Eating yourself warm this winter

After a very mild start, winter is finally making itself felt in the UK, as temperatures plummet and snow falls. Winter can be especially difficult for elderly people, as they are vulnerable to illnesses such as colds, flu, chest infections, and even heart attacks and stroke, as the cold increases blood pressure. So eating well becomes even more important.

Obviously, it’s very important to make sure your older parents or relatives are keeping their homes warm at this time. The ideal temperature for living rooms in winter should be 21C and 18C for bedrooms., but another important aspect of keeping warm and staying well during winter is to keep eating well and at least one meal a day in winter should be a hot one. It is important, therefore, to make sure that older people have regular hot meals and drinks throughout the day in cold weather.

Keeping cupboards, fridge and freezer well stocked

During the winter, it’s a good idea to make sure that kitchen cupboards are well stocked with a good range of basic foodstuffs, so that even if your elderly relatives can’t get out to their local shop due to bad weather, they will have something to fall back on.

Larder essentials

  • cartons of long-life milk
  • long-life fruit juice
  • tinned soups
  • tinned vegetables (eg. tomatoes, beans)
  • tinned fruit
  • tinned fish( tuna/salmon)
  • pasta
  • rice
  • noodles
  • porridge and other breakfast cereals
  • dried fruit
  • nuts
  • olive oil
  • vacuum-packed part-baked bread rolls
  • crackers
  • honey
  • jam
  • peanut butter
  • oil
  • vinegar
  • stock cubes
  • Bovril
  • sugar
  • salt
  • flour

Fridge essentials

  • milk
  • cheese
  • eggs
  • vegetables
  • sauces.

Freezer essentials

  • frozen vegetables
  • frozen fish & chicken pieces
  • frozen mince
  • frozen bread (sliced, rolls, muffins, crumpets etc)
  • a few ready meals
  • homemade stews and casseroles
  • soups

Organise grocery deliveries

If mobility is an issue – especially in colder weather – then you could help your older parents by shopping for them or by organising online grocery shopping with a major supermarket chain. If your older relative doesn’t want to spend that much on groceries, try Milk and More, who do not have a minimum order threshold.

Neighbours might also be very happy to help out during colder weather – getting daily supplies, such as milk, bread and fresh fruit and vegetables

Cook extra and share

There’s nothing so good as homemade food, so when you are preparing meals for your immediate family, why not cook up a bigger batch, so you can deliver portions to your elderly relatives? Try not to visit empty handed!

Dishes which can also be frozen for a later day are also useful , such as bolognaise sauce, soups, hearty casseroles and stews and even cakes and desserts.

Encourage your older parent to cook more

In the Life section of the myageingparent website, we have a selection of delicious recipes to try, including lamb shanks with leeks, salmon in a blanket and chocolate & cherry cake with hot chocolate sauce…

Cook and eat together

Sharing the experience of cooking and eating together will not only help your older relatives to eat well,  but will also help to boost their mood if they haven’t been able to get out of the house much in colder weather. Elderly people love to spend time with their family and cooking favourite recipes with grandchildren could be a fun activity for all.

Do you have a favourite winter warmer recipe? We’d love to hear from you. Why not share your recipes with us on our Facebook page?

More helpful articles on eating well:

Eating well for ageing

Dietician’s recommendations for elderly nutrition

Optimum foods for elderly

Top superfoods for older people

Meals for one – top tips to entice your older parent to cook





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