Many of us have experienced the time when our parents or grandparents were no longer able to safely prepare meals for themselves in the kitchen. If you live far away or are juggling many responsibilities, how can you help care for them? Sending prepared meals is an excellent way to make sure they have healthy food they can heat right up in the microwave. This article reviews the options you have available for you.
Benefits of meal delivery
Having meal delivery set up for an aging parent or relative means they have food and meals ready for them in their fridge and or freezer, they don’t have to cook they just need to heat up meals in the microwave, and you don’t have to worry about them not having food, not eating, or trying to cook and risking hurting themselves. They don’t have to travel because everything is delivered right to them. You’d be surprised that it’s more affordable than you think.
Senior-specific meal delivery
First, there are many senior-specific meal delivery companies. Local Meals on Wheels are a great example. Meals on Wheels operates country-wide through local organizations and offer nutrition, socialization, and safety checks. Mom’s Meals also delivered nationwide and serves people who are covered under Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid plans, Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) programs or the Older Americans Act, and by individuals or their caregivers who are looking for a self-pay program. Magic Kitchen is another website that offers senior-focused meals and has programs available for qualified Medicaid participants.
The primary downside of these programs is whether or not the senior will accept them. Often for their own pride, they don’t want a program catered specifically to seniors. If their pride and self-respect is an issue there are still plenty of other options!
Nationally shipped meal delivery
There are many companies that ship healthy and tasty prepared meals to anywhere in the US. Many of these work on a subscription basis and you can choose how many meals you want to arrive each week and you can choose to skip weeks when you want. Some of the options to think through are if you want meals to arrive fresh or frozen or a mix of both so there are always backup options in the freezer. You can choose what type of meals or what diet type you want there are comfort food options as well as vegetarian, or high protein options.
Some of the largest meal delivery companies with ready-to-eat (no cooking) options include Factor which offers single serving meals ready to heat in the microwave. Blue Apron, while it’s known for it’s full-cook meal kits you can choose the Fast and Easy option for ready to heat meals. We’re personally fans of Pete’s Real Food that has individual meal that can stay in the fridge or freezer and have healthy, delicious meal options. You can see a full list of companies that ship nationally on NoStove.
Health-focused meal delivery
There are a number of companies that cater specifically to health needs.
- Modify Health offers Low FODMAP and Mediterranean meals delivered to your door. Both meal plan options are gluten-free and offer the ability to customize based on allergies, low sodium and plant-based needs.
- Top Chef Meals offers a number of senior-friendly meal plan diets such as low sodium, diabetic, and renal. They also offer gluten free, keto paleo, low fat, low carb meal plans.
- Bistro MD is a doctor designed meal delivery program offering plans such as weight loss, gluten-free, keto, diabetic, heart healthy and signature. BistroMD diet plans make losing weight and eating healthy effortless.
- Betr Health focuses on gut health and food as medicine delivering healthy prepared meals.
- Diet To Go offers balanced, diabetes, keto, and vegetarian meal plans.
Locally prepared meal delivery
Local options are a great, healthy, fresh way to have meals sent to your loved one. You order on their website each week to select the meals you want from their menu which often rotates regularly. They generally cook their meals on specific days of the week in a shared commercial kitchen or in their cafe or restaurant if they have a storefront. Some companies cook one day a week, others cook daily. Once cooked, the meals are then refrigerated or frozen before delivery. The benefit of local companies is they deliver fresh food on local routes rather than national companies where you wait for your food to be shipped in 1-3 days in the mail from an industrial kitchen.
Finding these local companies is not easy! The best way is to search your city on NoStove to see who delivers to you!
Private chef is definitely the most expensive options, but has plenty of benefits. Private chefs cook in your home, so everything is personalized for you. An added benefit is your parent or loved one will have company while the chef is there cooking! There are typically two parts to the cost the cost of the time to cook and the cost of groceries. Both vary widely by local rates based on where you live and how much food you’re having prepared, but expect the base cost of time to be $200-400 dollars plus $100 in groceries. Keep in mind the chef will prepare multiple servings and meals, so the cost per meal could still be as low as ~$15 per meal.
There are so many cost-effective and easy options for making sure your parent or other aging loved on has the meals they need stocked in their fridge or freezer. If they’re far away or you don’t have the time to always be cooking for them, sign them up for a meal delivery program that fits their needs and the type of food they like!