Senior meal delivery services cater to the nutritional needs of people who are elderly and unable to take care of themselves independently. The main emphasis of most senior nutrition programs is on ensuring that elderly people get the nutrition they need to maintain a healthy life. Home delivered senior meal programs distribute food that is usually low in fat and sodium content, and have at least one-third the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of each essential nutrient.
Commercial and Non-Profit Programs
Some meal delivery services for seniors operate on a commercial, for-profit basis, while others operate on a non-profit basis. Many of the non-profit programs that offer meal delivery for seniors are organized and staffed entirely by volunteers. Often, the volunteers are seniors as well. Some of these programs are entirely free for qualified individuals, while other programs may charge nominal fees for food preparation and delivery.
Hot and Cold Meals
Typically, a senior meal program that operates on a non-profit basis serves up between three to four cold meals per week, and between three and four hot meals over the same period. Each meal typically consists of an entrée, bread, two vegetables, one fruit and a carton of milk. The food is usually prepared fresh and then blast chilled before being delivered. The meals can be heated up before consumption.
Some senior meal programs actually heat the food in the delivery truck before delivering it to the elderly. Cold meals usually have smaller potions and typically consist of a salad or cold-meat sandwich, low fat crackers or wheat thins, a serving of vegetables and a fruit. Most non-profit senior meal delivery programs deliver food once a day, typically during the morning hours. The food can be stored and consumed as needed.
Commercial Food Delivery Programs
A commercial senior food program offers considerably more options for seniors in terms of food and dietary choices. Most of the bigger companies that offer meal delivery for seniors have a wide selection of meal choices that customers can pick from. The dinners are usually sold in packs of six or seven, and can cost anywhere from $70 for seven meals to over $85 for the same number of meals.
Range of Dietary Choices
A typical meal consists of a meat or fish entrée, bread and two side dishes. Individuals are usually responsible for supplementing their meals with the requisite potions of vegetables and fruit. The food packs usually come with detailed nutritional information and instructions for microwave heating. Most of the reputable commercial senior meal programs place a heavy emphasis on potion control and nutritional guidelines and the meals are often prepared under the supervision of a trained nutritionist or dietician. Discounts are usually available for those who purchase multiple meal packs.
Good nutrition is essential at all ages. It becomes even more important as we become older and our bodies begin to slow down. A senior food program can go a long way in ensuring that the elderly get the nutrition they need in their senior years.