Cooking for Seniors – Tips for Families and Caregivers from Our In-House Expert

Cooking for Seniors – Tips for Families and Caregivers from Our In-House ExpertPhoto Credit: restaurantdotorg

Below are some notes we took from an interview with Paul Hardy. Go HERE to see some of the interview in video format.

When considering special diets and nutritional needs, cooking for seniors may appear a daunting task.  So we’ve put together a few tips on how to whip up nutritious and tasty meals that are just right for your senior’s needs.

Nutritional Needs

One ongoing challenge all caregivers face when cooking for seniors is meeting the ever-changing nutritional needs of the senior. Most elderly folks require a balance of nutrients to ensure their physical and mental health.  If your senior requires higher calorie intake, we suggest mixing a heavy cream or butter into the meal.  Layering these items into something of substance, like oatmeal for example, will provide the much needed additional calorie and fat intakes.

Keeping the Meals Enjoyable

Another challenge you may face in cooking for the elderly is the changing of their taste buds and digestion.  Instead of increasing the sodium in your meals, try incorporating more flavor through herbs and spices.  Avoid additional salt and opt for other tasty ingredients, such as olive oil coconut oil, garlic, onions, and plenty of fresh vegetables.  Below is an outline of a couple cooking techniques to incorporate a variety of spices and ingredients into your cooking, making each meal unique and flavorful:

  • Southwest Style: Oregano, Cumin, Chili powder, Cayenne pepper
  • Asian Style: Ginger, Lime juice, Soy, Honey, Garlic
  • French Style: Onions, Carrots, Celery

Tips for Leftovers

And don’t forget to make the most of those leftovers.  Those standby vegetables and meats can be easily turned into a delicious and fresh soup by simply adding a stock (beef, vegetable, or chicken) and a few other accessible items.  But don’t let them go to waste. We recommend using leftover items within the first 2-3 days.

Finally, get your senior involved!  This is a great opportunity to spend quality time and exchange conversation.  Give your senior a fun and simple task, like sorting the vegetables during meal preparation.  Your senior’s assistance will help you out and make them feel involved, while stimulating their minds and appetites.