Cooking for One: How Seniors Can Plan Healthy Menus

May 13, 2019

cutting herbs - cooking for one

If you are struggling to find easy ways to eat healthy when cooking for one, you aren’t alone. From storing produce to batching meals, we have some tips to help.

Healthy cooking for one is a challenge many older adults face. Some seniors, understandably, lack the motivation to create healthy meals. It can feel like too much work for just one person. Other seniors might have difficulty getting to the grocery store often enough to buy fresh fruits and vegetables. But eating well is an important factor in living a longer, healthier life.

What can you do to eat well when you live alone? We have some ideas you or your senior loved one might find helpful.

Tips for Making Healthy Meals for One

  • Healthy shortcuts: Reduce the amount of time you spend in the kitchen by taking a few shortcuts. Take advantage of in-store timesavers such as salad bars, packaged lettuce and precut vegetables, and prepared rotisserie chicken. Don’t overlook frozen fruits and vegetables either. Many nutritionists believe buying frozen fruits and vegetables is better than canned. By spending time exploring your local grocery store, you are likely to find more time-saving options.
  • Storage tips: Seniors who are cooking for one might struggle to find ways to keep fresh foods from spoiling before they can eat them. Along with freezing fruits and vegetables until you need them, another tip is to purchase reusable green produce storage bags. These bags help produce stay fresh longer. Experts also say you should store produce in the refrigerator with enough space around it to promote good circulation. This helps to improve the shelf life of fruits and vegetables.
  • Batch cooking: Designate a few days a month for baking and freezing healthy entrees. By cooking in batches, you make the most of prep time. Storing meals in glass freezer-to-oven containers is another time-saving tip. Consider swapping batched meals with friends who also live alone. If you each prepare a few entrees a month to share, you’ll be able to stock the freezer much more easily.
  • Menu planning: It also helps to create a meal plan rotation. Come up with four to six weeks of menus and the shopping lists for each week. Cooking apps, such as Mealime and FoodPlanner, make this easier to do.
  • Invest in an Instapot: This modern version of a pressure cooker has earned a place in the kitchen of many busy cooks. Largely because it makes it easier and faster to prepare healthy meals. This might give older adults one more avenue for eating well without spending a lot of time in the kitchen.

If you’ve decided not to spend your retirement years in the kitchen under any circumstances, there is another option to consider. Some home-delivered meal programs allow you to eat well without the hassle of grocery shopping and cooking. Silver Cuisine by bistro MD and Freshly are two to consider. Both deliver healthy, precooked meals right to your door.

Join Us for Lunch in the Dining Room

At Legacy Senior Living communities, residents leave the cooking to us. Residents enjoy homecooked meals in the company of friends in one of our beautiful dining rooms every day.

If you are searching for an independent living, assisted living, or memory care community, we hope you will consider Legacy Senior Living. We invite you to set up a time for a tour and lunch on us in the dining room. Call (423) 478-8071 today!