You’ve heard the saying “you are what you eat,” and research has proved that it is true. Your food greatly contributes to your physical wellness, and choosing good foods can make your body healthier. The right menu every day can decrease your chances of obesity, heart disease, and high blood pressure. Furthermore, the right foods can strengthen your body’s defenses against invading germs and viruses.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, it can feel like many things are out of your control. However, choosing healthy foods can give you a sense of control as well as boost your immune system. Here are just a few nutritious meals you can make while you are staying home and staying safe.

Vitamin C

Forever associated with a healthy immune system, vitamin C should be a staple in your daily diet. It’s easy to experiment with recipes that contain vitamin C because you can find it in many delicious fruits and vegetables. Citrus fruits are typically high in vitamin C, as are bell peppers and broccoli.

We love this Asian-inspired recipe, and it’s quite easy to make as a main dish or supporting side. Add grilled chicken and skip the takeout menu. This quick fruit salad is also nutritious and refreshing. Make a batch and eat it for breakfast on top of yogurt, for lunch with cottage cheese, or as a snack anytime.

Your journey to senior living starts here, with this step-by-step guide that  covers everything you need to know to get started.

Beta Carotene

Foods that are bright orange, like sweet potatoes and carrots, signal that they are rich in beta carotene. Your body will convert beta carotene into vitamin A to reduce inflammation and increase your immune system response.

Try roasting sweet potatoes for an easy side dish or snack. They are even better as leftovers, with an over-easy egg on top. For a cozy comfort food packed with immunity-boosting beta carotene, try this carrot soup. Or, try packing a few Mason jars full for your neighbors.


Stock your pantry for seeds and nuts packed with zinc, a mineral that boosts white blood cells. When you feel hungry during the day, reach for a handful of almonds or pumpkin seeds instead of a bag of chips.

Roasting pumpkin seeds (or any squash seed) isn’t just for the autumn season. Anytime you prepare a squash, save the seeds to roast for your snack stash. Get creative and add garlic and paprika, or sweeten them up with a bit of cinnamon and sugar. Lentils are packed with zinc too, and we love this fresh take on a more traditional lentil soup; the lemon adds a brightness that makes this dish perfect for spring.


Hydration is especially important for seniors, who are more likely to suffer the more severe consequences of urinary tract infections. Keep infections at bay and boost your body’s natural defense system by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. In addition, snack on foods that have high water content, such as grapes, watermelon, and cucumber.

It’s common to have trouble drinking only water throughout the day. Try spicing up your water by adding natural flavors like your favorite herbs, fruits, or vegetables. Experiment with your recipe and develop your perfect house blend to have on hand in your fridge as a special treat. For a dessert that is refreshing and hydrating, whip up this easy watermelon sorbet in your food processor. 

Boosting your body’s natural immune system can be a delicious task. Spend time perfecting some of these recipes to enjoy now and to share with others later. If standing in front of your stove or oven sounds overwhelming, perhaps it is time to consider the serious dietary benefits that come from living in a senior living community. 

Seniors who have chosen to retire in senior living communities enjoy chef-prepared meals with their friends daily. At Arbor Company communities across the country, our chefs delight in getting to know the preferences of each resident. Then, they use that information to develop menus for meals and social events.

Curious about what other benefits come with retiring in senior living communities? Download our free guide, “The Journey to Senior Living” to learn more.

Start your journey to senior living today with this step-by-step guide

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Begin Your Senior Living Journey with Arbor

Find a Community