Meal prepping can sometimes be difficult and that is why it is better that you prepare meals for multiple days, especially if you have an elderly in the house. Due to busy schedules, it is already difficult for one to look after the senior. Therefore, you wouldn’t want to miss out on providing the right meals at the right time. By cooking for multiple days ahead, you do not have to worry about planning what and when to cook. Simply take the meals out of the fridge and warm them up before serving. Let’s discuss some easy make-ahead meals for caregivers and seniors.
Stew and Soups
One of the key factors you, as well as caregivers, need to consider when making ahead meals is that some seniors experience difficulty while chewing and digesting. Therefore, you cannot offer or provide them something that makes it difficult for them to even chew. With that being said, stew and soups for seniors are some of the easiest and healthiest recipes you can make. Nothing is easier to cook than a good pot of soup and a pan full of stew. Perhaps the best thing about these dishes is that you can use the leftovers again and there is nothing to throw out.
Furthermore, another major advantage of stews and soups is that they are easy to freeze and warm up. Whenever it is time to feed the elderly, you simply take them out and warm them enough before serving. You can go for chicken noodle soup with fresh chicken breast, chili with grass-fed hamburger meat, and vegetable soup with fresh vegetables.
Oats tend to be another excellent source of essential nutrients and minerals. You can never go wrong with oat dishes. Caregivers prefer to provide oats to seniors as it is easy for them to chew and digest. Furthermore, oats tend to aid the digestive system, which reduces the risk of constipation and other gut-related concerns amongst seniors. Oats can be cooked ahead of time and will stay good in the refrigerator for a couple of days. However, you cannot expect them to remain in an edible state for the entire month. If they have stayed in the fridge for too long, you might want to consider making fresh oatmeal.
Scrambled Egg Muffins
You can make healthy scramble eggs couple with low-fat cheese, leafy vegetables, and lean proteins and then pour the mixture into muffin tins and cook. Then, store them in a plastic container inside the freezer and your loved one can pop one in the microwave when the craving kicks in. This will serve as an excellent warm breakfast, especially when the winter season makes it difficult to get out of bed. Preparing healthy meals for seniors can become difficult, especially if you have many other tasks to tend to. In that respect, the scrambled egg muffin recipe is going to make the perfect make-ahead meal for a few days to come.
Baked Pasta Dishes
Pasta dishes are ideal for any time of the day. The reason is that pasta dishes are easy to chew and digest. The only thing you need to be careful about is the ingredients. For instance, you do not want to add excessive cheese and other items that might create digestive complications. If you are planning to make baked pasta dishes, know that baked pasta casseroles are best kept frozen. Plus, they are versatile enough to accommodate a senior’s dietary needs and preferences.
Furthermore, you should boost nutritional value by using whole-wheat pasta along with vegetables such as mushrooms, spinach, and zucchini. Once you have prepared the dish, you can store it in a large container and then portion out different servings before placing them in individual containers.
In some cases, the elderly might face difficulty using utensils while eating. Therefore, you need to come up with meals and recipes such as chicken fingers that can be easily eaten via hand. You can use fiber-filled corn flakes and parmesan cheese for a crunchy coating and then freeze the nuggets. It is a freezer meal that will keep you from cooking for the elderly for a while and it is nutritious as well. Some people tend to use chicken fingers in soups too. So if your loved one has the taste for it, you can make some and freeze it for a day or two.
Being busy or not does not mean that the elderly get to skip healthy and nutritious meals. You can create easy make-ahead meals such as the ones shared above to ensure that the elderly are receiving healthy meals and you do not have to cook each time when hunger kicks in. Simply freeze the meals and warm them in the oven when it is time to eat.
For snack ideas, you may also check out our post about Elderly Nutrition Snacks Easy to Stock and Grab.