People living with disabilities and seniors often have busy schedules. They attend community presentations, support group meetings, and educational programs. Medical appointments, errands, and fun activities all take time out of the day. After riding the bus home, changing trains, or loading on and off transportation service vehicles, both caregivers and their charges may feel tired and hungry.
However, these packed schedules can limit the amount of time caregivers have to shop for food and prepare healthy meals. Liberty Resources Home Choices offers home care services in the Philadelphia metro area and offers these suggestions for easy meal preparation.
Responsible Home Care Includes Nutritious Meal Preparation
We consider lifestyle support key to helping people living with disabilities and seniors maintain their independence, and this includes help with meals. Whether the caregiver shops and prepares the food, or everyone joins in with these tasks, nutrition plays an important role in overall health, energy levels, and mental abilities.
Caregivers must be familiar with any dietary restrictions, allergies, and foods that are strongly disliked. If chronic illnesses are a factor, caregivers should be familiar with nutritional recommendations, associated medication schedules, and whether certain food textures are difficult to consume.
Take time to plan meals for the week, including necessary shopping trips. If they are allowed, have healthy snacks on hand, too. These can help keep the household calm during meal preparation. Using prep time to chop ingredients for more than one meal or cooking and freezing staples that contribute to a variety of meals, are other ways to ultimately save time. The Administration for Community Living offers these meal-planning tips for caregivers.
Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, and Snacks
While some people living with disabilities and seniors have specific diets to follow, usually nutritional advice is more general. Here are some ideas for those three square meals — as well as snacks — that are easy and delicious:
It’s often recommended to include protein and carbohydrates at the beginning of the day, such as:
- Oatmeal with fruit
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Toast with peanut butter or avocado spread
- Turkey bacon or turkey sausage
- Fruit smoothies with low-fat yogurt
The midday meal can be a great time to eat vegetables, which may be easier to digest if steamed, boiled, roasted, or sauteed. Cooked vegetables make great salads all year round, and the addition of grains, potatoes, or cooked squash helps satisfy strong appetites.
Another traditional lunchtime meal is soup. Flavorings such as vinegar, healthy oils, garlic, and dried herbs can be added to increase variety. Here are a few other suggestions for lunch:
- Quinoa or rice bowls topped with cooked vegetables
- Clear broth soups with vegetables and protein, such as chicken and noodles
- Thick soups with blended boiled potatoes, roasted carrots, or broccoli
- Omelets with sauteed vegetables
Serve lean protein with plenty of vegetables, hearty casseroles, easy-to-digest starches, and one-pan roasted meals. Some great dinner choices include:
- Baked fish with rice and sauteed vegetables
- Lasagna with turkey sausage and low-fat cheese
- Chicken and biscuit casserole with carrots, peas, and celery
- Chili with lean beef and a mixture of canned beans
- Chicken breasts roasted on carrots, parsnips, or potatoes
- Beans or lentils with rice
While seniors and people living with disabilities – really, all people – should rely on these three meals for the best daily nutrition, having snacks on hand can help satiate immediate hunger. Consider the following healthy options:
- Unsalted nuts if diet allows
- Low-fat flavored yogurt
- Fresh, canned, or frozen fruit
- Baked whole grain quick breads or muffins
Find Meal Preparation and Home Care Assistance
Liberty Resources Home Choices provides trusted caregivers for people living with disabilities and seniors who want to live independently. We also offer respite care that gives family members a break from providing in-home care for their loved ones. If you are looking for assistance in the Philadelphia metro and eastern Pennsylvania areas with home care, meal preparation, housekeeping, and other resources, contact us today.