Autumn means cooler temperatures and longer nights. For many individuals, autumn also means adjusting their meal menus to include healthy, hearty, fulfilling fall meals. Seniors and caregivers for Medicare recipients can take advantage of all the nutritionally healthy fall foods often on sale at the grocery stores. With a little menu planning, mealtimes can be tasty, filling, and nutritious.
Remember to take your personal food restrictions into consideration when planning your daily meals. This is even more important for seniors and Medicare recipients with health conditions such as diabetes and heart ailments when certain foods can trigger elevated blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Making a weekly menu plan will help you and caregivers know what foods to have on hand for healthy meals and that provide a good variety of meal selections.
We have all heard that ‘variety is the spice of life.’ This definitely applies to dietary needs. The following recommendations show a wide variety of foods that are beneficial for seniors. The recommendations include 5 healthy fall meals for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
5 Healthy Fall Breakfast Meals
• Whole Wheat Items – Toasted bread, English muffins, bagels, and waffles provide good carbohydrates, are inexpensive, and easy to prepare. Top your choice with a protein-rich spread such as apple butter, almond butter, or low-calorie jam or jelly.
• Eggs – Eggs are a good source of protein and important minerals. They can be prepared in different styles from soft or hard-boiled to scrambled or fried. Add chopped vegetables for a delicious omelet. You can remove the yolk is you are watching your cholesterol or fat intake.
• Oatmeal – This breakfast favorite has good carbohydrates and fiber, protein, vitamins, and low in calories. Add berries, apple or banana slices, or raisins for a sweet taste.
• Yogurt – Plain yogurt is a good source of protein, calcium, vitamin D, and probiotics to help with digestion. For a sweet or crunchy taste, add berries, almond slices, or granola.
• Whole Grain Cereals – Cold cereals such as Cheerios, Shredded Wheat, All-Bran, and Kashi support heart health and aid in the control of cholesterol levels. Use reduced-fat milk and add in sliced fruit for a sweet taste.
5 Healthy Fall Lunch Meals
• Stir-Fry Vegetable Salad – Stir-fry chopped vegetables such as mushrooms, onions, bell peppers, and celery in peanut or olive oil to retain their vital nutrients. Add sliced or diced nut pieces to the bowl of warm vegetables and toss with a lite salad dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
• Rice and Beans – Rice is a wonderful staple for a variety of dishes. It is low in sodium and high in potassium which helps to reduce fluid build-up. Brown rice has more amino acids, minerals, and vitamins than white rice. Beans are a good source of fiber and minerals. Drain a can of your favorite white, black, pinto, navy, or garbanzo beans and add it to a bowl of warm rice. Sprinkle with some spices for a tasty, filling, healthy midday meal.
• Cheese Omelet – Cheese is an excellent source of calcium and protein. Warm a skillet with a pat of butter or a small amount of olive oil. Pour in two beaten eggs with a handful of shredded low-fat cheese and spices. When the mixture has set firmly, fold over the edges for a covered omelet and places on a dish with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.
• Fish Wrap – Tuna and salmon are beneficial sources of protein, vitamins, minerals, and Omega-3 fatty acids. Spoon some drained canned tuna or boneless salmon onto a low-calorie, whole wheat wrap. Add plain yogurt, some chopped vegetables, and spices before wrapping everything tightly. Cut the wrap in half and put on a plate with sliced avocado and black olives for a heart-healthy lunch.
• Potatoes and Eggs – Potatoes have very little fat and are a rich source of potassium and vitamin C. Eggs are a good source of protein and essential minerals. To help control cholesterol levels, you can remove the egg yolk. Warm-up a skillet with a small amount of olive oil over a medium heat. Place a small, chopped potato and some chopped onion in the skillet and cover the pan for a few minutes. Pour two scrambled eggs over the potato and onions, sprinkle with black pepper, spices, and herbs, and use a spatula to turn the ingredients until the eggs are cooked. Place on a dish with sliced tomatoes or apples and enjoy.
5 Healthy Fall Dinner Meals
• Lamb Chop and Potatoes – Heat the broiler to 450 degrees. Wrap a small potato in aluminum foil and drive an aluminum cooking nail through the potato to bake it faster and place it on a lower shelf in the oven. Let the potato bake for 10 minutes before adding the lamb chop. Place a lamb chop on the broiler pan and baste with a cooking sauce of your choice, sprinkle with herbs or spices, and place the pan in the oven. Broil for 5 to 8 minutes on each side. Remove both items from the oven and place them on a plate with sliced tomatoes and cucumbers.
• Baked Skinless Salmon – Heat the broiler to 450 degrees. Place a salmon fillet on the broiler pan and baste with a seafood sauce, sprinkle with herbs or spices, and place the pan in the oven. Slowly broil each side for 4 minutes until the salmon is flaky. Place on a dish with steamed string beans and a few slices of water-packed pineapple.
• Eggplant and Pasta – Eggplants tend to have a sharp taste. To reduce this sharpness, start your eggplant meal the night before by peeling and slicing an eggplant, put it in a deep saucepan, cover with cold water, and add a palm-full of salt. Cover the pan and let it soak for a few hours. Drain the water and repeat the soaking. In the morning, drain the water and let the eggplant slices dry. In the evening, warm a thin layer of olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Place the eggplant slices in the pan and fry them on both sides. Remove the fried slices and place them on a paper-covered dish. While working with the eggplant, start boiling water for the pasta. Add the pasta to the boiling water, add a small amount of salt, and simmer for 10 to 12 minutes. When the pasta is ready, spoon some onto a dish, layer the pasta with eggplant slices, sprinkle on some grated cheese, and enjoy.
• Chicken Soup – Skinless Chicken soup is a source of protein, low fat, carbohydrates, and vitamins. Place a skinless, cut up chicken in a soup pot. Add 2 chicken flavored bouillon cubes, some cut up carrots, celery stalks, and one onion. Sprinkle with some black pepper and oregano. Add enough water to cover the ingredients. Place on the stove and let it simmer on medium-low heat for a few hours. Serve the soup over egg noodles or rice for a tasty, warm healthy dinner.
• Sweet Potato and Liver – Beef liver is a rich source of iron, copper, folic acid, and vitamin A. Sweet potatoes contain beneficial complex carbohydrates, beta-carotene, magnesium, and vitamin A. Heat the broiler to 450 degrees. Wrap the sweet potato in aluminum foil and drive an aluminum cooking nail through it to bake faster and place it on a lower shelf in the oven. Let the sweet potato bake for 10 minutes before adding the liver. Place the liver on the broiler pan and lightly cut into the liver a few times on the top and bottom for even baking. Sprinkle with black pepper, herbs or spices, a few thin slices of onion, and place the pan in the oven. Broil for 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Remove both items from the oven and place on a plate with steamed green peas and a side dish of fresh apple slices.
These menus are just a sample of the many delicious healthy fall meals that seniors and other Medicare recipients with medical conditions can enjoy throughout the cooler season. Just change one main meal item for another to have an endless variety of meal selections. Make sure you check with your physician and plan your meals according to any dietary restrictions you need to follow to stay healthy.