Build a Yummy, Balanced Meal from Our Independent Living Communities

Follow this simple process so your meals are always a hit!


As we welcome warmer weather and delicious fresh fruits and vegetables are in season, it’s a wonderful opportunity to start prioritizing a healthy diet! Among our various independent living retirement communities, our residents get to enjoy healthy meals around the clock, prepared with love by a professional chef, but we wanted to give you some pointers for building your own delectable dinners, too. If planning and cooking healthy meals for yourself feels overwhelming right now, we’re here to help– there are actually only three main parts of a balanced meal that we’d love to share with you!

Start With Protein

As you head to the kitchen to make some lunch, our first suggestion is to pick a protein source. Lean protein should be a priority for your meals because adequate intake strengthens your muscles, hair, and nails, and helps you maintain a healthy weight. Even more importantly, getting enough protein helps to supply your whole body with the nutrients you need to stay healthy, as well as aiding in digestion. Protein also speeds up recovery if you are injured and helps to curb your appetite so you stay full and energized! If you’re looking for some ideas for protein sources, here are some of our favorites:

  • Skinless chicken breast
  • Beans
  • Greek yogurt
  • Fish
  • Cottage cheese
  • Tofu
  • Lean ground beef or turkey
  • Eggs and egg whites

It’s not always easy to get a large amount of protein in every single meal, but making a conscious effort to include it when possible goes a long way to ensure you stay healthy and strong!

Add Colorful Fruits and Veggies

After you have your protein covered, the next healthy meal component that we suggest is adding a variety of fruit and vegetables to your plate. It’s no secret that fruit and vegetables provide our bodies tons of nutrients that they need to function properly, but a diet rich in these colorful foods can also reduce the risk of heart disease or stroke, lessen digestive problems, lower blood pressure, and even prevent some types of cancer. You don’t need to just stick to one vegetable or fruit per meal either– you can experiment to create a delicious medley! Here are some suggestions to get you started:

  • Apples and bell peppers
  • Peaches and cherry tomatoes
  • Bananas and carrots
  • Snap peas and cantaloupe
  • Oranges and cauliflower
  • Grapes and broccoli
  • Grapefruit and jicama
  • Celery and strawberries
  • Blueberries and cucumbers

Be willing to step outside your comfort zone to try some new or unfamiliar fruit and vegetables and see what you think. With the seemingly endless possibilities, we’re confident that you can land on several combinations that you love!

Choose Your Carb Source

Now that you’ve got your protein and fruits and vegetables, your meal is almost ready! The last component is a source of carbohydrates. The main purpose of carbs is to provide energy for the body so you can feel your best. Having enough healthy carbs in your diet can help you in other ways as well, including improved sleep, better focus, and increased attention to detail. If you’re feeling down, carbs can even put you in a great mood! While you may instantly think of doughnuts and cookies when you hear the word “carbs”, there are more nutrient-dense options to include in your regular meals, such as:

  • Oats
  • Potatoes
  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Quinoa

Simply choose a source of carbs that sounds delicious and add it to your plate to complete your balanced meal!

At our independent living retirement communities, we care about your health as much as you do, and we know it can be a little intimidating to get started making nutritious meals for yourself. Our residents are served amazing meals 24/7 with the highest quality ingredients. We hope that this 3-step process for building balanced meals gives you a great starting point!

For more information on any of our beautiful independent living retirement communities, or to schedule a tour with us, contact our team today!

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Sunshine Retirement Living retirement living and senior 50+ retirement communities with top assisted living and memory care facilities offering resort styled care facilities nationwide.