Brenda Lyle – Florida Today
Q: I live alone. How can I plan meals?
A: In most parts of the world, meals are not only for nutrition, they’re an opportunity to socialize! From our youngest years through adulthood, we connect around the dinner table. Seniors who live alone often mourn the loss of socialization during mealtimes, when dinner becomes a chore rather than something to look forward to. Eating and cooking can still be a source of satisfaction, though– with a few mental adjustments.
Advantages of solo eating
Gone are the days of having to prepare meals for the picky eater at the table or adjusting to someone else’s dietary restrictions. You can eat for YOU! The freedom that comes from solo eating can be liberating for some seniors. Vegans don’t have to buy meat anymore. You can have broccoli at every meal. Cookies aren’t off limits on the grocery list. The weekly meal prep day just got a lot easier.
Cooking for others is a love language for many people. It is okay to keep your favorite recipes that are for eight servings. Cook up a storm and freeze leftover portions for another day! Share with a neighbor or a friend who is ill and can’t cook for a couple of days. Your faith community probably provides help with meals for a family with a new baby or a member who is having surgery. And if you want to cook smaller amounts, recipe measurements can be modified for reduced portions! Handy conversion tables on your smartphone or computer remove the guesswork.
And if I don’t wanna cook?
If cooking for one or two is not your thing, consider some of the other available meal options. ChefsForSeniors.com services 16 locations in Florida. Their certified chefs create customized meal programs for seniors and prepare them right in your home. Meal delivery services, such as Mom’s Meals and Factor 75, will ship frozen meals to “heat and eat” at your convenience. Other healthy frozen food options are in your favorite grocery stores. Tech savvy? GrubHub or DoorDash will deliver restaurant-prepared meals to your home– but don’t forget your dietary restrictions!
I just don’t like eating alone
Aging Matters in Brevard sponsors “Seniors at Lunch” at 12 different sites throughout the county. The program includes a hot meal, bus transportation and social activities for those 60 and older. On Facebook? Query “single seniors dining out” for groups that connect seniors who want to socialize over a meal.
Put the joy back in mealtimes. Find information and resources for seniors and their families at One Senior Place in Viera and Altamonte Springs.
One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to AskOSP@OneSeniorPlace.com, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging.
Brenda Lyle is a Certified Care Manager and Certified Dementia Practitioner with One Senior Place, Greater Orlando.