I am looking for a cost effective weekly menu for elderly people.
i used to cook for a nursing home and had a lot of request that i couldn't fill due to regulations on how our menus were to be used.
most older folks grew up on cornbread and beans and loved it.if you soak the beans overnight and change the water a couple of times they are easier to digest. if you have a bit of ham or beef to add to the beans they are in heaven.
older folks also grew up eating oatmeal...probably a lot of oatmeal! they also ate stewed fruits and prunes and raisins.
they frequently had "breakfast" for supper. like eggs and biscuits and gravy. or pancakes. grits or hominy was a nice addition with sausage or bacon.
they were used to eating what was in season as it either came out of their garden or was cheaper to purchase.
these are not expensive foods and they are healthier that pre-made foods or mixes. give them 3 or 4 choices of veggies and fruits and a protein. homemade bread is cheap and easy enough. biscuits are a hit with honey and butter or molasses. cornbread is a hit too but if these are very senior folks watch for choking. a lot of them like their cornbread in their milk (yuck! i don't "do" soggy) dumplings and noodles are a favorite too. homemade egg noodles with stewed chicken stretches the meat and makes a tasty dish. good luck.
I would think many would like casseroles like tuna noodle casserole or tater tot casserole. Jello is cheap--my dear grandma used to always serve jello with fruit in it. Seniors do like dessert. Pudding is cheap, too.
Being a social worker, I cannot resist! suggesting that you should ask the elderly what they would like!
Keep it simple, and nutritious, lots of calcium whenever possible. Add milk powder to things like soups and casseroles to boost nutrition. Homemade soups with lots of vegies, some chicken and a starch like rice, noodles, pasta or barley, or beans are nutritious, low in fat if you skim off excess fat, and easy to make.
I might suggest that the food be easy to chew - also, most importantly, serve small portions. If the person is hungry for more, you can always serve them more. I also agree that puddings, yogurt, jello, are favorites!
It depends on the person or people what they like, can and cannot eat. Most elderly people like good tasting food that is nutritious. Some people have esophogus issues and spicy foods don't do well with their digestive tracts.
Don't forget to look for 'old time' recipes that they used to fix. The simplest recipes please them the most...bread pudding, roasted meats, boiled potatoes with gravy, plain cake with white frosting or sugar cookies. I would cut down on the salt tho. Do a search on the internet for old time recipes and see what comes up. It should be fun. If all else fails, ask them what they want!