Eating healthy and keeping the right foods in our kitchens go hand-in-hand. But, aside from the usual obstacles to running errands — such as transportation concerns — our senior parents and other loved ones encounter other shopping obstacles.
It’s a good idea to look at the roadblocks that you senior may face and take a moment to help them with solutions. In addition to dietary restrictions, your senior may simply not feel up to an outing in cold weather or the trek through a huge suburban grocery store may be overwhelming.
Perhaps you can combine a shopping trip with a movie or dessert at a local bakery. Or, a visit to a specialty store may pique the interest of your senior. A dear family friend was raised in a huge Italian family, where home-style cooking was the central focus of many family events and milestone. Our friend enjoys the occasional trip to the old neighborhood where she visits a grocer who specializes in Italian-import foods. It’s a long way to go for that special olive oil, but the visit to the neighborhood and lively conversation with old friends feeds the soul!
Some suggestions for overcoming shopping obstacles include:
- Make a list – Sit down with your senior and make a list of what she wants to eat for the week. This pre-planning can cut down on the time and money spent at the store. And, talking about recipes, meal plans and grocery lists are great ways to engage your senior.
- Don’t shop hungry – Shoppers are always tempted to buy more they they’re hungry, so share a sandwich or healthy snack before hitting the aisles.
- Review store ads, clip coupons and organize them at home – You’ll save time, money and checkout stand hassles.
- Invite a friend – Have mom bring a friend along for the ride. The companionship makes the task more fun. And, sometimes the produce manager or butcher can re-package large portions into two smaller portions so that the two seniors can share.
- Sign up for a grocer’s bonus/discount card – Seniors can reap additional savings and take advantage of grocery store specials by signing up for special programs.
- Try store brands – The most costly brands are often placed at eye level. Store brands that may be cheaper may be lower or higher on the shelf.
- Think variety – It’s easy to get in a rut. Encourage dad to try new foods or ethnic alternatives.
- Shop the perimeter of the store – That’s where most of the fresh, healthier foods are located.
- Stock up on sale items – Choose only as much as your senior can consume within reason. Buy in bulk for quality and value, but serve healthy portions and be mindful of freshness.
- Use your food budget wisely – For the price of a large bag of chips and a box of cookies, you can buy a good supply of apples, bananas, carrots, potatoes, peppers and other healthy foods.
Also, many retailers highlight special events such as Senior Day. Take advantage of special promotions, food demonstrations and other activities that can help take the grind out of food shopping.
To obtain a copy of the Cooking Under Pressure handbook, please visit www.foodsforseniors.com. And, Houston grocery stores, such as Central Market, host cooking demonstrations and beverage tastings that make a shopping chore a pleasant outing.
If you have cooking tips, please share your kitchen secrets with our readers.