July 20, 2020

Nutrition During the Golden Years: 7 Awesome Meal Ideas for Elderly Parents

There are many reasons that seniors may not be getting the nutrients they need for a healthy lifestyle. Seniors may eat less than they used to, as metabolism typically declines with age, requiring fewer calories to sustain daily activities. Seniors can also lose taste buds as they age or experience discomfort while eating, so mealtimes may no longer be the pleasurable experience they once were.

However, it’s still important to have a good diet for elderly people. Luckily, having unique and tasty meals ideas for your older family members is a great way to get them back on track. Even better, healthy eating for seniors doesn’t have to be hard!

Read on for some delicious, nutritious recipes for the elderly that are sure to get your parents eating healthily again. 

1. Leafy Green Salads

A delicious salad is a great way to ensure that meals for elderly parents have the nutrients they need. Salads are easy to make, so you don’t need extensive knowledge of cooking or hours to spend in the kitchen.

Romaine leaf, green leaf, or even red butter lettuce make for the perfect salad base. Add some pea shoots, tendrils, or microgreens for added nutrients. They pack a delicious crunch!

You also will want to add a bit of color to your parent’s salad, for both flavor and added nutrients, like Vitamins A, C, and K. Fruits and vegetables for older adults are crucial for longevity, preventing or managing chronic illness, and preventing cognitive impairment. This can come in the form of tomatoes, carrots, onions, red or yellow peppers, or even edible flowers like marigold. Include some grilled chicken, chopped ham, or garbanzo beans for protein.

Drizzle with a natural lemon or olive oil dressing and you’ll be ready to roll.

2. Sweet Summer Salad

Sweet summer salad puts a twist on the above recipe. Use the same lettuce you otherwise would as a base and add in the sprouts or microgreens. This time around, our toppings will be fruity and sweet.

Raspberries, blackberries, grapes, and chopped apples go perfectly in this salad. You also may want to consider creating a homemade raspberry vinaigrette to top it all off.

3. Herb-Roasted Chicken

Of course, no one can live off salads alone. Protein-rich meals are also a necessity, especially for dinners.

Herb-roasted chicken is a delicious dish made entirely from lean proteins. Get some chicken breast—it can be pre-cooked if you don’t want to handle raw meat—and glaze it in balsamic. Then, put it in a frying pan and grill it on medium with thyme, oregano, and basil.

Serve this flavorful dish to your parents on a bed of brown or wild rice.

4. Tomato and Basil Flatbread

Flatbread is pretty simple to make, and it’s a flavorful enough food for elderly parents that they’re sure to love it, even if they’re experiencing appetite loss.

Grab some naan bread at your local Indian grocery store (or make it yourself). This will serve as the base for your flatbread. Then, add some fresh mozzarella and tomato to the bread and top it off with delicious basil. 

Italian basil is a classic, but specialty and dark opal basil will also do the trick. Feel free to combine them for a fuller flavor!

For another variation of this recipe, you also can try creating a healthy wheat pizza crust and adding tomato, basil, and mozzarella to it. 

5. Vegetable Stir-Fry

Stir-fried veggies also make for an amazingly nutritious dinner for aging parents. You can add basically any vegetables you like to the mix.

Bok choy is a must-use item, of course, but you should also add things like peppers, mushrooms, baby corn, and water chestnuts to the pan. Use a simple reduced sodium soy sauce when frying it all up. The salty taste is sure to be delicious, even for those who are losing their sense of taste.

Edible flowers also go very well in stir-fry, and they add some great nutrients for elderly loved ones. Consider nasturtium, borage, marigolds, and pansies to add some pizzazz to your stir-fry dish.

6. Microgreen Pesto Pasta

Pesto is an herbal pasta sauce with full-bodied and sophisticated flavor. This timeless dish is irresistible, even for those losing their enthusiasm for food.

Better yet, pesto can be made with microgreens in addition to the herbs, cheese, and spices that normally go into it. You’ll just need some all-natural fresh microgreens in addition to the basil, parmesan cheese, garlic, lemon juice, and almonds that give pesto sauce its classic character.

If pasta isn’t something that your parents like, you’re in luck—pesto sauce is incredibly versatile. You can put it on grilled chicken sandwiches and serve it with veggie chips. You also can use it as a sauce on flatbread or homemade pizza dough.

7. Guacamole Dip and Spread

Guacamole is another dish that can be made with microgreens.

In addition to the avocados, lime, salt, garlic, cilantro, and onion powder that you need for regular guacamole, dice up some microgreens and stir them into the guac. While they won’t do much in the way of taste, they help your family members to get the nutrients they need to stay active. They’ll do wonders for you too!

Don’t skimp on the cilantro! This is primarily what gives guacamole its distinctive taste.

Serve the guac on sandwiches, in salads, or with chips as a snack. Like pesto sauce, it’s really versatile and goes with a variety of foods.

More Meal Ideas for Elderly Parents

While there are many foods for elderly folks to rekindle the pleasure of eating, it’s important to ensure that they are also getting the nutrients that they need to remain strong and healthy.

Now that you know some of the best nutrient dense foods for keeping your older family members healthy, it’s time to start getting all-natural ingredients so that you can get started.

Contact our experts to discuss growing sustainable fruits and vegetables that you can use in meal preparation. Babylon works with senior living facilities, so you and other caregivers can rest assured that you’re in the best hands. We’re more than happy to talk to you about the nutritional value of various foods and give you more good healthy food recipes that your loved ones will enjoy.