Cooking for someone in your care can be a bit tricky. Even when you have planned the meal and the senior is looking forward to the meals, cooking can be a chore. Here are some tips on making meal preparations easier and quicker for caregivers:
Cook One — Freeze Three: If you are going to cook you might as well stretch it as far as you can. Cook enough for two to four meals at a time. Freeze them and the senior in your care has delicious meals whenever they want them. Chicken soup is a good example. In order to make chicken soup you either have to purchase a cooked chicken or cook it yourself. Use one third of the chicken to make the soup. Use one third of the chicken to make a chicken and rice stew. Use the last third to freeze boneless chicken meat that can be used for a sandwich. One cooking session- three meals.
The Blender is Your Friend: Plan ahead for smoothies. Throw bananas and baggies of strawberries and melon balls in the freezer. If you are in charge of breakfast, snacks or light meals for a senior, a smoothie made with frozen fruit, milk, low-fat yogurt and even a bit of peanut butter is a nutrition powerhouse. There can be as many as 4 to 5 servings of fruit in one 8-ounce smoothie.
High Nutrition Shortcuts: Think powerful nutrition in small packages. Seniors may not want to eat big meals. Small meals and snacks throughout the day can be just as nutritious. You can make quick breads that are full of high-nutrition ingredients — like banana, pumpkin, lemon breads. Use three ripe, very well-mashed bananas, instead of 1/2 cup butter, lard, shortening or oil or substitute one cup of applesauce per one cup of these fats. Add wheat germ, dry milk, or protein powder to ramp up the nutritional value. Quick bread can quickly become full of protein and fruits.
Slow Cooking Quick Meals: Slow cookers are wonderful inventions. You can cook a large quantity of food and then freeze it in individual portions. The slow cooker brings out the natural juices and flavors of the food so reducing fat and salt becomes extremely easy. And, the house is filled with appetizing smells. You can find many slow cooker recipes online.
Rely on Experts: If the senior in your care has a specific diagnosis or chronic disease, chances are there is an association and a website dedicated to it. For example, the American Heart Association, the American Diabetes Association and others are very good at providing meal plans and recipes that are delicious, nutritious, and address the dietary restrictions of the disease. Health centers and large hospitals also often post meal plans with full recipes.
LivHOME provides skilled caregivers that can assist you with meal planning and preparation. Busy caregivers are not alone when LivHOME skilled professionals are available for support and help.