Monday, 17 August 2015

Providing Food for Older People

Eating frugally in a three generation family can be challenging. 

  • there are different needs and may be special diets
  • larger range of likes and dislikes
  • need to have a different approach to likes/dislikes of the older generation than the children
Realistically, Granny or Grandad can't be told that if they don't like their food, they have to try at least some. Alternatives have to be provided. Of course, this does have knock on effects on the children! 

Many older people have conservative tastes in food and this seems to narrow as they get older. So, pasta, rice and curry may be out. This has financial implications, you might be able to make a pasta bake with three rashers of bacon in the sauce feed eight but if Granny doesn't eat pasta this doesn't really work.

How to manage?

-Sometimes, it is necessary to cook two main courses. It is unrealistic to expect the rest of the family to live on an endless supply of meat, two veg and potatoes! In addition, this probably isn't either the healthiest and certainly isn't the cheapest option.
-The second main course might have to be a ready meal to save sanity!

Ready meals
  • vary widely in cost. The supermarkets sell ready meals for £1-£1.50. This is for a standard adult portion. I don't usually shop at Asda but they do seem to have the widest range. The specialist suppliers (Cook/Wiltshire Farm Foods/Oakhouse Foods) do have a reasonably wide choice but tend to cost £2.70-3.50 per mini meal. Full sized meals are more expensive.
  • Standard supermarket ready meals may be too large for an older person and putting the whole meal on the place leads to waste. There are two ways round this; either serve up half the meal on one day and leave the rest for the next day. Alternatively, if another family member is either extra hungry or less keen on the food provided for them, they can eat the extra half.
  • Supermarket frozen ready meals are cheaper than those on the fresh shelf.
  • Of course, ready meals can be made at home. When a favourite meal is served, put a portion in a small container and freeze this or even have a special cooking session. I rarely seem to have time for the latter but saving an extra portion does work.
Meals that may appeal to everyone!
I have failed to find enough to make a month's menu! Still, here are a few ideas.
  • Roast chicken/gammon/beef/pork/lamb
  • Casserole-chicken/sausage
  • Sausages and mash
  • chicken kiev
  • quiche
  • lemon chicken
  • chicken goujons
Desserts may be expected by older people and may be important to help them eat enough. I'm not convinced that providing dessert everyday helps the rest of the family so try to provide a choice of fruit or ice cream. 

Please do comment with thoughts/menu ideas or how you feed the older members of your family.

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1 comment:

  1. I am not at this stage (where I have to take care of older members of the family) yet, so I haven't thought about the differences in tastes and how that can be accomodated... It is indeed a challenge, it seems. It sounds like having ready meals handy just in case someone needs an emergency 'replacement' to the cooked dinner might just be the solution!