Eating healthy, nutritious food on a budget might seem a daunting task.
But for seniors, especially those who live alone or only with a spouse, it can be quite easy to eat healthily on a limited income, according to Trina Selgensen, who is a care professional with Home Instead.
She works with seniors in White Rock and South Surrey, helping them with whatever tasks they might need done, as well often, preparing them healthy meals to eat.
Many seniors really enjoy a sandwich for lunch, she noted, and a healthy sandwich doesn’t cost a lot to make.
Pair it with some fresh fruit and vegetables, and they’ll eat it and enjoy it, she said.
“A lot of the seniors I work with are from the Depression era, or near that age, so they know how to spend their money wisely on good food,” Selgensen said.
“They always have vegetables or fruit.”
She noted that there are several farm markets and produce/vegetable markets on the Semiahmoo Peninsula.
“A market is a lot more reasonable that grocery store. In the White Rock-South Surrey area, there’s quite a few markets that are easily accessible, with fresher fruit that last longer. Chan’s is fabulous and their prices are amazing.”
She also finds purchasing cold cuts from a grocery store’s deli section – fresh-cut meat as opposed to packaged meat – is more reasonable, and the fresh-cut options also don’t have as many additives, she said.
One can of tuna or a couple of eggs can turn into egg salad or tuna salad, good for 2-3 sandwiches and not-too-expensive options, said Selgensen.
She noticed one client, who loves sandwiches for lunch, was just eating a cold cut sandwich with cheese and nothing else on it.
“I would bring her lettuce or cucumber… I introduced her to egg salad sandwiches. She was like, ‘I haven’t had those in so long!’ and she loved them!” she said.
“Working with them, you find out what they like and what they don’t like, and you try different things – I think they get into the habit of purchasing the same thing all the time because it’s easy – so sometimes, it’s re-introducing things that are not hard to make and not expensive.”
Another thing Selgensen has noticed with her clients: they eat better and they eat more when they have company.
“I have a client, and when I first started with her, I’d make her lunch and then I’d do other things for her, either vacuum or do her laundry, but she’d not want to eat… she’d nibble but then say she was full,” she said.
The client asked Selgensen to join her a few times, so she did.
“I brought my lunch and she ate the whole entire lunch. I find if you sit down and interact with seniors, they just seem like they want the companion and the company,” Selgensen said.
“So families coming together – anybody coming together to share a meal with them makes them so much more comfortable and they have a tendency to eat more.”