When I was a community advocate in a rural town of 800 people, we noted that many elderly were buying frozen prepared meals as a staple. Mainly to avoid cooking for one. Back then it was the frozen TV dinner style and very limited brands - and ingredients. Most were high in salt, a little meat, two mushy veg & gravy. There were concerns about adequate nutrition. Meals-on-Wheels (twice weekly cooked at the local hospital) was similar but fresh and providing a piece of fruit.
Today, being so far from a major centre, there are questions about the “freshness” of food kits, and no ready prepared meals (think Ubereats) delivers there. You can now get “fresh” meals from the shop refrigerator, but these are limited as they have a short shelf life and variety is lacking (they stock only quick sellers), and expensive. Frozen meals for one are still the staple.
My mother, in her late 80’s, has been living on Lite’n Easy for at least a couple of years. She is living in a capital city with reliable delivery. She looks to be in good health. I only spent 2 days (visiting) on L’nE mainly cleaning up the dishes she does not like. I found the frozen prepared meals a bit uninspiring (probably why they lived in the bottom of the freezer), but was impressed with the variety & look of the salad & breakfast type meals. We both commented on the excessive packaging - single items in plastic, eg a few carrot slices or nuts in a bag, meaning you may open 7 bags to plate up. They provide fresh fruit & juice which she could buy for herself. She said, while the menu is flexible, it isn’t flexible enough to eliminate the dishes she does not want (hence the pile in the freezer). She finds it is too much for her and may eat one dish over two sittings. Her L’nE delivery does not look like what I see on the adverts; where they open the fridge and plastic bags are marked “Day 1 Lunch”, hers comes as individual packets to make up a meal.
I remember reading about the TV Dinner (20+yrs ago), that research showed the customer was most likely a smoker so they added more salt to compensate.
Wondering if these are nutritionally adequate for the elderly as a sole source of food, and how closely they align with Australian Dietary Guidelines.