by Francy Dickinson www.seniorcarewithspirit.com
Dear Francy; My Dad simply will not eat any of the food that they deliver to him. I have tried to buy him good frozen dinners -he hates them. How can I help him eat well at home?
I have a few ideas from my days going through the same thing with my mother. She loved to cook, but her last few of months living on her own left her to weak to cook. But some times it’s good just to know that a home cooked meal will arrive once or twice a week. If you’re alone or cook for a family a good dinner that’s made in the slow cooker or on Sunday when you have time – will go a long way. The key will be you making a week’s menu andputting it on the refrigerator. That way the senior knows what to eat each day. I used a piece of masking tape on the different microwave reheat containers with numbers and then put the numbers next to the menu days. If they have to add something like fresh salad to his reheat dish, then just add it to the menu list. Be sure to put the re-heat microwave time next to the meal so he does not over cook. He will be involved but it will be easy and taste good to him.
If you are able to give him one day a week of a few hours you can pre-fix 7 easy meals. It will take time to shop and time to pre-cook. But the meals are designed to be fast prep and healthy. You’ll need a few good re-heat Rubbermaid type of containers so its easier for him to grab, nuke, add the salad sides and eat! I would do it at his place so he sees you cooking and appreciates your time and he can enjoy the smells from his kitchen. I have the shopping list at the end.
- 1st dinner/ Buy a pre cooked roasted chicken – this is good for 2-3 meals. You prep them like this. Slice one breast and dark meat piece and heat with mashed potatoes and gravy from the deli section of the store (buy small container) If there are left overs store for lunch next day. Mark the menu for your dad to add in some carrot salad (or Jello salad) from the deli section (small container) after he has microwaved the dinner. Left overs can be a possible lunch
- 2nd Dinner/Take the other chicken breast and slice it up and toss with Ranch Dressing. (This is for the inside of 2 torteas.) Add one chopped Roma tomato to the shredded chicken breast, sprinkle with shredded cheese – roll tight and store in wax paper. This makes a good dinner it goes into the microwave for 3 min to heat. He can add a side of his carrot or Jello salad.
- 3rd Dinner/Dinner from your place/ One good weekly meal that you served your family and set aside a portion for the senior. It could be a nice soup, chile, stew or roast. This is the best dinner he will get so make sure it has gravy and plenty of spice to make it tickle his palette. You can find ideas on Slow Cooker Meals added to your IGoogle page/its an application for your home page. 1-2 servings
- 4th Dinner/Fish – a small one meal piece of whte fish that’s easy to cook fast. Put in a covered micro container to steam. Be sure to add Ranch dressing, chopped green onion and squirt with lemon juice before you steam the fish. It will cook in about 3-4 minutes. Take out and cool then place on the reheat plate and add a side of Rice a Roni type of rice mix. Pick a fresh green veggie that you will steam for two dinners. You can use broccoli or asparagus. Steam it up in the microwave with plastic on top and a little water in the casserole dish. Add a sprinkle of flavored herb mix like Mrs. Dash on top and a dollop of butter or marg. This will be used for the fish and another dinner
- 5th Dinner/Left over chicken pieces a leg, thigh and wing. Put on a micro dish and cover top with BBQ sauce to give the chicken a different flavor. Add a side of baked beans and another helping of green salad that you buy pre-mixed.
- 6th Dinner/This meal is a fried meal. You can choose for him/1 hamburger steak or 2 pork chops. Either one is cooked the same; open the meat and let set while you’re doing the rest of the meals. Heat the oil and rub or dip meat into flour and then fry in oil. You will put salt, pepper, and always use paprika and a steak spice mix on them as they cook and you turn them over after they brown. Sprinkle spice/herbs on top of them as you turn them. If it’s pork chops; brown them and put some jam on the top or a squirt of maple syrup and add 1/2 cup of water – cover for 20 minutes on a low bubble. If it’s the hamburger steak than you want to dab a little BBQ sauce on the top and cover for an additional10 minutes on low. This meal is served with the rest of the Rice a Roni type of mix and the rest of the green veggies that you have pre-cooked.
- 7th Dinner/Buy the fresh pasta(ravioli) and the Tomato Sauce in the deli section. They come in pre-pared containers. You can add the ravioli to the place and put the tomato sauce on top and add a sprinkle of Parmesanon top. You will put a side of Italian spice bread on the side. You can find the bread all pre-herbed with garlic and such in the frozen section.
- Add in a good selection of fruits, yogurts, nutritional drinks and sweets for the in betweenfood. Make sure his morning is started with a good cereal served withVanilla Silk (soy-milk). Have some pretzels, and some gummy bears for him to enjoy and snack. If you choose the better snacks he will have a better choice of good foods for his day.
Your Shopping list: You may have to shop for spices or condiments that you like to use when you cook- to put in his cupboard.
1 fully cooked chicken (the kind they roast at the grocery store)
1 hamburger steak or two pork chops
1 piece of white fish that is large enough to serve the senior
1 package of Rice A Roni (Chicken flavor type of rice mix)use for 2 dinners
1 small mashed potato container from deli section
1 small chicken gravy container from deli section
1 small carrot salad from deli section (2 dinners)
1 large pre-mixed green salad from the salad section so this will be a side for two dinners
1 BBQ Sauce – I like to use the honey BBQ
1 Ranch dressing
1 can of Baked Beans for one dinner – use rest for a lunch
1 bunch of broccoli or other green veggie to steam for 2 dinners
2 Roma tomatoes
1 bunch of green onion
1 RealLemon – lemon juice to have in the senior’s refrigerator
1 serving of deli prepared ravioli
1 serving of tomato sauce from right next to the pastas in the deli section
1 container of Parmesan cheese
1 frozen package of pre-herbed and garlic bread that has individual pieces
These are meals that are easy to pre-pare, take very little cooking and just need you to be solid on getting it all done in one full swoop. Think fast and think easy. Buy most of the things pre-cooked or packaged and then the prep time is less. It’s never fun cooking in a strange kitchen, but take note of what he needs and just add it to the shopping list. As you’re in the kitchen go through the refrigerator and cupboards and throw the old spices and mixes, condiments and baking things that are no longer going to be used. You do not want out of date items on the senior’s shelves.
Please do come and visit my website www.seniorcareforseniors and get more information and tips for senior care. I have a great Care Giver 101 Workbookthat will really help to guide you in the care giving of your senior or spouse.
Join me on Twitter @Seniorcaretips