Find out three very simple, very easy meals to help you stay healthy in the winter without having to cook for hours or go out of your way for fancy ingredients.
It is really important for the elderly to be careful about their food consumption in winter for two main reasons.
The first reason is that malnutrition is a huge problem in the elderly with more than 1 million elderly people in the UK at risk. Appetites can decrease so there is less room to pack nutrients in. Nutrient needs change and a lack of awareness can cause deficiencies. A person can also struggle with dexterity, mobility issues and memory issues that cause cooking, preparing or even buying food to be problematic.
The second reason is obesity and being overweight with three quarters of those aged between 65 and 74 being obese or overweight. The elderly can easily become overweight because moving happens less, and eating high calorie convenience foods can happen more often. You need less food when you are older and yet quick and easy meals you can cook in the microwave or oven are high in calorie and easy to make, so can be inviting.
For optimum nutrition it is a good idea to have a check with your doctor as to whether you are overweight and whether you have any deficiencies. That should help you or your home care help create the perfect diet plan for your needs. In the meantime, here are three excellent healthy meals to help you stay in great shape during the winter months:
Porridge is an excellent meal that can work any time of the day, not just for breakfast. Steel cut oats are the most nutritionally dense type, although any type is a great option. They are cheap and you don’t need much at all to make a huge bowl of satisfying hot porridge. You can microwave it if you don’t want to use the hob, or heat it on the microwave. Add more or less water, milk or dairy free milk depending on your preference for consistency. You can add a huge range of toppings to add extra nutrition including:
- Low-salt peanut butter
- Ground flax
- Nuts and seeds
- Chopped or pureed fruit
- Superfood powders
You can try something different every day to enjoy a range of nutrients.
Soup is so easy to make and it ensures you can pack all your nutrients into one bowl. All you need is a few ingredients and some stock, herbs and spices. You can freeze it in portion sizes so that you have meals ready to eat as and when you need them. You can also pair soup with toppings or sides to suit your nutritional needs. Here are some suggestions:
- Toasted bread or crackers topped with hummus
- Toasted seeds
- Low fat creme fraiche
- Flavoured oil
- Additional veggies
- Nutritional yeast
Salad may seem like a summer dish, but it can be an excellent way to have a low calorie, nutrient dense meal in winter. Warm salads are a great idea, and can comprise of roasted veggies, more hardy greens and a delicious dressing. Salads don’t have to be cold. When making a salad try to include:
- Some sort of grain or carbohydrate like quinoa, brown rice, couscous or wholemeal pasta
- Healthy protein such as smoked tofu, chicken, turkey or legumes
- Lots of vegetables and fruits including lots of leafy greens
- A healthy fat such as avocado, feta cheese, or a dressing made from tahini
If you are struggling with winter nutrition, home care could help, even if it is a home visitor giving you help for an hour drop in a day. For more substantial help, live-in care could be a good option for you. You can find out about live-in care on The Live-in Care Hub website.