There IS such a thing as a free lunch

There IS such a thing as a free lunch!

You’ve probably heard it over and over: there’s no such thing as a free lunch. But for older adults, it just isn’t true. Congregate Meal Sites provide nutritious mid-day meals to older adults. There is usually no charge for the meals since they are paid for by the government, but you can make a contribution if you choose to. The sites also provide classes on healthy eating, which can help you choose better foods when you eat at home, too1.

A Good Square Meal

Meals are designed to provide the things that older adults need to stay healthy, like extra protein and calcium to keep bones and muscles strong2. Studies have shown that what you eat can even help prevent slips and falls3.

But wait, there’s more…

The sites often have other activities, such as crafts or bingo games. They are great places to socialize and meet new friends, or even learn a new hobby. If you need help with other services, there are people at the site who can help you get the information you need or get you in contact with other agencies.

How do you find a site?

Just call your local Senior Center  – meals may be served there, or they will be able to tell you where the site is. Or you can click on this link to look up a site near you, using your zip code.

Guest Blogger: Rebecca Tkachuk


1. Rosenbloom CA, Kicklighter RD, Patacca RD, Deshpande K. Nutrition education in six congregate meal sites improves participant’s nutrition knowledge. J Nutr Elder. 2004;23(3):73-83.

2. Campbell WW, Trappe TA, Wolfe RR, Evans WJ. The recommended dietary allowance for protein may not be adequate for older people to maintain skeletal muscle. J Gerontol A Biol Sci Med Sci. 2001 Jun;56(6):M373-80.

3.  Evans WJ. Protein nutrition, exercise and aging. J Am Coll Nutr. 2004 Dec;23(6 Suppl):601S-609S.


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