Meal prepping is the act of preparing several meals in one sitting so that there are readily available meals available when a person gets hungry.
Meal preparation can essentially be any type of food but is primarily used to prepare meals that are healthy and satisfying. During the act of meal prep, the individual likely will cook a minimum of three or four meals in one sitting, however he or she can choose to do more or less based upon their needs and desires. Meal preparation can help an individual lose weight, stick to an eating plan or simply help prepare convenient and healthy meals.
How is Meal Prepping Beneficial to Seniors? How Can a Caregiver Help?
Meal prepping is a healthy way to stay on top of a specific meal plan and focus on nutrition. For seniors, nutrition may be one of the biggest factors in their health status, especially if they have been diagnosed with an illness or disease. Before an elderly individual commits to meal prepping, it is advised that he or she consults with their doctor about the foods they should be eating on a daily basis. This will give them an idea of the types of foods they should be eating, as well the foods they need to prepare during their meal prepping session.
In order to maintain senior health and wellbeing, he or she should invest in the practice of meal preparation in order to stay nourished and strong. Malnutrition in elderly individuals is a very serious problem and their food intake should be monitored closely. Meal preparation will allow the senior to simply reheat previously cooked food and eat their food without having to stand for long periods of time cooking or spend excessive amounts of time in the kitchen.
Since seniors cannot spend an unwarranted amount of time on their feet in the kitchen cooking, he or she may choose to enlist help in order to achieve their daily household tasks. A professional caregiver can help seniors with many tasks, including meal preparation and grocery shopping, so that the senior does not have to strain themselves in order to eat proper meals. This caregiver will not only save the senior time and energy, but they can give their family members peace of mind that their loved one is getting the nutrients he or she needs in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
Not only will meal prepping give the seniors a healthy meal, but it will encourage them to eat the already prepared food rather than going out to eat or ordering fast food. If a senior is feeling exhausted or not 100%, he or she may opt for a faster food option such as fast food or ordering food to be delivered. These options are okay every once and a while (pending doctor approval) but should not be the go-to option when they feel tired or are too busy to worry about cooking. A premade meal will take the guessing out of what they are going to eat and makes no room for excuses to eat out or eat junk!
Additionally, seniors may not have the ability to navigate around the kitchen in a safe manner. The kitchen can be a very stressful and chaotic place for elderly individuals, full of hazards and dangers such as knives, heavy objects and high cabinets. Having a caregiver there to help meal prep will prevent seniors from going into the kitchen to try to reach or grab something that is too far or heavy, as well as giving them assistance in warming up their meals before consumption. A professional caregiver will cook the meals, clean the kitchen and place all meal prep containers in a safe space that is easily accessible to the elderly individual. Additionally, it is important to remember that if a senior will be reheating their food while he or she is alone or without a caregiver, it is important to have them in microwave safe dishes and have oven mitts readily available. Safety should always be a priority and caregivers will help the elderly individual stay safe!
What’s on the Menu?
As previously mentioned, it is important that a senior citizen checks with his or her medical professionals before committing to a new meal plan. Depending on their medical history and current diagnoses, he or she may be prescribed to eat a lot of fresh fruits and veggies, consume plenty of leafy greens or have a high protein diet. Each person’s meal prep needs will vary depending on the individual’s requirements and his or her food preferences. Diagnosis specific recipes can help the elderly individual meet their daily nutrition requirements while still enjoying delicious meals. Together, the senior and their caregiver can great a shopping list that will guide the caregiver through the grocery store and allow them to plan out doctor approved healthy meals that the individual will thoroughly enjoy!
Although meal preparation may seem time consuming and tedious, it will allow elderly individuals to continue to meet their nutrition requirements, while enjoying pre-made food! Caregivers are the perfect source of support to utilize for meal preparation, medication reminders and companionship. Happy eating!