The health benefits of a diet rich in vegetables are numerous.
Many senior citizens don’t eat enough vegetables. One way to change that is by swapping out traditional meat-laden meals for vegetarian ones. It’s easy to do and provides a lot of variety into the entrees, sides, and salads your parents have every day. Here are tips for getting your parents to add some vegetarian meals to their weekly menu.
Swap Out Favorite Meats for Plant-Based Proteins
Your parents may not like the idea of relying solely on vegetables. They may like the taste and mouthfeel of meats like chicken, beef, and turkey. There are plant-based substitutes that mimic meat without containing any meat.
As an example, say your dad’s favorite meal are beef burritos. You can make a meat substitute by grating a pound of mushrooms and a large onion. Toss them with olive oil, soy sauce, black pepper, and garlic powder. Spread that mixture on a baking sheet and bake at 350 for 45 minutes. Stir the mixture occasionally.
The resulting crumble looks and has the texture of ground beef, but it’s entirely vegetarian. You can use it in pasta sauces, casseroles, and tacos. The mixture also freezes well, so you can make big batches and freeze them for later use.
Try other plant-based proteins like tofu, seitan, and tempeh. Tofu can be very tasty, but it needs to be marinated first. Swap out beef and pork for seitan and tempeh. The dishes may not taste the same, but the texture is appealing.
Rely on Beans for Protein
Dried beans are a great source of protein. They’ll also fill your parents up. Instead of a meat chili, make a vegetarian chili with loads of different dried beans. Add dried beans to soups and stews. You can also cook up dried beans and use them in salads.
Your mom loves split pea soup, but she thinks the vegetarian versions miss the smokiness of the ham hock she always used. Instead of adding meat, use some liquid smoke to get that smokiness without adding meat.
Enlist the Help of Caregivers
If your parents struggle with meal preparation and grocery shopping, help them out. You don’t have to take time doing it for them. Save your hours spent providing senior care for things you prefer doing.
Caregivers can help your parents plan weekly menus, research appealing vegetarian meals, shop for ingredients, and prepare meals. Call a senior care agency to talk about these and other benefits of hiring caregivers.