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Healthy Meal Ideas for Older Adults

Are you looking for fresh, healthy meal ideas? Adding new, exciting meals into your rotation can keep meals interesting, but it's not always easy to keep things healthy. These tips and meal ideas simplify meal planning, so you can stick to your nutritional needs without getting bored.

Eat Your Greens

Adding greens to your meals helps pack them with nutrients, including several vitamins and minerals. Leafy greens are hydrating foods, which can be helpful to seniors, who often have a higher risk of dehydration. It's easy to toss a handful of greens into most meals, whether that's spinach in your morning smoothie or lettuce on your wrap.

Try Sodium-Free Seasonings

Healthy flavorings help boost the flavor of nutritious but somewhat bland foods. This includes veggies and lean meats, such as chicken. Salt is often a go-to seasoning, but it's common for older adults to limit their sodium intake. Try these alternatives to keep the sodium content of your meals lower:

• Freshly squeezed citrus fruit

• Fresh or dried herbs

• Salt-free dried seasoning blends

• Mustard

• Hot sauce

• Flavored vinegar

• Garlic

Experiment with different flavoring options to jazz up your meals while keeping them healthy.

Incorporate Variety

When planning your meals, keep variety in mind. Include ingredients from different food groups for a balanced meal. Trying a range of foods from each category also adds variety to your meals. For instance, if you always eat chicken as your protein, try lean steak or salmon for something different.

Many meal options are easy to adapt for variety. The meals below work with a range of ingredients and variations to meet your taste preferences and dietary restrictions.

1. Avocado Toast With Egg

Start your day off right with avocado toast. You get grains and veggies, and adding an egg provides protein. Start with a basic recipe, and try variations to keep breakfast interesting. Here are the steps:

1. Use a slice of hearty bread for your toast, so it holds up to the weight of the ingredients. Toast the bread.

2. Mash your avocado and squeeze in a little fresh lemon juice. Season it with salt and pepper.

3. Spread the avocado over the toast.

4. Top it with a fried or scrambled egg.

You can drizzle balsamic vinegar, olive oil, pesto, salsa, or sriracha over avocado toast. Add other toppings, such as bacon, cheese, other vegetables, smoked salmon and fresh herbs, for different flavors.

2. Protein and Veggie Wraps

Wraps make quick, versatile meals to enjoy at home or take on the go. They typically start with a large tortilla or a similar outer wrap. You can find a variety of tortillas, including corn and flour, as well as options that have flavorings or are low in carbs.

Then, simply fill the wrap with any combination of ingredients. Hummus offers a high-protein base that you can use by itself as a vegetarian option or pair with meat for more protein. Add cheese, veggies and sauces to get the flavor you want. Roll up the tortilla to keep the yummy fillings inside.

3. Grain Bowls

Making grain bowls allows you to come up with unusual, delicious combinations. These bowls start with a grain base and include protein, veggies, sauce and toppings. Here are some options for each category:

Grains: Rice, quinoa, amaranth, farro, barley, bulgur

Proteins: Chicken, steak, pork, salmon, shrimp, chickpeas, black beans, tofu

Vegetables: Carrots, potatoes, celery, corn, peppers, onions, mushrooms, radishes, squash, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, spinach

Sauces: Sriracha, soy sauce, stir-fry sauce, salsa, olive oil with lemon juice, flavored vinegar, tzatziki, balsamic sauce

Other toppings: Cheese, fresh herbs, salt, pepper, tortilla strips, nuts, seeds

You can easily prepare the ingredients ahead of time and build your bowl for quick meals. Cook the grains and protein in a large batch in advance. You can add the veggies raw or cook them ahead of time as well. Layer the ingredients and enjoy.

4. Sheet Pan Meals

A quick and easy way to cook is with sheet pan meals. Like the other healthy meal suggestions, they're easy to adjust to your preferences and keep meals new and interesting.

To make sheet pan meals, simply cut up and season your choice of protein and veggies. For protein, you can use chicken, shrimp, pork, steak, tofu or other preferred protein sources. Veggies that work well include carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers and onions, but you can experiment with any ingredients.

Cut the ingredients you choose into bite-sized pieces. Toss them in just a little olive oil, and sprinkle on your favorite seasonings. Spread them on a sheet pan, and roast in a 400-degree-Fahrenheit oven until everything is done. The cooking time varies depending on the ingredients.

Schedule a Visit

When you live at Aberdeen Village, you enjoy distinctive dining with flexible meal plans. The menu includes seasonal and always-available dishes. Explore the dining and other amenities of Independent Living at Aberdeen Village with a visit. Contact us online or call us at 913-213-1686 for more information.

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