When you are caring for a loved one in hospice, preparing meals is probably one of the last things you are thinking about. Yet to maintain your health and strength and keep your loved ones fueled during this time, quality foods are necessary. Some helpful tips to ease the burden of food preparation include:
- Prepare extra foods and store in single-serving portions.
- Ask for help. Friends and family want to help, and asking them to cook meals is a great way for them to contribute.
- Order takeout from a local restaurant that delivers.
- Use the microwave and fill your pantry with foods that only require heating.
- If you have the option, use home-delivery shopping or online purchasing.
Food and Meal Preparation Tips
During this time, meals don’t need to be extravagant. In fact, basic foods can go a long way in providing high nutritional value. Some foods to keep on hand include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Eggs (hard-boiled)
- Peanut butter
- Instant breakfast drinks
- Dried fruits and nuts
- Hot and cold cereals
- Breakfast/protein bars
Prepare simple meals that don’t require much assembly or cook time. Some meals include:
- Sandwiches (meat, cheese, peanut butter and jelly, etc.)
- Taco salad (ground beef with taco seasoning and any veggies or cheese)
- Frozen meals (pizza, TV dinners, fish sticks, etc.)
- Canned foods (beef stew, chili, spaghetti, etc.)
Easy to Chew Diet
For your loved one in hospice, diet restrictions, such as chewing limitations, may need to be accommodated for. To help those with chewing restrictions, it’s important to have moist, soft foods available. Nutritional supplements or homemade shakes can also be used as meal replacements. Some foods that are good to have include:
- Yogurt, custard, ice cream
- Soft or melted cheese, including cottage cheese and cream cheese
- Soft eggs
- Fruits (canned and fresh)
- Softened carbohydrates (noodles, breads, cereals, rice)
Avoid foods that are hard and difficult to chew, such as:
- Deep fried, crispy foods
- Raw vegetables
Tips for Pureed Foods
If you or a loved one needs further help, pureed foods are easy to eat and still provide nutritional value. The final consistency of pureed foods should be similar to thick pudding or smooth mashed potatoes, and should be thick enough to pick up with a spoon or fork. Some tips to prepare pureed foods include:
- Cut foods like meats and breads into small chunks to puree more evenly
- Puree with liquids (like gravy, broth, water etc.) to form paste
- Add powdered thickener if necessary
- Add butter or margarine to boost calories