Take out meals are becoming your parents’ normal routine. They have pizza one night and Chinese the next. Their doctors say it needs to stop. The high-sodium, high-sugar, high-fat meals are impacting their health.

You want to help them improve their diet, but it’s hard to come up with healthier meals that they can cook. They don’t like some of the meals you suggest. They’re worried about the added cost of healthier foods. How do you get them to stick to a healthy diet?

Plan Weekly Menus

Come up with weekly menus that match your parents’ dietary needs. Make sure each meal contains more vegetables and fruit than meats or starches. Keep side dishes to whole grains for the fiber. Beans are another good source of fiber. Round it out with a lean protein. Fish is ideal.

You can print free menu planners online that have the weekly menu on one side and a grocery list on the other. As you come up with meals they are interested in eating, jot down the ingredients they don’t have on hand. This way, you don’t forget anything when you do go shopping.

There are apps and online programs that help you with meal planning. Use them to find intriguing recipes, create shopping lists, and print out a menu plan.

Plan in Advance

Save time by prepping some items when you return with groceries. If you know three of the recipes for the week require diced onions, dice the onions in advance. When you go to cook the recipe, you can pull out a storage container with the onions and take as much as you need.

If you’re doing grilled chicken kebabs one night, you could freeze chicken cubes in their marinade. The chicken breast has time to soak up the marinade, which tastes better. Make enough for multiple recipes by purchasing the chicken breasts in bulk and packaging it separately.

Shop With Rewards and Coupons

Many grocery stores have rewards programs that offer discounts throughout the month. If your parents are worried about signing up and sharing their email, set up a spam email account. It’s an email they’ll have that they only use to sign up for free rewards programs.

As the store gets used to their frequent purchases, targeted savings start pouring in. They may find themselves getting $10 discounts on weekly grocery purchases or $5 off a $20 purchase from the produce department. Some stores even offer monthly freebies like a free package of oatmeal or a free yogurt.

Hire senior care services and help your parents with grocery shopping and meal preparation. Your mom and dad can have caregivers to assist them with menu planning, grocery lists, and shopping trips. Make arrangements by calling a senior care agency.

If you or an aging loved one is considering senior care in Pleasant Hill, CA, please contact the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Walnut Creek. (925) 203-3039.