Studies show that people who eat meals prepared at home have healthier diets. Finding the time and energy to cook after a hectic day, especially when you are a caregiver, can be a challenge. If you are feeling overwhelmed with your other responsibilities, use the following tips to find ways to cook tasty, nutritious meals for yourself and those you love.
Begin by reviewing the dietary needs and restrictions recommended by your loved one’s doctor or dietitian. Support groups often maintain websites for medical conditions. Do an online search by typing the specific diagnosis along with the word “nutrition” to find information about recipes and meal plans that meet the specific dietary needs of individuals suffering from a particular medical condition. Along with common diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer, there are also sites dedicated to elderly and childhood illnesses. Tailor the recommended meal plan to your individual circumstances.
After reviewing your loved one’s nutritional requirements, discovering what foods to avoid and evaluating possible meal plans, purchase a cookbook with nutritional values and pictures. Your loved one can pick the dishes that appeal to them. You can prepare complementary dishes to ensure that your loved one gets all the vitamins and minerals that they need. The list of ingredients also makes it easier to create a shopping list. Being able to prepare different dishes will increase variety and the potential that your loved one will enjoy the meal. If your loved one prefers smaller meals, prepare healthy snacks for him or her to eat during the day like bite-sized pieces of fruits and vegetables. The better their eating habits, the easier it will be for them to get the nutrition that they need.
Select the recipes that are easiest to prepare in order to save time. Look for one-pot meals or those that can be prepared in a slow cooker while you accomplish other tasks. Use the slow cooker for breakfast as well as dinner. One-pot meals reduce the number of pans and dishes that need to be cleaned after eating. A blender enables you to combine a variety of fruits and vegetables into smoothies that taste good and are easy to drink. This is especially helpful for ensuring that individuals who have difficulty chewing still get their recommended daily allowances of fruit and vegetables.
After measuring dry ingredients, pour them into your hand. Once you learn what the amount looks like, you can leave the measuring cups and spoons in the drawer, which means that you will not have to clean them. Prepare several meals at once. Freeze the extra portions. When time is short, remove a pre-cooked meal and warm it up on the stove or in the microwave. Cook extra food that can be eaten as leftovers the following day. Buy a slightly larger cut of meat that can be used to make sandwiches or added to soup or a casserole to save cooking time. Order food online and then swing by the store and pick up the groceries or have them delivered. While eating at home is usually more nutritious, it is alright to occasionally dine out or order takeout when you want a break or a really pressed for time.
Following these tips will help save time, reduce stress and make it easier to care for loved ones while ensuring that they have a healthy diet. If you need additional help, ask your loved one’s doctor or dietitian for information about meal plans and preparation techniques. They may also be able to direct you to local support groups that can provide assistance and advice.