Shine at Home

I Like to Eat – I Just don’t Like to Cook
Tasty and Nutritious Meals for Seniors By Chris Treftlin

An all-to-familiar phrase I hear all the time.  So, how does a senior eat tasty, nutritious, and balanced meals and do it without eating out every night, or worse opening a can of soup a few times a day.  There are ways, and like everything I have written about it takes some planning.  Some folks in this situation rely on family.  Lots of lasagnas and casseroles.  This will work for a time, and after time the refrigerator gets stuffed, and Mom and Dad are back to where they started.

The Freezer Section of the Grocery Store – NOT!

Prepared food from the freezer section of the grocery store gets called on sometimes.  While the “TV-Dinner” looks like a good option, in fact it is not.  It is not because it is not healthy at all, for anyone BTW!

Sodium – Get the facts!

The above nutrition label is of a popular frozen dinner.  Salisbury Steak in fact.  Yummy, I guess and while the calories may be inline some of the other information should shock you.  I draw your attention to the sodium.  At 71%, or 1630 mg you might as well eat the cardboard packaging, take the lid off the saltshaker and pour the salt down your throat.  The daily suggested intake for sodium for a senior is 1500mg.  So, this Salisbury Steak @ 1630 mg blows the budget.  I will not even get into the negative effects of that much salt.  These are cheap and convenient, but horrible for your health and well-being.

Home Meal Preparation

Another option is to bring meal preparation into your home.  Home Care providers offer this as an option for their clients.  The benefit of this choice is that the client gets the types and options of food they enjoy.  The cost is built into staffing charges.  An hourly rate is charged based on the organizations rates.  Somewhere around $30 per hour, and a typical week would use 2 to 3 hours.  Another benefit to this option is that many times the client joins in peeling the potatoes and cutting the carrots.  The nutritional benefit of preparing raw food is another win for in-home meal preparation.  With this choice budget about 2 hours per week for staffing plus the cost of groceries.

Home Meal Replacement – HMR

This is becoming a big business, and its not just for seniors.  Many busy people are taking advantage of the convenience and copious options on the internet.  They are organized in three categories; RTC (Ready to Cook), RTE (Ready to Eat), and RTH (Ready to Heat).  Ready to Cook refers to the companies that deliver prepared raw food to your door with the instructions on how to cook and serve.  Ready to eat are completed meals in smaller servings served hot and complete.  Think of a modern grocery store deli section.  There you can find a wide range of hot food choices.

Ready to Heat (RTH) are prepared, small batch, raw food that can either be cool, but in most cases frozen.  Pop them into the microwave and a few minutes later you have a piping hot roast turkey dinner, meatloaf, lasagna. The possibilities are endless.  This is a great option for seniors as it combines the convenience of the TV-Dinner and good nutrition.  From a cost per meal standpoint, they range from the $5.oo to $10.oo.  An added benefit is the reusable microwave containers.  With them you can snap the lid back on, put the partially eaten meal the fridge and it is tomorrow’s lunch. 

Whether you use In Home Meal Preparation, or HMR be sure to research your local providers.  Many will allow you to order a few to try.  Be discriminating after all you are the customer.