Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Freezer Meals for Seniors Revisited

A few years ago I started helping my favorite seniors with their meals by putting easy to heat entrees into their freezer.  I am still doing that for one of my favorite seniors.  These are some updated observations and considerations.

1.  In many areas, an option such as Meals on Wheels is available for seniors.  Meals are often also provided at senior citizen centers.  For our family these are not an option.  Our senior has difficulty swallowing and chewing food as well as very specific likes and dislikes.  Most food provided by Meals on Wheels  is either too difficult to chew and swallow, or something on the 'dislike' list.  In addition, many seniors have health concerns which necessitate watching carbs, calories, fats, or salt.  It seems to me that most institutional food is difficult for this group.

2.  As time has gone on, our senior is having greater mobility issues which make it difficult to spend much time cooking.  As a result, her nutrition has suffered when she doesn't feel up to cooking.  Lack of appetite is also a consideration.

I started this project by doing entrees for my seniors, but recently, it has made more sense to provide a complete meal.  If I want to be sure my senior will eat the meals I need to find out what foods sound good to them and then prepare the meals in a form that can be eaten.

A couple of days ago, I was planning to make containers with meat, mashed potatoes and vegetables, but when I arrived to make the meals, my senior expressed a desire for Funeral Potatoes, so I cancelled the mashed potatoes for this time.  She loves roast beef, so we stopped in at Lower Foods outlet store and got a 2 pound package of  precooked, thin sliced beef ends.  I put the meat into a food chopper so the meat would be easier to chew and swallow.  Then I made a 9 x 13  pan of funeral potatoes.  Last I cooked some peas and carrots to a consistency that she could eat.

I put 1/3 meat, 1/3 potatoes and 1/3 vegetables into fifteen 9.5 ounce containers before placing the containers in the freezer.  A short warm up in the microwave makes a complete meal easy to prepare.

Since winter is almost here, I think the next freezer meal will be something warm and filling for a cold day.  My senior is hoping for a nice meal of ham and beans.

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