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Tuesday September 27, 2016

Savvy Living

Savvy Senior

Meal Service Delivery Options for People Who Don't Cook

What types of healthy meal delivery options can you recommend for individuals who don't cook and don't get out much? Since my mom passed away, my dad's diet is terrible and I worry about his health.

There are various healthy meal service delivery options available to people who don't cook and live at home. The options available will depend on location and budget. Here are several to consider.

Senior Meal Programs

For seniors, a good place to start is to determine if there's a senior home delivery meal program in his area. Meals on Wheels is the largest program that most people are familiar with, but many communities offer senior meal delivery programs sponsored by other organizations that go by different names.

To find services available in your dad's area, visit, which offers a comprehensive directory on their website or call the local area aging agency. Contact the Eldercare Locator at 800-677-1116 to get the number.

Most home delivered meal programs across the U.S. deliver hot meals daily or several times a week, usually around the lunch hour, to seniors over age 60 who have problems preparing meals for themselves, as well as those with disabilities. Weekend meals, usually frozen, may also be available, along with special diets (diabetic, low-sodium, kosher, etc.). Most of these programs typically charge a small fee (usually between $2 and $6) or request a donation, while some may be free to low-income seniors.

Online Meal Delivery

Another option, that's a bit more expensive, is to purchase meals online and have them delivered. There are a number of companies that offer this type of service like Magic Kitchen (, Home Bistro (, Personal Chef To Go (, Good Measure Meals ( and many others.

These companies offer a wide variety of tasty meal choices and will usually post the nutrition information for their meals on their websites. Most companies will also cater to a host of dietary and medical needs, such as low-sodium and low-carb meals, diabetic meals, gluten-free, dairy-free and vegetarian options.

Often the food arrives frozen, but a few companies ship food fresh. Prices generally start at around $10 to $13 per meal. Fortunately, many companies provide discounts or free shipping when you order meals in bulk.

Grocery Stores and Restaurants

Depending on where someone lives, a local grocery store or restaurant may be able to provide home delivered meals. Some grocery stores offer a selection of pre-cooked meals and foods, including roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, fresh soups and salads. Contact local grocery stores to inquire about this option. Or check with some local restaurants to see if they offer home delivery.

Personal Chefs

Another option for individuals with a bigger budget is to hire a personal chef from time to time. A personal chef can provide a comprehensive service that includes help planning meals, grocery shopping and food preparation for several weeks at a time. This will provide meals, which can be frozen and later thawed and eaten as needed. They can also prepare it in their own kitchen and deliver it. Chef's fees range between $200 and $300 plus groceries. To save money, consider sharing meals with another family member, a friend or a neighbor. To find a personal chef in your area, check the listings at the American Personal & Private Chef Association ( or the United States Personal Chef Association (

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living” book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization’s official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

Published September 23, 2016
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