Getting the proper nutrition is essential at any age, but seniors are especially prone to malnutrition. Eating healthy and nutritious meals isn't something anyone should have to sacrifice, regardless of age, time, or budget.
Here are 8 easy, affordable, and nutritious meals for seniors on a budget.
Breakfast: 5 Ingredients or Less
- Hard-boiled egg and peanut butter toast. Submerge the eggs in ice-cold water after cooking to make them easy to peel. Boil them for 5 minutes for soft-boiled eggs and 8 minutes for firm, but creamy. For the toast, any nut butter will do. This is a simple, healthy protein-packed way to start the day.
- Overnight oats with fresh fruit. Put the overnight oats in a jar in the fridge the night before you want to eat them. At its very basic level, all you need is milk or nut milk and oats. Adding a teaspoon of maple syrup will give it a light sweetness. Add yogurt or peanut butter for a protein blast.
Lunch: Filling and Wholesome
- Baked Sweet Potatoes. These root vegetables pack a powerful dose of Vitamin A, B, and C, which can help seniors with stronger immune systems, better vision and a reduced risk of cognitive impairment. Sweet potatoes are easy to bake, boil or saute, and can be stored for up to 6 months in an airtight container in the freezer.
- Rice and Beans. A simple, easy staple that also has the added benefit of a long shelf life, rice and beans is a hearty, but nutritious dish that fills your belly with heart-healthy protein and fiber. Cook a bag of frozen peas and add a cup into your bowl to up the health factor with green vegetables.
Dinner: Simple and Savory
- Chicken with Vegetables: Bake boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Steam or saute canned or frozen bags of mixed vegetables, spinach, or broccoli. The lean protein will provide essential amino acids. Frozen vegetables, often less than $2.00 a bag, are an affordable way to eat vegetables without worrying about them going bad.
- Soup and Sandwich: Easy, accessible and affordable--without losing out on taste and flavor. Keep it simple with a healthy canned vegetable soup option like Amy's Organic Black Bean Soup or Healthy Choice's Tomato Bisque. Add a sandwich--simple like grilled cheese or complex like a club, to round out the whole grains and protein.
Snacks: 2 Ingredients or Less
Take even further advantage of these low-cost recipes by creating a grocery game plan that also includes coupons, discounts, sales and deals. Seniors who have compromised immune systems should bring a mask and gloves to the grocery store, ask someone else to shop for them, or use a delivery service like Instacart or Amazon Prime. Whatever you do, be sure to prioritize eating as healthy as you can on your budget.
- Mixed nuts and cheese: Try a handful of raw or roasted (but not salted) nuts and a wedge of cheese. This protein-rich snack also provides the healthy fats seniors need to keep type 2 diabetes at bay.
- Fruit and Veggies: Combine a filling, fiber-rich fruit like an apple, with a sweeter vegetable like carrots or a gentle flavor like cucumbers. Both options are also loaded with water, which can help prevent dehydration, a common side effect of some medications often prescribed to seniors.