If you or someone you care about is an older adult looking to improve their nutritional intake, living in an assisted living community with dining services may be beneficial. However, it can be just as helpful to simply learn how to cook healthy dishes that offer adequate nutrition for older adults. Still, many older adults become malnourished for a variety of reasons. If you or someone you care about is struggling to get proper nutrition through meals, it’s worth remembering that while many people seem to focus their diets solely on trying to lose weight and prevent disease, the nutrition problems facing older adults can be quite different.
For many seniors, it’s not a matter of not eating enough but rather a matter of not getting enough nutrients. Adding to this problem is the fact that many older adults also deal with a variety of chronic medical conditions that may limit what they can eat. Plus, when seniors live alone, they may not have the strength or motivation to regularly cook healthy meals for themselves. Looking for an assisted living community with a food for seniors program in Florida? Contact Summer’s Landing today by calling 850.265.9829 or reaching out to our team online.
Three of the Best Recipes for Seniors
1. Chicken and Vegetable Hand Pies
This tasty entrée combines chicken, vegetables, and whole grains. It’s easy to make in batches, which can be left in the freezer for up to six months. Older adults can simply take one or two of these hand pies out of the freezer and heat them up for a meal. Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:
- 1 1/2 pounds of ground chicken
- 3 1/2 cups of white whole-wheat flour, plus 2 tbsp
- 1/2 cup of French green beans, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup of fresh or frozen green peas, thawed
- 3/4 cup of carrot, finely chopped
- 1 1/2 cups of unsalted chicken stock
- 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tbsp
- 10 tbsp of ice-cold water
- 1 tbsp of kosher salt
- 1 tbsp of baking powder
- 1 tbsp of fresh thyme, chopped
- 1 tbsp of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped, plus more for garnish
- 1 tsp of water
- 3/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large egg, beaten
- Cooking spray
First, use a food processor to combine 3 1/2 cups of flour, 1 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1 tbsp of baking powder into a dough. Then, stir together 10 tbsp of ice-cold water and 2/3 cup of oil. With the food processor running, slowly pour the water-and-oil mixture onto the dough until it’s crumbly. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, knead and then press into a disk with a circumference of five inches. Cover the disk in plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
Put 1 tbsp of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add ground chicken and cook, stirring often, for about five minutes. Place cooked chicken and pan drippings in a bowl. Without wiping the pan or changing the heat, put in another tbsp of oil. Add French green beans, carrots, thyme, and garlic. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for five minutes or until tender. Add chicken and drippings back to the pan, then stir in peas. Sprinkle 2 tbsp of flour and stir. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil, then cook for four minutes or until thickened. Fold in parsley, pepper, and 1 1/2 tbsp of salt.
Whisk together egg and 1 tsp of water to make the egg wash. Remove dough from refrigerator and let stand five minutes. Divide dough into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a ball. Roll each ball into a six-inch circle. Spoon 1/3 cup of the cooked mixture onto the center of each circle. Then, brush the edges of dough circles with egg wash and fold the dough over the mixture to form half-moons. Press edges together to seal. Brush remaining egg wash over the tops of the half-moon pies and score tops to vent or follow freezing instructions.
To bake: Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, then lightly coat the paper with cooking spray. Place pies on prepared pan. Bake at 400°F for 25 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Top with parsley.
To freeze and eat later: Freeze half-moon pies on a baking sheet for 12 hours or until solid. Transfer to a ziplock plastic freezer bag and freeze for up to six months. No need to thaw pies when it’s time to bake them. Place frozen pies on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Brush with egg wash and score tops to vent. Bake at 450°F for 25 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Top with parsley.
2. Comforting Vegetable Soup
A delicious bowl of vegetable soup makes a great and nutritious meal. You can throw this one together quickly and let it simmer while you tend to other household chores. You can also freeze individual servings to make them convenient meals for the future. All you’d need to do is thaw and heat the servings in the microwave. Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:
- 1 tbsp of olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 medium carrots, diced
- 2 stalks of celery, diced
- 1 medium clove of garlic, minced
- 1 tsp of dried thyme
- 1/2 tsp of kosher salt, plus more for taste
- 1/4 tsp of freshly ground black pepper, plus more for taste
- 1 medium zucchini, diced
- 1 14-oz can of diced tomatoes
- 4 cups of vegetable broth
- 1 1/2 cups of white beans, such as cannellini or pinto beans
- 1/2 cup of chopped Italian parsley
- 1 tbsp of red wine vinegar
Place a large saucepan over medium heat. When hot, add the oil. Then, add the onion, carrots, and celery and occasionally stir until softened, cooking for about five minutes. Then, add the garlic, thyme, salt, and black pepper and stir for one more minute. Add the tomatoes, vegetable broth, and beans, and then increase the heat to medium-high. As soon as the soup comes to a boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered until the zucchini is tender, cooking for about five minutes. Add parsley and simmer for a minute. Remove from heat and stir in red wine vinegar. Add additional salt and pepper, if desired.
To serve: Ladle into bowls and top with parsley sprigs and an extra drizzle of olive oil, if desired.
To freeze and eat later: Ladle servings into microwavable and freezer-safe plastic containers, and then keep them in the freezer. Take out containers and microwave them to serve. Top with parsley springs and olive oil, if desired.
3. Mini Vegetable Lasagna Cups
This recipe is a healthier take on lasagna. A big batch of these cups can be made all at once and then can be split into some that are served right away and some that can be frozen for later consumption. Here are the ingredients needed for this recipe:
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- 1/2 cup of ricotta cheese
- 1 cup of oven-ready lasagna noodles, broken up
- 1 red or yellow pepper, diced
- 1/2 cup of mushrooms, sliced
- 1/2 cup of broccoli, chopped
- 1/2 cup of zucchini, chopped
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup of pasta sauce
- 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese, grated
- 2 tbsp of fresh basil, chopped
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Grease four cup-sized ramekins with olive oil. Divide fillings evenly among ramekins — starting with ricotta cheese, then lasagna noodles, then veggies, and more ricotta. Top with lasagna noodles and pour about 1/4 cup of pasta sauce over each filled ramekin. Finally, add grated mozzarella cheese on top. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes until lasagna noodles are al dente and cheese is melted.
To serve: Remove from the oven and top with fresh basil before serving.
To freeze and eat later: Cover the filled ramekins with foil or plastic wrap and freeze them for up to three months. Bake in the oven right from frozen for 30–40 minutes at 375°F. You can also defrost in the fridge overnight, then bake in the oven for 25 minutes until lasagna noodles are al dente and cheese is melted. Serve it the way you would if they hadn’t been frozen.
When Should You Consider an Assisted Living Community With Dining Services?
Assisted living communities offer benefits that can help improve your health and wellness, as well as that of your loved ones. Not only do these communities offer both dining services and housekeeping services, but most of them give residents access to physical, recreational, and social activities. They may also have staff members that provide medication management and other services that seniors may find necessary as they grow older.
Learn More About Summer’s Landing
If you’re searching for an assisted living community with a food for seniors program in Florida, contact Summer’s Landing today. Call 850.265.9829 or reach out to our team online.