Planning Your Plate: Healthy Meal Planning Tips for Older Adults
Meal planning offers all the benefits of nutritious homemade meals without the time-consuming work of daily cooking. With a little extra preparation and a dedicated afternoon each week, you can eat well all week long with minimal additional effort. Busy families and young professionals have long praised the benefits of meal planning, but more and more older adults are discovering how much there is to gain from the practice, too. If you’ve thought of giving meal planning a shot or are looking for better ways to eat healthy without the hassle, learn how meal planning can transform your diet.
What Is Meal Planning?
Simply put, meal planning is making a plan for the week’s meals, creating a grocery list based on that plan, preparing your meals ahead of time and then storing them in the fridge or freezer to heat up throughout the week. There are many different ways to approach meal planning, but the majority of meal planners cook all their meals for the week in one afternoon or divide it between two smaller cooking sessions and ration leftovers throughout the week.
Why Should Seniors Meal Plan?
Meal planning puts you in control of portion size, ingredients, sugar and salt intake and desired flavor. Having this granular control over your entire diet allows you to pack maximum nutrient punch per recipe without sacrificing flavor. Consistent meal planning with a focus on nutrient-dense dishes and snacks can help ward off chronic illness and lower your risk of heart disease, too. What you eat day in and day out plays a major role in keeping your mind, body and spirit healthy.
How To Meal Plan
Ready to give meal planning a shot? This guide will help make it simple, straightforward and repeatable without getting boring.
Consider Your Dietary and Nutritional Needs
The first step in meal planning is to consider your dietary needs. If you have food restrictions due to allergies or health conditions, focus on recipes that cater to your needs. Learn effective alternatives to common ingredients you may not enjoy (or are allergic to) so you can try recipes without wondering how to adjust for 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. Always speak to a medical professional before making dietary changes.
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 be fun and creative. Seek out recipes that are centered around your favorite healthy food whether that’s spinach, carrots, tomatoes or something else entirely. If you run out of meal ideas over time, spend time searching the internet for recipes that feature your favorite ingredients or adapt tried and true recipes for a seasonal twist including produce from the farmer’s market or your local grocer.
Write Down Your Weekly Meal Plan
The key to meal planning is writing it all down. Whether you use a pen-and-paper approach, write the plan on a whiteboard, or use a digital app to keep track of your meals, documenting what you’ll eat and when keeps you on track and helps organize your preparation. Getting a bird’s eye view of what you plan to eat for the week can help you identify recipes with shared ingredients, which makes grocery shopping an easier (and often more affordable) experience.
Shop In Bulk
Another way to make the most of your meal plan is to shop in bulk. This allows you to buy large quantities of an item at a reduced price. Warehouse retailers allow customers to buy items in bulk at reduced wholesale prices. Research your neighborhood to find stores that sell in bulk. You’ll be able to make more meals at a lesser price point.
Explore Healthy Eating Options At Harbour’s Edge
Inspired to meal plan or find more ways to eat healthy? Explore how we create healthy lifestyles at Harbour’s Edge. From our well-appointed apartments featuring full kitchens, to our nutritious fine dining venues on site, we are committed to the health and well-being of all our residents.
Whatever the ideal retirement life looks like for you, we make it easy at Harbour’s Edge. Discover an enhanced experience by booking a tour today.