As we age, preparing a home-cooked meal can slowly turn into quite the obstacle. Limited mobility and health concerns can get in the way of a lot of things, and even the most independent seniors can grow tired of taxing trips to the grocery store.
Meal kit delivery services can really make a difference for seniors who just want the occasional break from soup-to-nuts menu creation. Senior-friendly meal kits, specifically, cater to some of those needs and that come with older age. They're great for providing low-sodium, nutrient-rich dishes that can help with everything from to simply making dinnertime a less stressful experience. And all that can lead up to better health.
Jennifer May, principle nutritionist and director of Sydney City Nutritionist and Food Intolerance Australia, details some things older adults should keep in mind before deciding on a meal lit delivery service.
"Many meal kits come with nutrient-rich meals such as lean proteins, fresh vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats... make sure to check the nutrition information [of each meal]," May says.
May goes on to recommend that seniors aim for 20 grams of protein, 8 to 10 grams of fiber, and no more than 200 milligrams of sodium for a well-balanced meal. We looked at the nutrition facts for each meal service listed below to make sure seniors would have an easy time picking healthy meals with every delivery.
Top five senior-friendly meal kits for easy dinners
The best meal kits for seniors will offer up simpler ways to stay healthy with nutritious meals. It's all about simplicity and nutrition, and every senior-friendly meal kit on this list checks both boxes. Here's a closer look at the best meal kits for older adults looking for easy, healthy dinner options.
- Best meal kits for organic ingredients: SunBasket
- Best meal kits for hassle-free prep work: Home Chef
- Best heat-and-eat frozen meals: Magic Kitchen
- Best single-serve meal kits for seniors who live alone: Snap Kitchen
- Best meal delivery service for sticking to a diet: Factor
For older adults, convenience can become a crucial part of life – one that keeps things from getting too strenuous or overwhelming. These meal kits all have senior-friendly options that can take much of the effort out of cooking a fresh dinner.
Best meal kits for organic ingredients: SunBasket
SunBasket is a top-notch meal kit company that offers health-conscious dinner options. Its weekly menu is perfect for seniors looking for organic ingredients. It's nothing but farm-fresh ingredients in every meal, so older adults can enjoy a wide selection of meal options each week.
This meal delivery service is dedicated to serving USDA-certified organic ingredients with every meal. Additionally, its recipes contain meat and poultry that was sustainably sourced from local farmers who work directly with SunBasket.
You can find a variety of meals to match different dietary needs on SunBasket's weekly menu. Labels clearly indicate low-carb options and meals that are keto-friendly, among others.
For quick and easy dinners that are as healthy as they are tasty, look no further than SunBasket.
Best meal kits for hassle-free prep work: Home Chef
Home Chef is an ideal meal kit option for quick and easy cooking. It has recipes that are ready in as little as 15 minutes, which can be perfect for older adults who love to cook but don't relish the thought of spending forever in the kitchen.
Seniors can enjoy an easy, breezy cooking experience with Home Chef's express meals. These come pre-portioned and with recipes that can be whipped up in a matter of minutes.
For something even easier, there are Home Chef's Fast and Fresh meals: These premade meals can be prepared in the microwave or oven, resulting in a finished meal that takes mere minutes to prepare.
Home Chef also caters to certain dietary restrictions. For seniors who want to avoid meals with certain ingredients such as pork, shellfish, or peanuts, it's super easy to build a meal plan that excludes these options.
Home Chef has weekly meal plans for up to six people and offers anywhere from two to six recipes every week. So whether you're cooking for one or taking care of several people come dinnertime, Home Chef has something for you.
Best heat-and-eat frozen meals: Magic Kitchen
Magic Kitchen is a meal kit delivery service that specializes in quick and easy meals for seniors. Unlike some companies on this list that have a number of senior-friendly options mixed in with their weekly offerings, Magic Kitchen puts older adults first, with homestyle frozen meals that are ready within minutes.
Available nationwide to US-based customers, Magic Kitchen meals consist of a main course paired with one or two sides. You can mix and match main dishes, soups, sides, and even desserts when putting together your meal plan.
Unlike other subscription models, Magic Kitchen offers what it calls Flex Subscriptions. This senior-friendly design makes it easy for older adults to navigate meal kit options and make selections, because customers actually call in to set up a three or six-month plan with a representative directly.
You can discuss dietary preferences and place orders with ease right over the phone. As an added perk, Magic Kitchen offers free shipping and other discounts off your order when you order with a Flex Subscription.
Best meal kits for seniors who live alone: Snap Kitchen
Based out of Texas, Snap Kitchen is a meal kit delivery service that focuses on quality with organic and sustainably sourced ingredients. Frozen meals are delivered to your door and can be ready in no time at all – no time-consuming prep work required.
Snap Kitchen is a great choice for seniors looking for consistently healthy meals to get them through the week. In addition to nutrient-packed dinner options, you can also find a variety of breakfast and lunch recipes to try out. Meals are customizable, with the option to add extras like sides, snacks, or other sources of protein to really round out your daily health goals.
If you live alone, you're probably familiar with the problem of unused leftovers. Most meal kit deliver services ship out recipes for two with their deliveries, which can be a lot to keep up with if you're cooking solo each night.
With Snap Kitchen's single-serve meals, not only do you get exactly what you need for those solo meals – you can also easily store extra meals in the freezer to last you throughout the week.
Best meal delivery service for sticking to a diet: Factor
If you want fresh, ready-made meals that take little to no prep time, then Factor has the nutritious and satisfying meals for you. Its gourmet chefs put together fresh and never-frozen dinners that support healthy eating. Anyone sticking to a lean diet will find plenty of options to choose from here with over 30 dietitian-approved meals to choose from each week.
Factor challenges the stigma that a lean diet means avoiding gourmet-level recipes in favor of nutritious, yet plain, combinations (there's only so many ways to prepare grilled chicken and white rice, after all).
Meals like Factor's Creamy Parmesan Chicken, Ground Pork and Cheddar Chili Mac, and Garlic-Mushroom Chicken Thighs look almost out of place with a meal delivery service centered around low-carb, health-conscious recipes.
Instead of a subscription model, Factor lets you pick your own items when setting up your weekly deliveries. You can find those and more while you put together a delivery plan that lets you select up to 18 meals to be delivered each week.
How to choose the best senior-friendly meal delivery kit
There are a number of factors to consider when picking the right meal kit for a well-balanced, senior-friendly diet.
First off: Protein, says Reda Elmardi, a registered dietitian. Maybe think tofu or legumes, plus vegetables for important vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; fruit as a source of extra vitamin C; and whole grains.
"Whole grain pasta, bread, cereal bars, etc., are great sources of complex carbohydrates that will help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day," Elmardi says. (Elmardi offers more insights on fitness and nutrition on his website, activbuilt.com.)
Aside from finding meals that contribute to a well-balanced diet, here are a few other points of reference to keep in mind:
- Prep times: Getting around may be difficult for some seniors, so meals that are super easy to make are a must.
- Customizability: Don't ignore personal taste – accommodate personal preferences by looking over a meal kit delivery service's menus and recipes to make sure there's room for customized orders.
- Nutrition facts: In order to meet your daily and weekly goals (and avoid meals that are high in calories or sodium), look for meal kit services that list all relevant details on their recipes.
- Portion size: Most meal kits lay out the portion size for each meal on its recipe page. Elmardi suggests keeping portion sizes small: "A suggested serving size for most meals is a one-quarter cup, or 125 grams, instead of the full cup that many meals typically contain."
Why these meal kits are perfect for easy, healthy dinners
The right meal kit can greatly benefit seniors by providing satisfying and nutritious meals that require little to no prep work. Older adults with mobility issues can skip those tiring grocery store trips and opt for premade or frozen meals instead.
The range of diet-friendly meals offered by the above companies can make it much easier to stick to a healthy routine when it comes to nightly dinners. Senior-friendly meal kit services like Magic Kitchen go a step further with prompt customer service and flexible meal plans that make it easy for seniors to place their own orders.
Lastly, meal kits can bring a bit of joy to the process of cooking. Seniors can enjoy all sorts of new and interesting dishes, often with easy-to-follow instructions that take a fraction of the time a traditional home-cooked meal would require.
How we compared different senior-friendly meal kits
When comparing meal kits for older adults, we made sure to prioritize nutrition, ease of preparation, and overall costs. We also kept an eye out for companies with good customer service. That way, we know any questions or concerns about a meal delivery service will be answered promptly and politely.
Some other considerations included:
- Health factor: Seniors deserve plenty of whole fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grain recipes to maintain a healthy diet.
- Organic and nutritious ingredients: We paid special attention to certified organic meal options when curating this list in order to highlight good quality ingredients.
- Variety: A meal kit with very few options each week will quickly lose its appeal. We looked for meal kit delivery services that kept it fresh each week with multiple recipes and a la carte items.
- Quick and easy cook times: Some able-bodied seniors and older adults who live happily on their own can benefit from easily prepared meal kits, as opposed to frozen dishes that may seem unappealing.
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