June 12, 2021

Nutritious Meal Recipe Ideas for the Elderly

Written by: Zaakir Shakoor, MSc

Introduction

The importance of good nutritional intake for the elderly provides adequate micronutrients and antioxidants (vitamins and minerals) to reduce inflammation, boost the immune system, maintain healthy muscle mass, hormone balance, and provide energy for everyday activities (1)

I have highlighted some of my original example recipe ideas that older adults may want to incorporate into their diets to provide a sufficient nutrient for health.

By no means are these example recipes a prescription for an individualized diet plan, and it is always advised to consult a medical doctor or registered dietitian before making any changes to your diet. 

I have included two smoothies, a salad, and a dessert/snack. I have outlined all of the ingredients, preparation instructions, nutritional information, and some additional information regarding the recipe.

The Orange Hero Smoothie (V)

 Ingredients 

  • 300ml/1 glass of orange Juice (preferably with bits) 
  • ½ Cup of Peach Greek Yogurt (frozen or none frozen)
  • 1 cup frozen Strawberry 
  • 1 cup frozen peach
  • 1/2 cup frozen Pineapple Chunks, frozen
  • A handful of Ice Cubes or a ¼ cup of water
  • Optional stevia sweetener to taste 

Preparation Instructions

Blend all of the ingredients into a blender, add stevia if you prefer a sweeter drink (blend fresh or store for later). 

Nutritional Information 

- Protein: 7.5g 

- Dietary fat:3g  

- Carbohydrates: 75g

- Fibre: 8.5g

Additional Information 

This is actually one of my favorite smoothie recipes as it contains a lot of carbohydrates for energy and vitamin C, which is excellent for promoting a healthy immune system.

This smoothie can be very large so you could consider dividing it into 2-3 servings to drink at different times of the day. 

I have included yogurt in this smoothie, which will provide some Vitamin D and Calcium. These nutrients are crucial for maintaining a good level of bone mineral density to reduce the chances of bone fractures, which would degrade the quality of living.

Moreover, the beverage contains a good amount of protein, which will promote muscle protein synthesis to maintain some muscle mass. Functional muscle mass is an essential variable for longevity and improved quality of life. 

Strawbreak Smoothie (VG)

 

Ingredients

  • 8 large strawberries 
  • 1 banana 
  • 200ml pineapple juice 

Preparation Instructions 

Step 1: Chop up all of the ingredients, put them into a blender, and blend for around 30-40 seconds. 

Step 2: Pour into a glass and add stevia sweetener if required for a sweeter beverage.

Nutritional Information 

- Protein: 1g

- Carbohydrates: 57g

- Fat: 0g

- Calories: 136

Additional Information 

This is a great smoothie full of micronutrients and some carbohydrates. Overall, I would say this smoothie can promote a healthy immune system and provide energy, not to mention it is straightforward to consume due to being in a liquid form.

 If the smoothie is too large, an individual could opt to split it into a couple of servings to drink at different times of the day. You can use other juices such as orange, cranberry, pomegranate, etc. If you do not like pineapple.

Smart Salad (VG)

Ingredients 

  • 1 cooked beetroot 
  • 5 cherry tomatoes 
  • ¼ yellow pepper
  • ¼ orange pepper 
  • 3 tbs of pistachios  
  • Mixed salad leaves 
  • Juice of half a lemon 
  • Drizzle of oil (optional; Flaxseed, Olive, Black seed or sesame seeds) 

Preparation Instructions

Step 1: Dice all of the ingredients and put them into a bowl 

Step 2: Squeeze lemon onto the salad 

Step 3: Add any other condiments of your choice, for example, apple cider vinegar, chili powder, etc. (Prepare fresh or pre-prepared for later) 

Nutritional Information 

- Protein: 7g 

- Dietary fat: 18g  

- Carbohydrates: 15g

- Fibre: 3g

Additional Information

This salad contains various vegetables and some healthy fats, which may promote a healthy hormone balance. 

You could opt to include some additional veg of your choice or remove vegetables that you do not like within my recipe.

Healthy Rice Pudding Snack (VG)

Ingredients 

  • 1 rice pudding pot (optional flavour)  
  • 1 heaped teaspoon (6g) cassia cinnamon 
  • 1 heaped tbs of diced fruit of choice

Preparation Instructions

Step 1: Microwave the rice pudding for 30-40 seconds (optional)

Step 2: Add the cassia cinnamon powder and fruit into the pot. 

Additional Information

A study by Hlebowics et al. (2) found that adding 6g of cassia cinnamon to rice pudding slowed down its digestion, thereby lowering its glycaemic index. Due to presenting a lower glycaemic index, it can be consumed as a ‘healthy snack’ with some fruit. 

You may opt for the rice pudding without the cinnamon to provide a quick, nutritious snack, with a faster uptake of glucose to be utilized as energy if you are very active or exercising around this snack, but this is not recommended in most cases.  

Nutritional Information 

- Protein: 5g 

- Dietary fat: 3g  

- Carbohydrates: 50g

- Fibre: 0.5g

- Calories: 247.75

Additional Information 

This recipe is a quick, tasty snack that contains micronutrients, including vitamin D and calcium. As I have mentioned, these nutrients are essential for maintaining healthy bone density for older adults. Lacking these nutrients can increase the risk of bone fractures and reduce the quality of life. 

Conclusion

Older adults need to have a varied diet to get all of their micro and macronutrients contributing to a robust immune system and energy through-out the day. These individuals need to prevent deficiency in certain nutrients, which may hinder health and quality of life.

Note that I have mentioned recipe ideas for snacks, and the macronutrients of meals may be different and perhaps contain slightly more protein to promote muscle mass and mobility. 

References

  1. Bendich, A. Antioxidant Micronutrients and Immune Responses. Clinical Nutrition. 1990;587 (1): 168-180
  2. Hlebowics, J., Darwiche, G., Bjorgell, O., et al. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2007; 85 (6): 1552–1556
Article written by Zaakir Shakoor, MSc
Zack Shakoor Kayani was born and raised in the South East of England/London. Zack has attained a bolus of knowledge regarding biosciences through academia and his career experiences. In terms of his educational background, he has a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology (Hons.), a Postgraduate diploma in sports nutrition with the International Olympic Committee, and a Master’s of Science in Nutritional Sciences. Zack has been fortunate enough to apply his Exercise Science and Nutrition Knowledge to aid Hundreds if not Thousands of Patients and Athletes, providing 1-1 consultation, Personal training, Information sheets, offering recommendations to collate nutrition and exercise programs, etc. Not to mention, in 2020, he authored a book called ‘Obesity Decoded’

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