Cooking might not be the pleasure it once was, but you don’t want to shortchange yourself on nutrition and a healthy diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of healthy alternatives to spending long hours in the kitchen. Consider these options for maintaining a nutritious diet in your senior years:
- Get help in the kitchen. If you can’t or don’t like to cook any more, consider getting some help with your meals from friends and family, or by hiring a home health aide who can shop and prepare meals for you.
- Buy prepared meals. Most grocery stores and supermarkets have expanded their prepared food sections. You can buy entire meals with all the preparation done for you. Some stores have prepared foods set up like a big salad bar, enabling you to put together your own healthy mix of protein, veggies, and other sides.
- Consider home delivery services. If you can’t easily get out shopping, see if you can get fully-cooked meals delivered right to your home from the supermarket and local restaurants. You can have healthy, delicious food for dinner without the effort of shopping and cooking, just by making a phone call.
- Partner with neighbors. If you have friends or neighbors who live alone or just don’t like all the chores surrounding cooking, consider forming your own cooking club. You can share in the bills, the cooking, the shopping, and the eating — a great way to stay socially connected, too.
- Choose easy recipes and plan ahead. Stick to healthy yet simple recipes that don’t require a lot of ingredients or effort but pack a lot of nutrients. Plan your menu for the week ahead so that you don’t have to make many trips to the store.
- To limit the preparation work, consider using frozen ingredients, like vegetables, in your recipes. A simple way to add flavor to your meals is with seasonings rather than complicated preparations; try different herbs and spices to make eating more enjoyable. When cooking is too difficult, choose frozen meals that are microwavable.
- Investigate social services when money and mobility are problems. Programs like Meals on Wheels deliver nutritious meals twice a day to the homes of seniors who can’t cook or get out of the house to shop. Meals on Wheels isn’t free, but it is based on income level.