A healthy, balanced diet is the foundation of good health. Unfortunately, for aging adults and individuals with special needs, preparing food can be a difficult task to perform alone. Caregivers can lend a helping hand either by aiding in the food preparation process or taking on the full responsibility of food prepping.
Here, Ideal Home Care Services, a trusted name in companion care services and extended services in the Long Island community, offers tips for caregiver meal preparation and details why a proper diet is essential for clients.
Why It Matters
A nutritional diet is critical for several reasons and can be the best way for a caregiver to help a patient. Consuming a healthy diet has proven to help protect against many chronic diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. A healthy diet is also crucial for maintaining a healthy weight, which is important for healthy joint function. Additionally, a well-balanced diet can help boost energy levels for patients.
Caregiver Meal Preparation Tips
Before caregivers begin to prepare any meals for their patients, they should first speak with them and their families to discuss any dietary restrictions, personal references, expectations, and other considerations. This ensures the caregiver is providing the right types of meals to promote health and nutrition.
Don’t Over Step
For some patients, cooking may be a passion. In the past, they may have found comfort in making meals for themselves or their loved ones. When providing aid for patients who are still able to perform cooking duties but only require minimal assistance, it’s important to nurture their self-esteem by not overstepping.
If safe, only lend a helping hand to patients and try not to take over the kitchen. However, if the safety of the patient is in question, caregivers should have the confidence to step in when necessary.
Smaller May Be Better
Depending on the person for whom you’re providing care services, smaller portions may be a much healthier option. This is because smaller portions allow for better digestion. This can mean fewer stomach concerns for patients. A great tip for controlling portion size is to use proper plates and cups to prevent overeating.
Include Healthy Nutrients
To ensure patients are getting the most out of their diet, caregivers should provide meals that emphasize fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. Additionally, meal plans should include a variety of protein options and food items that are low in added sugars, sodium, saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. Possible nutritious meal prep ideas include:
Oatmeal is one of the easiest and yet most nutritious breakfast options. Oatmeal can be prepared in a variety of ways, either in the microwave, in a slow cooker, or overnight. Caregivers can add extra flavor and nutrition by including fruit, seeds, and more.
Egg Salad Sandwich
With a quick meal prep time and high nutritional value, egg salad sandwiches are a lunchtime staple. They pack protein in a delicious-tasting sandwich. Caregivers can serve egg salad on whole-wheat toast, a bagel, or in lettuce wraps to make it even healthier.
Pasta With Protein
Pasta with chicken, shrimp, meatballs, or another form of protein is an unmatched dinner combination. This simple dinnertime meal checks all the boxes. Caregivers can add spinach to the sauce to add even more nutrition.
More Nutritious Meal Ideas at Ideal Home Care Services
At Ideal Home Care Services, we believe providing our clients with healthy meals is essential to their overall health. Based in Hauppauge, New York, and serving clients throughout Long Island, our team takes great pride in tending to the nutritional needs of aging seniors through well-thought-out meal preparation and other services. Our caregivers take the time to learn a client’s preferences and dietary limitations as they curate a meal plan with them in mind.
For more healthy meal prep ideas and tips, or to learn more about the importance of meal preparation in caregiving, contact us today at Ideal Home Care Services.