As a CDPAP caregiver, meal prep can be a critical part of caring. We will go over everything you need to know about meal prepping as a caregiver, from tips for the process to the best foods for seniors. The more you know, the better.
What is Meal Prepping?
Meal prepping involves the preparation of ingredients ahead of time to make the cooking process easier. Rather than planning and preparing ingredients daily, you only do it once at the beginning of the week. From there, you can access the meals whenever necessary.
Some people choose to prepare meals once at the beginning of the week. Others prefer to do it two or three times to keep the food as fresh as possible. Meal prepping has become very popular in recent years, and it’s critical to understand how to complete the process.
How to Meal Prep
If you want to meal prep as a caregiver, it’s critical to understand how to meal prep. Let’s talk about the meal prep process to help you provide adequate care to your seniors during the week.
Here’s the process for excellent meal prepping:
● Make a menu: Determine the food you will make throughout the week. Decide if you want to meal prep one meal or all three. Make an ingredients list.
● Pick a day: Choose the day you will prep every week.
● Grocery shop: Shop for all the ingredients on your list.
● Prep: Prepare the ingredients and put everything in proper containers for later eating.
You’ll have tons of food after these steps.
It might take a little bit to get the hang of meal prepping. However, once it becomes a habit, you will love the ease it brings to your life and the life of your seniors. There are a few tips available that can make it easier.
Meal Prepping Tips
Meal prepping might seem like a simple concept, but it’s easy to get lost as a caregiver. We have some tips that will make the process less complicated and beneficial for you and your senior.
Here are a few of the best meal prep tips for a caregiver:
● Stay organized, using bags and Tupperware to separate meals
● Bring your loved one along for shopping and preparing
● Ask your loved one for their input on dishes for the week
● Don’t pick bad foods, such as excess sugar
● Get creative and use cooking as a natural stress reliever for both of you
These will make the process incredible.
It’s not easy to be a caregiver. Meal prepping provides a way for you and your senior to get quality time and have fun together. You can plan the menu, shop, and cook together without worry. Of course, it’s critical to select foods that are good for seniors.
Good Foods for Seniors
Fruits and Veggies
Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods for seniors. You want to incorporate these in every meal if possible. Fruits, berries, leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and onions are some of the best choices. They provide the body and brain with everything they need to function.
If you’re not sure how to add these items to meals, here are a few examples:
● Put additional veggies in soup, whether from a can or homemade
● Add berries to a smoothie or inside yogurt
● Place a side salad with every meal to instill quality habits
You and your seniors will love these choices.
Fruits and vegetables are critical to eat throughout life, but they become vital in the later years. For the ideal meal prep options, attempt to incorporate fruits and veggies as much as possible.
Healthy fats are another beneficial item to ingest as a senior. Their bodies may have a trickier time absorbing nutrients. With the addition of healthy fats, it becomes much easier for standard absorption processes to occur.
If you’re unsure how to add healthy fats to a meal-prepping diet, here are a few suggestions:
● Add fish to the meal plan for a few meals a week
● Add nuts, seeds, or avocado to salads, oatmeal, and granola
These items provide an excellent amount of healthy fat to benefit any diet.
Healthy fat doesn’t have to be the focus of every meal. However, you should have a decent amount of healthy fat throughout the week. Adding it to the diet of your loved one will make it easier for them to ingest critical nutrients and add to their quality of life.
Bacteria is a bad thing in many cases. However, there are also good bacteria that are essential for all people. Good bacteria in fermented foods can assist with health by fighting off germs and keeping severe illness at bay. It’s critical to add good bacteria to the diet of your loved one.
If you are unsure how to incorporate good bacteria into your meal prep, here are a few suggestions:
● Provide yogurt as a breakfast option
● Offer kombucha as a delicious beverage
● Try sauerkraut as a side or topping
These foods are full of beneficial bacteria for the gut.
Many of these items can impact the gas level of seniors, so it’s critical to keep that in mind. Good bacteria are worth it despite the side effects it has on some people.
Protein is a critical nutrient for strength. As humans age, it becomes trickier to absorb protein. Your loved one may experience weakness and lower energy thanks to their inability to take this crucial nutrient. You must ensure your senior has plenty of protein in their diet, simple through meal prepping.
Here are a few ways you can add protein to your loved one’s diet:
● Use eggs as a quick meal option
● Choose Romano or White Navy beans instead of potatoes or noodles
● Try a snack of nut butter with apple slices or celery for a quick protein addition in the day
These will benefit their strength and energy.
If your loved one does not receive the necessary levels of protein to keep their body in shape, it will become apparent. Try to give them tons of chances throughout the day to absorb protein. We have a recipe suggestion for you, packed with protein.
Great Meal Prepping Recipe
Practice meal prepping before you go all in with every meal. Let’s go over a simple meal prep recipe you and your loved one can make.
Here are the ingredients you need for low-carb cheesy chicken and rice:
● Cauliflower rice
● 2 tbsp olive oil
● Salt and pepper
● 1 crown broccoli
● 1 cup shredded cheese
● 1 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
● 1 tbsp olive oil
● 1 tsp garlic powder
● 1 tsp onion powder
● ¼ tsp salt and pepper
Here are the steps:
● Cook the cauliflower rice with the olive oil on medium heat
● Season the rice with salt and pepper, then separate it into containers
● Cook the broccoli with additional oil, then separate it into containers
● Toss the chicken with olive oil and remaining spices
● Add to the containers
● Top with cheese
You’ll have a delicious masterpiece in no time.
There are tons of meal prep ideas out there. You can even get creative and make up your own.
It can be tricky to make food as a caregiver. Meal prepping makes the job simpler and takes stress off your shoulders. With meal prep, you can get food ready and spend quality time with your loved one.