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  • Michelle Varela

Recipes for Seniors

Eating healthfully and having an active lifestyle can support healthy aging. Simple adjustments can go a long way toward building a healthier eating pattern. The definition of healthy eating does change a little as you age. For example, as you grow older, your metabolism slows down, so you need fewer calories than before. Your body also needs more of certain nutrients. That means it is more important than ever to choose foods that give you the best nutritional value. According to, the top 12 Heart-Healthy Foods for Seniors include:

1. Almonds and Walnuts

Both almonds and walnuts contain omega-3 fatty acids, which contribute to important functions in the body. They also contain calcium, fiber, magnesium, vitamin E and heart-favorable monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.

2. Beans

Kidney and black beans contain calcium, B-complex vitamins, fiber, folate, magnesium, niacin and omega-3 fatty acids.

3. Berries

Berries are high in antioxidants and fiber, along with calcium, fiber, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamins. Try blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries to find your favorite.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli packs a punch with beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, folate and vitamins C and E. Broccoli can be cooked into dishes or just eaten raw or with healthy dips.

5. Carrots

Carrots are loaded with carotenes, primarily beta-carotene. Studies have associated higher levels of beta carotene with a lower risk of heart disease and stroke.

6. Dark Chocolate

Chocolate contains healthy amounts of resveratrol and cocoa phenols, which can lower blood pressure. Dark chocolates are healthier for you, with higher cocoa content and lower fat than milk chocolate.

7. Fish

Fish like salmon and tuna are full of omega-3s, which can decrease the risk of abnormal heartbeats, help lower triglycerides and slow the rate of artery hardening.

8. Green tea

Antioxidants in green tea can help your arteries stay flexible longer, staving off plaque buildup, according to studies. There is evidence that blood vessel function can improve very quickly after consuming a cup of green tea.

9. Red Bell Peppers

Like carrots, red bell peppers are full of carotenes, along with fiber, folate, potassium and B-complex vitamins. They can also make a quick snack, along with carrots and broccoli.

10. Spinach

Spinach is great for the heart, with beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, folate, and vitamins C and E. Folate is important for building and maintaining healthy red blood cells.

11. Substitute Milks

Almond and soy milks are good choices if you’re lactose intolerant, or just to cut out some fats. Almond milk is rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamin E. Soy milk contains B-complex vitamins, calcium, folate, magnesium and potassium.

12. Whole grains

Brown rice provides B-complex vitamins, fiber and magnesium. Oats and oatmeal are a go-to for protein and fiber, which can also help you manage cholesterol.

Part of staying healthy as you age is eating well. Meal prep doesn’t have to be a chore even if you live in a tiny house with a small kitchenette. We’ve got you covered with some ideas for easy-to-make meals that require minimal culinary equipment. All you need is one pot, one pan, or one bowl to start cooking delicious, healthy meals.

Healthy Overnight Oats

It takes just minutes to assemble this healthy no-cook breakfast, and you'll have meal-prepped grab-and-go breakfasts on hand for the rest of the week. Top these delicious vegan oats—inspired by classic cinnamon bun flavors—with fresh or frozen fruit and your favorite nuts and seeds.


· 2 ½ cups old fashioned oats

· 2 ½ cups unsweetened nondairy milk, almond or coconut

· 6 teaspoons light brown sugar

· 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla

· 1 ¼ teaspoon cinnamon

· ½ teaspoon salt


Stir oats, milk, brown sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and salt together in a large bowl. Divide among five 8-ounce jars. Screw on lids and refrigerate overnight or for up to 5 days.


People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity should use oats that are labeled "gluten-free," as oats are often cross-contaminated with wheat and barley.

To avoid raw oats, make sure the oats are completely submerged in the liquid before covering and refrigerating.

To make ahead

Refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Butternut Squash Soup

This golden soup soothes and comforts after a busy day. Many grocery stores now sell the squash already peeled and cubed, so preparation is even easier.

  • 2 teaspoons canola or corn oil

  • 2 medium shallots (chopped)

  • 1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)

  • 3 cups fat-free, low-sodium vegetable broth

  • 2 teaspoons minced, peeled gingerroot

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper (coarsely ground preferred)

  • 1/3 cup fat-free half-and-half

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly grated or ground nutmeg


  1. Heat the oil in a pressure cooker on sauté. Cook the shallots for 3 minutes, or until soft, stirring frequently. Turn off the pressure cooker.

  2. Stir in the squash, broth, gingerroot, salt, and pepper. Secure the lid. Cook on high pressure for 20 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally for 10 minutes, then quickly release any remaining pressure. Turn off the pressure cooker. Remove the pressure cooker lid.

  3. Allow the soup to cool slightly. Working in batches, transfer the soup to a blender (vent the blender lid) and puree until smooth. (Use caution as the soup and steam are hot and vent the blender lid away from you.) Return the soup to the pressure cooker.

  4. Stir in the half-and-half. Cook on the sauté setting for 2 to 3 minutes, or until heated through, stirring frequently. Ladle the soup into bowls. Sprinkle with the nutmeg.

Quick Tips

Cooking Tip: Top this soup with other garnishes, such as toasted pumpkin seeds or peeled, diced apple.

Cooking Tip: To make the squash easier to peel and cut, pierce the squash in several places with the tip of a sharp knife. Microwave on 100 percent power (high) for 1 to 2 minutes, then let stand for 3 minutes. Using a heavy knife, carefully cut off the stem end and slice through the squash. Scoop out and discard the seeds.

Oven-roasted sheet pan chicken dinner

Sheet pans, AKA baking pans or cookie sheets, make for fast and healthy meals. Simply dump all your ingredients onto the tray, toss with a bit of oil, sprinkle with a bit of seasoning, then stick it in the oven to bake.

Sheet pan meals let you cook both your entree and vegetables in the same pan for easy prep and washing-up. For an even simpler clean-up, line your sheet pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil before adding all your ingredients.

Sheet pan dinner ingredients:

  • 2 tsp olive oil

  • 1tsp mixed dried herbs

  • 2 chicken thighs – bone-in and skin-on

  • 1/2 of a small to medium onion – peeled and sliced

  • 1cup carrots – peeled and sliced

  • 1cup broccoli florets

  • Salt and pepper to taste

Sheet pan dinner directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 425 degrees

  • Place the vegetables on a large baking sheet

  • Drizzle with the oil and toss to coat

  • Add the chicken thighs to the pan of vegetables

  • Sprinkle the dried herb mixture over the top

  • Cook for 30 to 35 minutes or until the veggies are well roasted and the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 170 to 175 degrees

  • Season with salt and pepper if desired

You can use almost any root vegetable in this recipe such as parsnips, turnips, or even sweet potatoes.

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