Last week on Food Friday we looked at "Feeding the Unwell". We talked about patients who were quite ill or in the early post op phases. This week we will go on to pleasanter things and talk about the time frame when patients are feeling better, but still are unable to cook healthy attractive food for themselves.
Nutritional requirements are increased while recovering. In particular, nutrients and protein needs are particularly increased, similar to that for pregnancy. There are other special needs. For example, the need to avoid constipation is key. Those recovering from surgery or whose mobility has been limited are prone to constipation, and this can be a significant source of discomfort. Strategic food choices can help avoid this.
Those who are recovering may have had antibiotics. They may benefit from probiotics such as yoghurt, kefir, sauerkraut, and kombucha.
Appetite is often diminished in the recovery period. Foods need to be especially appealing and tailored to the patient’s preferences. It also is best to foster a small frequent meals type schedule.
Between all this, you as the caregiver or helpful friend have several options:
- Bring freshly made food which can be portioned out over time.
- Bring frozen food which can be heated up.
- Bring ziplock freezer bag “ Kits” of food for use in slow cookers or fast cookers ( pressure cookers like InstantPot) which the patient might have.
- Make sure the patient has enough healthy handy beverages. Consider herb tea, probiotic Kombucha, milk if tolerated and lightly sweetened drinks.
- Bring frozen “smoothie kits” containing yogurt or kefir, fruits, and veggies.
- Use the secret weapon of some wholesome sweets, .i.e. dark chocolate, or a slice of fruit pie to kickstart a recovering person’s appetite.
- Use the secret weapon of salty foods like pickles, salsa or sauerkraut to induce someone to drink more water.
Here are some of my Pinterest Boards with recipes which may inspire you.
Pick dishes with ample protein, fruit, veggies, and fiber. Include healthy fat such as avocado, nuts, olive or coconut oil. For specific information on these, see below:
Here are some tips to make your culinary caregiving experience more manageable and satisfying.
- Visit your patient first to see how she really is doing.
- Make sure you know her allergies, intolerances, preferences and level of hunger.
- Check in regarding who else will be helping, and whether someone else has organized a meal schedule.
- Organize a meal schedule yourself using Google Docs or another method of your choice.
Your patient will not just be well fed; She will have the pleasure of seeing you and the knowledge that you care.