- Written by Cynthia Rothschild, Nutritionist
- Published: 01 December 2014
Buying gifts for seniors can be a challenge. By the time you reach a certain age you don’t need any more “stuff” in your life. There are also many seniors who live alone and who may not have the strength to do much in the way of food preparation. Food can be the perfect gift for a senior citizen.
Before you make or buy food for an individual, consider their situation. Is this someone who has difficulty chewing? Nuts would not be a good choice. Is the person still able to do some degree of cooking? Does he or she have any food allergies? Are they underweight or overweight? Are they adventurous eaters who might try something new? Do they have a good-sized freezer where they can keep frozen soup containers?
Here are some suggestions for senior gifts:
To keep the sodium content low, use low-sodium broth, or better yet, make your own. Up the protein and nutrient content by including beans or meat in the soup and a variety of vegetables. If your friend is underweight, consider a cream soup to increase the calorie content.
These are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Include a few different kinds such as Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, or Sunflower Butter.
Nuts and Seeds
Include a variety of unsalted nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin and sunflower seeds.
Whole Grain Crackers
Choose whole grain, low-sodium crackers such as Ak Mak, Kavli, or Ry-Vita (available in most grocery stores), or try specialty crackers, like Kashi or Mary’s Gone Crackers.
Choose fruit that will keep for a while, like oranges or apples, and advise your friend to keep the fruit in the refrigerator.
This a great gift because it will keep for a long time and there are so many choices: pineapple, apples, bananas, mangoes, peaches, papayas, and the list goes on.
Homemade Dried Soup Mix
If your friend is able to do some light cooking, these mixes are a good choice. There are many online sites where you can get recipes. You layer ingredients such as dry split peas, lentils, macaroni, dried minced onions, beef bouillon granules, and herbs in a mason jar. You tie a ribbon around the jar with the recipe attached. The recipe may call for some additional ingredients such as diced tomatoes, etc.
You could also make a donation to a local nonprofit organization involved with food and nutrition. Some suggestions include Franklin County Home Care Corporation’s Meals on Wheels Program, Franklin County Community Meals Program, or The Food Bank of Western Massachusetts.