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How to Get Started with Healthy Meal Prep for Older Adults

senior couple in the kitchen preparing a meal

I don't know about you, but for me, mealtimes can feel a little hectic. It's a lot of time figuring out what to eat and how to prepare it, and often times, it can feel a bit stressful or overwhelming. Sometimes, I end up grabbing takeout or eating things that just aren't healthy for me because of it.

If you're like me and eating healthy can feel like an overwhelming struggle sometimes, meal prepping might be able to help. Meal prepping can make a huge difference in your life. It can:

  • save you time
  • save you money
  • help you eat healthier
  • reduce the temptation to eat outside your plan
  • and lower your stress levels

So how do you start healthy meal prepping?

Start small.

If you go all out in the beginning trying to prep every single meal for every single day out of the week, you're going to feel overwhelmed. And you're not going to want to do it. Start by prepping one meal a week. Once you feel comfortable with that, bump it up to two or three meals a week, and so on and so forth. You can even go so far as to plan out your snacks throughout the day.

Make sure you think about each food group.

The healthiest meal plan will incorporate fruits or vegetables, whole grains, high-quality protein, and healthy fats. If you find that when you're meal planning, you're leaving out one of these food groups, be sure to fill in the gaps.

Figure out what meal prepping method works best for you.

You can batch cook and freeze meals, make meals ahead of time that can be reheated, make ready-to-cook meals, or make grab-and-go meals.

Batch cooking is when you prepare multiple batches of specific recipes that you then portion out and freeze for future meals. Say you make a pot of chili but instead of making it for one meal, you double the recipe and freeze the other half so it can be eaten at a later date.

Make-ahead meals work best for people who don't have a lot of time to cook during the week. This usually involves soups or casseroles that you can leave in the fridge and reheat when you're ready to eat.

Ready-to-cook meals are simply preparing all the ingredients before hand so that when it's time to eat, all you have to do is throw everything into a pot or pan to be cooked.

Grab-and-go meals are portioned servings that are meant to be something quick and easy for you to take on-the-go, like a small salad or a sandwich.

Write out a menu.

Writing a menu can help keep you organized and ensure that you're including all the necessary food groups to keep you healthy. Make sure you list each ingredient you need for your meals. To save money, try making recipes that use the same ingredients.

As we get older, it can become more and more difficult to maintain a healthy lifestyle, and that includes healthy eating habits. But it's extremely important. If you find that you're struggling to maintain healthy eating habits, try out meal prepping and let me know how it works for you.

**Meal prepping is not for everyone. Talk to your doctor before starting any new meal plan.

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