Younger adults often spend time preparing healthful meals for the family in the kitchen. Fresh herbs for healthy cooking and even a small vegetable garden were a primary source of the cooking on many nights when younger.
However, as one ages, cooking in the kitchen is often reserved for special occasions rather than routine, daily rituals. Because cooking at home is no longer much of an option, the diet suffers. Eating healthy as a senior is just as, if not more, important than when younger. Medications interact with certain foods and different foods cause digestive issues.
Eating healthy in later life can pay large health dividends, if followed properly. The following section describes some simple ways in which maintaining a good diet can be achieved.
Hire Someone - By hiring someone (caregiver, dietician, or nutritionist), good healthy meals can be prepared with someone to assist. If a caregiver is chosen, encourage the provider to find recipe books and other viable options to fit health needs. Dieticians or nutritionists are experts at creating meal plans and many can help with the preparation. The latter of the options are more expensive, however, it is worth the extra money to have someone to prepare healthy meals.
Pre-prepared Meals - There are companies who prepare and deliver meals virtually every day to one’s residence. This option is similar to Nutrisystem®, but the difference is the meals tend to be fresh. Search through the phone book or do an internet search of the closest meal delivery company and give it a try.
Have a Neighborhood Potluck - Try organizing a neighborhood potluck where members of the community (if in a senior community) all come together and cook with each other. The camaraderie of the community cooking together could be a great bonding experience.
Order Out - This is not the free-card choice for not eating healthy. Many restaurants will oblige an order of steamed vegetables, oil or butter free cooking, or gluten free options if ordered in advance. When ordering out, search for food labels that are posted online or ask to see a reference to the company’s dietary chart of meals. Chose a grilled piece of protein, select steamed vegetables or gluten-free pasta, and a reasonable snack of choice (provided it is not loaded with fats) for better eating habits.
These are a few options for the individual who wants to eat out. For the individuals looking to continue to eat in, be sure to oblige all safety precautions. A few safety precautions are listed below.
Turn off the Heat - When the meal is complete, be sure to first turn off the stove top if it was used. Be sure to refrain from touching the burners until the temperature has been reduced. In addition, always be near a stove top that is on.
Fire - Be prepared for all fire hazards. Store the fire extinguisher nearby in a cool and dry environment away from the oven area. If the extinguisher needs to be used, remain calm, pull the pin on the extinguisher, and point the nozzle at the base of the fire and sweep. In addition, call 911 for any emergent event.
Meat’s Temperature - Meat thermometers are inexpensive and can help ensure that a particular meat is cooked thoroughly. Red meat can have a wide inner temperature, but chicken needs to be cooked thoroughly. Be sure to look up the correct temperature in which to cook chicken.
Having an evening meal can be an enjoyable experience, but be sure to heed precautions. As a senior, reflexes are slower and vision is not quite what is once was. Using some of these tips, enjoy the next meal either indoors or out in public.