It’s important to be aware of what we are putting into our bodies. This is twice as important as we get older, especially when it comes to food and nutrition. The good news — cooking healthy meals doesn’t need to be complicated or lengthy. There are loads of tasty, healthy recipes that will give senior citizens the nutrients they need to stay young at heart!
But before you dive into the recipes, you need to know your individual nutrition needs. Luckily, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a handy tool to make that easy!
Step one: find out what your body needs
With the help of ChooseMyPlate, you can find out exactly what your daily meals should look like to stay healthy! Just put your age, sex, weight, height, and physical activity level into the calculator, and the tool will tell you how many calories you need each day to either lose weight or maintain your current weight.
For example, a 5’5” 65-year-old woman who weighs 150 lbs and does less than 30 minutes physical activity per day, the calculator suggests 1,600 calories to achieve a healthy weight, and 1,800 calories to maintain your current weight. Clicking on either of these calorie guides will show you how much of each food group you need to aim for! So, if we click on the 1,600-calorie option, we’re advised of a daily intake of:
- 1 ½ cups of fruit
- 2 cups of vegetables
- 5 ounces of grains
- 5 ounces of protein
- 3 cups of dairy
The calculator also tells you how much counts as one cup per group! It’s definitely worth a look as it will give you a good starting point for planning your weekly shop.
Step two: plan your meals with these healthy, easy recipes
So whether you’re caring for an older relative, or you’ve found yourself starting to look at stair lift costs and such to keep living independently as a senior citizen yourself, we have gathered the most delicious and nutritious recipes for you:
Egg muffins with kale, roasted red peppers, and feta cheese
These healthy, veggie-packed egg muffins are quick to make. Plus, you can make a big batch and freeze them to save even more time for the rest of the week!
- 5 egg whites
- 2 large eggs
- ¼ cup of skim milk or almond milk
- Salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon of chopped green onion
- ¼ cup fresh chopped kale
- ¼ cup chopped roasted red peppers
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- Set the oven to 350°F to preheat.
- Grease 8 muffin tin cups.
- Whisk egg whites and eggs together in a bowl. Add in the milk, salt, and pepper and whisk. Stir in the shopped onion, kale, and roasted red peppers.
- Pour the mixture into each of the muffin cups, then top with cheese.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the centers of the muffins are firm.
- Remove from the oven and go around the muffins with a butter knife to remove them from their trays. Serve warm, or store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
- Freeze any you don’t eat to use for future breakfasts.
The simplest healthy oatmeal
This breakfast choice is far and away the easiest hot breakfast choice! Plus, it’s super-healthy!
- ½ cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup of water or milk
- Any topping of your choice: why not try chopped bananas or a handful of chopped strawberries?
- Add ½ cup of oats to ¾ cup of water or milk and stir.
- Microwave for 1 minute, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue stirring and microwaving in 30 second bursts until you get the consistency you like.
- Add your toppings and enjoy!
Salted caramel oatmeal
If you have a sweet tooth, this oatmeal is both satisfying and still healthy!
- ½ cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup water
- ½ banana, sliced
- 2 – 3 tablespoons of date caramel sauce
- Add ½ cup of oats to 1 cup of water and the banana slices into a saucepan. Bring to the boil, then simmer on a low heat for 5 minutes or so. Stir frequently.
- Pour oatmeal into a bowl, then drizzle date caramel sauce on top.
Crockpot chicken fajitas
Crockpots are a wonderful piece of kit to have in your kitchen. Throw everything in the night before and you’ll be all set with a meal the next day — often with enough leftovers for another meal. These healthy fajitas will certainly have you coming back for seconds.
- 4 cups of sliced bell peppers
- 2 cups of sliced onions
- 2 lbs. of boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
- ¾ tablespoon of chili powder
- ¾ teaspoon of salt
- ¾ teaspoon of cumin
- ½ teaspoon of garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon of onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon of sweet paprika
- Put the peppers, onions, and chicken in the crockpot bowl and mix.
- Mix the rest of the ingredients in a separate bowl to make the fajita spice, then sprinkle that over the chicken, peppers, and onions.
- Cook on a low heat for 5-6 hours.
- Serve with brown rice, or whole grain tortilla wraps.
You can also combine the ingredients and, instead of cooking them in a crockpot straight away, pop it in the freezer. So, by making a batch to serve eight, you’ll have plenty to put in the freezer while a smaller portion is cooking. The frozen portions can be put in the crockpot at a later date to cook up for dinner.
Roast beef sandwich
Get a healthy boost of protein with this filling sandwich.
- 1 small wholegrain hoagie bun
- 2 ounces lean roast beef
- 1 slice of part-skim mozzarella cheese
- 2 slices of tomato
- ¼ cup cooked mushrooms
- 1 teaspoon of mustard
Simply build up your sandwich from the above ingredients! This would go great with a side of potato wedges or a salad.
Make your favorite potpie much healthier with this simple recipe!
- 1 tablespoon of oil
- 1 sliced leek
- 1 chopped garlic clove
- 5 ounces of button mushrooms
- 7 ounces of boneless, skinless chicken breast or thigh meat
- 1 teaspoon of dried thyme
- ¼ cup of white wine
- ¼ cup of cream
- 2 teaspoons of corn flour, dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water
- Pepper, to taste
- 2 sheets of pre-rolled flaky pastry
- 1 egg beaten in 1 tablespoon of water, for glaze
- Preheat oven to 390°F. Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the leek and garlic. Stir and cook until the leek goes soft.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until they soften too. Add the chicken, turn the heat up to high until the chicken is cooked.
- Add thyme, wine, and cream then simmer on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add pepper and corn flower mix.
- Unroll pastry onto a lightly floured bench. Cut round shapes 1cm wider than the single pie dishes you are using. Cut the rest of the pastry into 1.5cm strips.
- Fill pie dishes with the cooked pie filling, then use the pastry strips to form a ring around the top of the dishes.
- Use the circles of pastry to cover the dish tops.
- Vent the center of the pie with a knife, then brush over with the egg and water glaze mix.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins.
Serve with salad or vegetables.
A nice, soft stew is a great option for those with problems chewing. Plus, you can add so many healthy vegetables to the mix — feel free to add you favorites!
(Makes 6 cups)
- 1 chopped onion
- 2 chopped sweet potatoes
- 1 chopped butternut squash
- 4 thickly sliced carrots
- 2 thickly sliced parsnips
- 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning
- Pepper, to taste
- 1 cup of water
- Put all the vegetables into a large pot with the Italian seasoning and water. Bring it to the boil, then cover and simmer on a low heat for one hour.
There are so many snack options for you to tuck into while giving your body everything it needs to say healthy in your golden years. Why not try classic Greek yoghurt with a handful of berries? Or, try dipping orange slices in dark chocolate — it’s not only strawberries that taste amazing with a little chocolate on!
If you fancy a savory snack, kale chips are surprisingly delicious and super-healthy option:
You won’t believe how moreish kale becomes with just three ingredients and a little time in the oven. You might even find yourself skipping potato chips in favor of these green alternatives!
- 1 bunch of kale
- 1 tablespoon of olive oil
- 1 teaspoon of seasoned salt (you can make your own by mixing salt, pepper, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, and ground red pepper if you prefer)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F
- Tear the kale leaves from the thick stems and into bite-sized pieces. Wash the leaves, then drizzle them in olive oil and sprinkle in seasoning salt.
- Bake for around 10-15 minutes.
If you prefer your chips to have a bit of a kick, a pinch of chili powder will turn your kale chips into spicy kale chips!
Try out these healthy recipes today and see just how easy it is to give your body the goodness it needs!