The winter months make it difficult for anyone to maintain a healthy diet, but it can be especially difficult for seniors to eat well during this season. In the winter, most seniors who receive home care services are unable to get outside other than to attend medical appointments. They rely on family, delivery services, and caregivers to handle their grocery shopping. When someone can’t get to a supermarket on their own, it’s much harder to select healthy items.
Eating healthy throughout the winter is absolutely possible with some thought and planning. Try using this simple guide to write your shopping list for those who help with your errands during these frigid months. Remember to always review dietary restrictions with your primary care doctor before trying any new foods.
Stick with Seasonal Produce for Lower Prices and Better Quality
Even though supermarkets maintain fresh produce year round, out of season fruits and vegetables are expensive and low quality. Thankfully, there are many hardy choices that are easy to find during the winter months. A winter produce list should include items like:
- Green, leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, brussels sprouts, and cabbage
- Citrus fruits like oranges, clementines, grapefruit, and lemons
- High fiber fruits like apples and pears
- Root vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beets, carrots, and turnips
- Winter squash like acorn or butternut
A colorful mix of seasonal produce will supply a great variety of vitamins and nutrients for good winter health.
All Meals Lead to Soup
Soup is an obvious meal choice throughout the cold winter. For maximum nutritional value, create homemade soup as often as possible. One of the great things about soup is just how versatile it can be. This is a great way to be creative with leftovers and stretch ingredients over several days.
A simple way to make broth from scratch is to buy a prepared rotisserie chicken for one dinner, and then simmer the bones in a pot of water. Add any leftover meat and vegetables to the pot, create some bulk with cooked beans or potatoes, and season to taste. Re-heated soup and a sandwich is a great meal to enjoy multiple times every few weeks.
Virtually any leftovers can be converted to a soup meal if you keep a few cans or cartons of broth in the cupboard. There are many options for broth depending on your dietary needs. Bone broth has the most nutrients, but there are also fat free and low sodium options if needed. Simply add diced leftover meat, vegetables, and seasonings to a pot of broth and allow it to simmer for several hours. Leftover soup is also easy to freeze!
Simple, Shelf-Stable Foods Ensure Plenty of Winter Meals
It can be more difficult for your helpers to make it to the supermarket during cold weather as well. If you think there will be some lags in receiving groceries at your home, make sure you’re prepared with plenty of non-perishable, long shelf life, or freezable items:
- Canned or dried beans
- Boxed potatoes
- Whole grain bread
- Frozen vegetables
- Frozen chicken or ground beef
- Cereal, oatmeal, or cream of wheat
- Canned or pouched tuna or salmon
- Whole grain pasta and sauce
- Peanut butter
A variety of foods that have plenty of protein and healthy carbohydrates or healthy fats will help you to stay full without getting bored. A well-stocked freezer and pantry makes it much easier to put together healthy meals rather than snack on junk food. And it also ensures that you’ll always have plenty to eat, even if the next grocery delivery will be a few days late.
Caregivers at Linda’s Care understand the unique challenges families face when dealing with harsh weather and a loved one who is aging at home. We care about the long-term well-being of each participant and work closely with them and their families to make sure that healthy eating is always possible. Our services include food preparation, which offers peace of mind to many participants who cannot spend as much time in the kitchen as they might like to. For more information about how we practice empathy as the heart of our home care, contact us today. Linda’s Care provides affordable and high-quality non-medical home care services in Philadelphia, Montgomery County, Bucks County, Chester County, and Delaware County.