READER QUESTION: Any advice on making healthy meals for two elderly people who are not able to cook for themselves?
If I understand the question correctly, it looks as though you need healthy recipe ideas that can be made ahead of time, portioned out, frozen or cooled and easily reheated.
The good news is we have loads of recipes that will work. The tricky part is what you consider healthy. Here at Simply Recipes we believe a healthy diet is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, a variety of animal and vegetarian protein, diary and healthy fats. Basically, if you make it from (mostly) scratch and eat the sweets and fried foods in moderation it’s healthy to us.
If I were caring for someone and wanted to stock their fridge and freezer with food these are my top recommendations:
Soups and Stews
Soup is always good makes a big, batch and is easy to portion out into individual servings. It keeps for up to a week in the refrigerator and 3 months or better in the freezer. Here are some personal favorites:
- Cabbage Soup
- Easy Tuscan Bean Soup
- Turkey Meatball Soup
- Tomato Soup
- Slow Cooker Beef Stew
- Beef and Barley Stew
Smoothies are great for breakfast, a light meal when you’re not feeling well or a mid-day snack. You can easily make ingredient smoothie packets ahead of time so they are ready to go. Or you can blend the whole smoothie up, then freeze individual portions flat in ziptop bags.
Just take a bag out in the morning and set it on your countertop while you get ready for the day. Smoosh it together and pour it in a cup. If you’re going to make smoothies, it’s helpful to have a high-speed blender. Check out our Guide to High Speed Blenders to see if your blender fits the bill. I’ve listed a few favorites below, but you can find more smoothie recipes here.
We have a whole page dedicated to casseroles. Some are easier to portion and freeze than others. If you want to see the complete list check out our Casserole page. If not, here’s a few favorites to get you started.
- Loaf Pan Lasagna (a smaller lasagna made in a bread loaf pan)
- Lasagna (a 9x13 plan that can be portioned out and frozen)
- Vegetable Pot Pie
If you’re looking for something really simple quesadillas are a wonderful option. I do this for my children. You can stuff quesadillas with anything. Cook them, then let them cool. Cut them into quarters, layer the quesadillas between pieces of parchment paper and freeze in a zip top bag. When you need one, take it out of the bag, pop in in the microwave for a minute and lunch is ready. If you want the tortilla to crisp up you do need to put it in a toaster oven or skillet on the stove top.
- Breakfast Quesadilla with Black Beans and Eggs
- Chicken Freezer Burritos
- Freezer Breakfast Burritos with Sausage, Eggs and Salsa Verde
I hope that’s enough to get you started. Thanks for writing in!
Summer, Senior Editor and lover of cooking for others
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