The Best Recipes to Help Seniors Lose Weight

Recipes to Help Seniors Lose Weight

The New Year is right around the corner, and with it comes a variety of resolutions. One of those might be to lose weight. According to Statista, almost half the people who made resolutions in 2019 wanted to lose weight. But did you know that the majority of resolutions fail by February[1]? Part of the reason why dieting resolutions fail is because it generally means an abrupt change in eating habits. It’s simply off to the races, with no easing into it. And in addition to that, about half of those who try to diet wind up on a fad diet, which almost never sticks[2].

The good news is that by making changes slowly, easing into dieting a bit at a time, any senior can work towards losing weight without feeling deprived of their favorite foods.

Tips to Ease into Weight Loss

The simple command of “eat less” doesn’t really work for most of us, and that’s because of our relationship with food. Americans are accustomed to large portion sizes (much bigger than the recommended serving size), processed ingredients, and a ton of sugar and salt. In addition, a complete overhaul of a typical diet can lead you to feeling deprived as your body tries to adjust to the new foods. Here are some thoughtful ways to ease into healthier eating.

·         Add one healthy ingredient at a time. If you’re used to eating a certain way, you don’t want to change that cold-turkey, as you’ll feel too deprived to keep up the good work. Move gradually instead. Each week, change one food in your usual routine to something healthier. For instance, if you usually drink whole milk, start by stepping down to 2% milk, then 1%, and later try skim. A gradual change can ease you into healthier habits.

·         Watch your portions. A serving size is the amount of food you’re supposed to eat for a given amount of calories; a portion size is often much larger than the serving size, especially if you are eating out at a restaurant. A serving size of meat is the size of a deck of cards, a serving of a pancake is the size of a compact disc, and a serving of cheese is the equivalent in size to a pair of dice! As you can see, this is much smaller than what you would likely put on your plate! Cutting down to the appropriate serving size can help you lose weight while still eating all the foods you love.

·         Gradually replace refined sugar. Sugary foods are filled with empty calories that really do nothing nourishing for your body. But because sugar can light up the reward centers in your brain, you definitely notice a difference if you choose not to drink soda or eat candy[3]. To combat this, turn to fresh fruits for a flavor and sugar punch. Things like strawberries, grapes, and kiwi can give you a shot of juicy, bright sugary flavor that can eventually replace the need for high-sugar, processed foods that are bad for your health and your waistline.

·         Limit processed foods. According to WebMD, a processed food is one that has been altered from a natural state. The foods you need to avoid are those that have been altered to include sweeteners, oils, and salt. You also want to avoid any product that goes through extensive manufacturing, such as those that contain high fructose corn syrup. Processed foods are known to pack on the pounds without giving you optimal nutrition.

·         Plan out your meals. One of the biggest culprits in stalling weight loss is not knowing what you’re going to make for dinner. If your meals aren’t planned out, you might be tempted to reach for a microwave dinner that’s high in sodium or a bag of chips that looks appetizing. Plan out your meals (and your shopping) to include plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean meats, and whole grains. Do any prep work you can in advance, such as chopping onions, so dinner doesn’t feel like such a chore.

·         Stay well-hydrated. If you aren’t drinking enough water, chances are you’ll feel hungrier. Why? Thirst can feel like hunger, especially for the elderly, who might not readily notice they are thirsty at all. Look for foods that are filled with water, such as watermelon, tomatoes, or cucumbers. Also drink a lot of water throughout the day – 64 ounces a day is recommended. That’s half a gallon of water each day[4].

·         Eat something every few hours. “Grazing” throughout the day might seem like a bad idea, but it’s actually a great way to keep your portion sizes under control. Eating the usual three meals a day, with several hours in between them, can lead to overeating because you’re getting too hungry by the time dinner rolls around. Just make sure your small snacks are healthy fruits and veggies that don’t bring too many calories but have a lot of flavor.

As you go through the changes that come along with a healthier diet, remember that your body takes some time to adjust. As your blood sugar levels fluctuate and your body learns to live with less sugar, you might sometimes feel faint or weak. That’s a good time to have a medical alert pendant worn around your neck, with the panic button in easy reach. If you begin to feel lightheaded, dizzy, or weak and think you might fall down, press the button right away to get the help you need. If you do suffer a fall, a medical alert system with fall detection can be your best friend – the device itself can detect the fall and make the call for help without you even having to press the button!

Are you ready to dive into some easy recipes that can kick up your weight-loss game? We’ve got you covered!

Roasted Salmon and Veggies

This recipe is delightfully easy to make and provides you with a wealth of omega-3s, B-vitamins, and healthy calories with no processed foods in sight. Keep in mind that these vegetables can be switched out for any others you might like, and the salmon can be replaced with tilapia or other fish.

·         1 zucchini, diced

·         1 sweet onion, cut into wedges

·         1 cup grape tomatoes

·         1 bell pepper, cut into slices

·         1 tsp. all-natural herbs of your choice (rosemary, thyme, etc)

·         2 salmon filets

·         1 lemon for juicing

·         3 tbsps. olive oil

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the veggies with 2 tbsps. olive oil and gradually add the seasoning, tossing well after each addition to make sure the seasoning is evenly distributed. Spread the veggies in a single layer on the baking sheet, then add the salmon. Brush the top of the fish with the last 1 tbsp. of olive oil. Juice the lemon over the salmon to your liking.

Roast the meal for 15 minutes in a 450-degree Fahrenheit oven. Test the fish for doneness by making sure it flakes with a fork; test the veggies for tenderness.

Healthy Tomato Flatbread Pizza

Though this isn’t really a pizza – it’s more like a tart – it can be cut into wedges for easy serving and looks delightful with so much color throughout. This one gives you a good amount of water from the tomatoes and plenty of vitamin C for better nutrition. As a side note, it’s always a good idea to grate your own cheese. Shredded cheese in a bag is convenient, but it has additives that keep the cheese bits from sticking together[5].

·         1 sheet of frozen puff pastry that has been thawed overnight in the fridge

·         1 onion, sliced into thin strips

·         3 large tomatoes of different colors (heirloom varieties work well), cut into slices

·         1 cup cheese of your choice, such as mozzarella or provolone, freshly grated

·         1 tbsp. fresh herbs of your choice, such as oregano or basil

·         2 tsps. olive oil

Roll the puff pastry out onto a baking sheet that has been prepared with parchment paper. Poke small holes in the bottom with a fork. Set this aside.

Sauté the onions in olive oil until they are soft. Sprinkle them over the pastry. Add the tomato slices so that they are touching but not overlapping. Top the tomatoes evenly with the cheese and the herbs.

Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes or until the crust is golden and crispy.

Roasted Root Vegetables

These veggies make an excellent substitute for starchy roasted potatoes. If you happen to have diabetes, they typically don’t make your blood sugar rise as much as white potatoes do, which is a nice win all around[6]. And the good amount of fiber can help keep you feeling full.

·         ½ red onion, diced into small pieces

·         1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced

·         2 large carrots, peeled and diced

·         1 large beet, scrubbed, trimmed, and diced

·         1 large zucchini, diced

·         3 tbsps. olive oil

·         4 tsps. your choice of herbs

Prepare a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss the veggies with the olive oil and herbs, then arrange in one layer on the baking sheet. Roast in the oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or so, until the vegetables are to your liking.

Special Chicken Salad

Unlike other chicken salads, this fresh take on the dish is loaded with berries. That sweet punch of flavor might keep you from reaching for dessert.

·         2 cups cooked chicken, shredded or chopped

·         1 cup strawberries or blueberries (or combination), cut into quarters

·         ½ cup fresh green peas

·         ¼ cup celery, chopped fine

·         1 tsp. honey

·         ¼ cup low-fat mayonnaise

·         ½ tsp. herbs of your choice, such as tarragon

Whisk the mayonnaise, honey, and herbs in a large bowl. Add the other ingredients and blend them well. You can serve this chicken salad over salad greens or as a sandwich in healthy pita bread.

Veggie Stir Fry

This classic dish is great to use up any extra vegetables or meat you might have in the fridge. It’s a healthy meal that includes no processed foods!

·         1 tbsp. olive oil

·         ½ pound of meat or tofu (chicken breast or steak, diced into small bits, are great for this)

·         2 cups mixed veggies of your choice (this might include zucchini, broccoli, peas, mushrooms, and more)

·         ¼ cup orange juice

·         ¼ cup water

·         1 tbsp. low-sodium soy sauce

·         1 tbsp. honey

·         1 tsp. fresh grated ginger

Heat the olive oil in a large wok or skillet. Once the olive oil is hot, add the meat or tofu. Give it a stir every now and then until it is browned and cooked through, which should take only about five minutes. Add the veggies and cook them until they are soft. Remove the meat and veggies from the pan.

Mix the orange juice, water, soy sauce, honey, and ginger in a small bowl. Add it to the pan and let it come to a simmer to thicken. This should take three or four minutes. Add the vegetables and meat back into the pan, toss to combine, and allow them to heat back up. This can be served over brown rice.

Infused Water

Staying hydrated is a key to weight loss, but drinking plain water can be tough for some. Make water more appealing by infusing it with different flavors. This recipe is a cooling blend of cucumber and mint, but anything would work here, including strawberries, oranges, lemons, or limes.

·         1 cup cucumber, cut into slices

·         1 cup watermelon, cut into small dice

·         1 bunch fresh mint

·         Cold water

In the bottom of a pitcher, mash the cucumbers, watermelon, and mint with a long-handled spoon or a muddler designed for that purpose. Pour in the cold water and stir to combine. Allow the water to infuse for at least a few hours before straining into a big glass.

Staying Safe While Dieting

Even healthy dieting can lead to some changes as your body adjusts to the new portions and ingredients. Expect to feel some cravings during those first few days or weeks as you change the relationship your body has with processed food and those high in sugar. There might be times when you feel a little weak and dizzy – this is actually a normal thing as your body changes. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy to deal with, and it could even be dangerous if you have diabetes or other conditions that could exacerbate the problem.

Keep yourself safe with a medical alert wireless system from Alert1. An emergency response solution can help ensure that you can reach out immediately if you feel the need to do so, and our compassionate professionals will be on the line with you in moments, ready to assist. Alert1 has your back as you go through your weight loss journey!