Are you single and a member of a senior living community? Creating meals for one can sometimes be a challenge. There are many different things to consider when prepping for one meal daily throughout the week. If you reside in a senior living community, you may already have your three meals prepared for you every day. At HarborChase, we want all our seniors to eat healthy and hearty, but if you are cooking for yourself, follow these simple steps in order to prepare meals for one.
Step 1 – Plan Your Meals
Eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is essential. This means including all the nutrient-dense foods that your body needs, right on your plate. If you are unsure what should be in your meals, check out food groups suggested by the United States Department of Agriculture. As a general daily rule it is important to include these food categories:
- Fruits and Vegetables
- Lean Protein
- Low-Fat Dairy
- Whole grains
Once you understand what your diet should contain, you can more accurately shop for your meals. If you are in an independent living community and someone else does your shopping, prepare a detailed grocery list.
Step 2 - What Type of Recipes Should I Cook?
After you have discovered which foods are best for you to consume, you now need to choose recipes that are simple and yield small servings. To ensure your meals do not make too much and fit into your budget, choose recipes with fewer ingredients. Your recipes should also include the top 4 food categories mentioned earlier. If your meal does yield too many portions put the leftovers in containers for lunch or freeze them for dinner next week.
When choosing which recipes to cook, be sure the directions do not call for any methods you are unfamiliar with. For example, broiling or frying chicken can be challenging and dangerous for some seniors in assisted living communities. If you do choose a recipe you are unfamiliar with, ask a relative or friend to help you!
Step 3 – Scheduling One Day at A time
If you are residing in a senior living community, but you enjoy making your own meals, your cooking methods may be limited. In addition, if you enjoy variety in your meals, having limited cooking methods can also impact how your meals vary from day to day. A great example of a simple senior meal plan could be:
Breakfast (Power Oats)
- ½ cup oatmeal
- 1 cup milk
- ½ a banana
- ¼ cup chopped walnuts
Other great breakfasts for a single senior can include hard-boiled eggs, yogurt parfaits, whole grain waffles, and toast with almond butter.
Lunch (Lentil Soup)
- 1 small onion
- 1 carrot
- ½ cup lentils
- ½ cup smoked ham
- 2 ½ cups chicken broth, low sodium
Alternating lunches can include salmon or turkey wraps, soups, and salads.
- 1 cup of carrots
- ½ cup low-fat cottage cheese
There are various snacks that are senior living savvy. Try and keep all snacks under 200 calories. And made with healthy food groups.
- 3 oz chicken breast
- 1 cup broccoli
- 1 cup cauliflower
- 1 cup brown rice
Other fantastic single dinners for senior living can be baked salmon, shrimp pasta, and chicken salad.
- 1 teaspoon peanut butter
- 1 apple
All these meal choices contain few ingredients but are packed with nutrients, which are perfect for a single senior. Creating meals for one does take planning, preparation, and scheduling. If you are conscious of your body’s needs and make healthy choices, then making a single senior living meal plan can be as easy as 1, 2, 3. Fortunately for our residents at HarborChase, we offer chef-prepared meals all day long in addition to room service. If you would be interested in joining a HarborChase community today, be sure to find your closest community and schedule a visit.