Seniors may not feel hungry and may lose track of time and meals. Not only that, it is darn hard to cook for one person and just not all that fun to eat alone.
I share single servings of meals with my dad several times a week, even though he does pretty good on his own right now. He has diabetes, so this makes him keep close track of what and when he eats.
Not everyone has this focus!
If you are worried that your loved one may not be eating well between visits, you may want to consider meal prepping with them.
This is an activity you can do together that will ensure your senior is invested in eating, even when you aren't there!
1. Set a day and time to visit to plan out meals - it may help to have a list of favorites to rotate through so you have the food on hand.
2. Healthy is important, but simple is key to ensure that your senior will actually fix and eat the meals you plan. Don't make things too complicated!
3. Actually write down days, times, and what to eat to eat. Don't trust that just because the food is in there your dear one will fix and eat it.
4. Consider setting a reminder on a smart device to provide an alert that it is meal time. I love google home for this, but a smartphone works just as well.
5. When you talk on the phone, text, email, facetime, etc., don't forget to ask what they ate today and how it was. All the planning in the world isn't going to matter if what is planned doesn't work. Make adjustments as needed.
6. Don't fuss if they changed the times or days of meals because they didn't "feel like" this or that. Remember your senior is an adult - don't make the mistake of treating him or her as a child, even if they are regressing or have memory issues. The goal is to ensure they are eating regularly. If they are, great!
Some things to keep in the fridge that should work for almost everyone:
Frozen berries and already cut fresh fruit
Milk and juice
Parboiled potatoes, cooked rice, and cooked pasta
Spinach or lettuce, cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, and precut celery
Hummus, salsa, guacamole, Italian dressing
Whole roasted chicken cut into pieces and some sliced for sandwiches, cooked bacon, ham, and cheese
Some things to keep in the cupboard that should work for almost everyone:
Tuna - foil packages may be easier to open
White corn chips (non-GMO)
Good quality soup - pull tabs may be easier to open
Good quality whole grain bread sliced
Here is a smoothie you can make ahead with your senior to drink for breakfast or a quick snack:
Fill a blender with spinach - you will need to add more after whirring the ingredients.
Add two bananas, a cup of frozen blueberries, 1/4 cup of peanut butter, a couple of squeezes of raw local honey and a tablespoon of turmeric.
Blend and add more spinach to the top.
Blend until smooth - there will be visible particles of the spinach and blueberries in the end.
Turmeric and honey are natural antibiotics and turmeric also helps with inflammation!
I hope these tips help you and your loved one, but comment below to let me know!