy greens. Beans can be light on the stomach yet filling. 
  • Sweet Potato Curry – True comfort food.
  • Overnight Oats – It only takes three minutes to make overnight oatmeal, and you’ll find so many recipes online. Mix with any milk, add spices, spoon into a jar, add fruit, and enjoy in the morning.

Supplementary Vitamins and Minerals

Sometimes it’s hard to get all the nutrients you need, especially if you have diet modifications. While there are a plethora of healthy options available as ingredient substitutes, doctors may also recommend supplements.

The Benefits of Healthy Eating as You Age

Eating nutritious foods and being mindful of eating habits can have a tremendous impact on health:

  • Better organ function
  • Enhanced brain function and memory
  • Support in treating chronic illnesses
  • Boosted immunity and healing abilities
  • Improved muscle and bone health
  • Feeling nourished at mealtimes

People who eat nutrient-dense foods regularly are more likely to thrive than those who don’t. There are loads of inventive recipes at your fingertips on the internet.

And drink water!

We’ve got plenty more information on all things retirement and aged care here at Aged Care Weekly. Have a browse or sign up for our newsletter.

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