10 Inexpensive Kitchen Gift Ideas for Seniors

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Many traditions revolve around food, especially during the holidays. This holiday season, if you are looking for easy, inexpensive gift ideas for seniors, gifts that promote better nutrition can be fun and affordable.

Consider pairing one of these useful kitchen items with one of the recipes found below, or pair with a favorite family recipe. Print out the recipe and tie it to the item along with a brightly colored bow to make a great stocking stuffer or gift!

10 Affordable Kitchen Gift Ideas

  1. Peeler: Peelers wear out over time, so having a good peeler is important for easily peeling fruits and vegetables.
  2. Rubber spatula: These are perfect for baking, mixing coleslaw, broccoli salad, or using in any other cold food recipe. Some are designed to be heat resistant and can be used on hot foods as well.
  3. Wooden spoon: Some prefer wooden spoons because they do not scratch nonstick pans, but they need to be replaced occasionally. Wooden spoons are also great for stirring whole grain pasta because they don’t transfer heat.
  4. Food thermometer: Using a food thermometer is important to check that meat is cooked properly before eating. While some food thermometers are more expensive, you can find them for under $20.
  5. Dish soap: Having well-washed dishes is important for kitchen safety.  Cleaning utensils and cutting boards is especially important to decrease cross contamination while preparing uncooked foods.
  6. Hand soap: You should always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds with warm, soapy water before, during, and after handling food.
  7. Tumbler: Tumblers are great to prevent spills while staying hydrated.
  8. Brightly colored cups with handles: Brightly colored cups with handles can be great for people with dementia or any senior experiencing vision problems or difficulty gripping regular cups.
  9. Potholders and oven mitts: Potholders and oven mitts are important to prevent burning oneself and, if they have holes or have become excessively worn in spots, should be replaced. Do not use dishtowels in place of oven mitts, as they can easily catch on fire.
  10. Spices: Spices are a great way to cook without salt. As a bonus, spices can also make food more appealing for seniors who may have lost their appetite. Paprika, red or black pepper, turmeric, garlic, oregano, and cinnamon are all great spices to add flavor.

Give the gift of good nutrition by including an easy recipe that focuses on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains to provide essential nutrients and fiber. These foods will enhance immune function and improve gut health!

Nutritious Recipes for Seniors

Here are some easy and nutritious recipes to include with the kitchen items:

Easy Chicken & Vegetable Soup

from the Marion County Public Health Department Nutrition Services

Serves 12 people. If you are only cooking for 1-2 people, you can freeze the extra for later use.
114 calories, 2 g fat, 15 g carbohydrates, 16 g protein, 460 mg sodium


  • 14 oz can cooked carrots
  • 14 oz can diced potatoes
  • 14 oz can corn kernels
  • 14 oz can green beans
  • 14 oz can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 16 oz cooked, diced chicken quarters
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Combine all ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 30 minutes.  This recipe calls for canned carrots and potatoes. Another option is to use 3 ½ cups diced fresh carrots and potatoes cut in quarter-inch to half-inch size pieces.

Peanut Butter Oatmeal No Bake Cookies

from the Marion County Public Health Department Nutrition Services

These types of recipes are also called protein balls. They are great for a quick boost of energy, especially if you are busy wrapping gifts and don’t have time for a meal. This recipe pairs well with the rubber spatula or wooden spoon.

100 calories, 3 g protein, 11 g carbohydrates, 32 mg sodium, 5 g fat per cookie. Makes 24 cookies.

  • 1 1/3 cup 1-minute oats, dry
  • 3/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup chopped peanuts or almonds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup crushed pretzels (optional)
  • 1/3 cup chocolate or caramel chips (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons cocoa powder (optional)

In a medium bowl, stir together all the ingredients. Refrigerate for 2-3 hours or pop in the freezer for 30 minutes to slightly firm up. Form the dough into about 24 tablespoon-sized balls and refrigerate for about an hour before enjoying. To store, place in a plastic bag or storage container. Refrigerate for up to 3 weeks or freeze for up to 6 months.

Vegan Blueberry Smoothie

193 calories, 15 mg sodium, 49 g carbohydrates, 7 g fiber, 29 g sugar, 620 mg potassium

  • 1 cup water                                                                              
  • ½ cup spinach
  • 1 banana
  • 1 cup frozen blueberries

Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Smoothies are great for anyone who needs thickened liquids or has troubling using utensils. When using smoothies as meal replacements, use milk or yogurt in place of the water to increase calories, protein, vitamins and minerals.

CICOA is the largest senior meal provider in Indiana. If you know a senior who needs help getting nutritious meals, contact CICOA’s Meals & More program.

Katherine Starr
Katherine Starr

Katherine Starr, an AmeriCorps VISTA at CICOA, brings her passion and skill to the Meals & More Nutrition and Wellness project this year. Throughout college, Katherine volunteered 60 hours a semester at a dementia care facility, and she is now excited to help people with dementia and their caregivers live well within their own communities. Katherine received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Washington & Jefferson College in Pennsylvania and completed a dementia care certification through Presbyterian Senior Care Network and California University of Pennsylvania.

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