Chapter 2: Meals and feeding
I learned that the simpler, the better – for both of us. My husband started to want blander food, and I needed quick and easy. It was all good.
Preparing food is probably something that you will do often. While you may be an excellent cook who loves trying fancy new dishes, when you are giving care to someone who is ill, this may no longer be possible. Time-saving, simple meals may become a priority.
Meal preparation is more complex and time-consuming than we often think. It includes the following:
Meal planning including appropriate textures and aromas of foods for the person who is ill
Making a shopping list and purchasing food
Preparing the meal and serving the food
Storing leftovers and cleaning up
Ready? Set? Go! – Suggestions for efficient meal preparation
Below are several tips and strategies that can help you save time and keep meal preparation simple. Click on each title to view.
Prepare a menu for one or two weeks at a time.
Keep a file of appropriate recipes nearby.
Choose recipes that don’t take long to prepare.
Add an extra ingredient or two (e.g., cheese or ham) to make a simple dish more satisfying.
Repeat a few favourite meals (e.g., tuna melt Tuesday; tomato soup
and grilled cheese on Fridays). This can make things easier and may be
something to look forward to.
When possible, make extra you can freeze or serve again the next day.
Have a standard shopping list for the meals you cook regularly.
Be prepared to adjust the meal plan for changes in food
Consider frozen meals that are quick to plate; these can be very useful when the person’s appetite is changing.
What may help
Involve the person who is ill if possible
Given the many demands on you as a caregiver, how can you still manage to make meal preparation and mealtimes enjoyable? If the person who is ill is open to it, one possibility is to involve them in as many aspects of meal and food prep as possible. Planning meals or preparing food together can be fun.
Accept help from others
People may offer to help, but sometimes it’s difficult on the spot to think of what someone can do. Try to have a list ready for when someone asks. Here are some suggestions of ways they can help:
Grocery shopping (ideally, regularly)
Finding recipes for easy-to-prepare meals
Staying with the person who is ill while you grocery shop
- Bringing prepared food (e.g., a casserole, lasagna, or roast)