I was raised on biscuits and gravy, beans, potatoes, cornbread, chicken, pork or wild meat and fresh fish for Sunday dinners. I am not a cook but I am now moving to care for my parents who are in ill health. I need simple healthy recipes to fix them that will satisfy their tastes and health requirements. Any recipes or cookbooks anyone could suggest would be helpful. Thanks.
By Garlind from East Tennessee
Are they diabetic, or require low sodium recipes, or watching cholesterol? I have a lot of recipes, but just need a little more info, so I reply with the right ones you are looking for. Thank you
You can start with Betty Crocker recipes. Also, go to the Campbell's soup web site. My college boy cooks from that. They have lots of easy one dish recipes. Kraft has a web site but I find their recipes almost all have loads of cheese and fat...maybe they'd like that. As altmansgirl said, if we knew more about restrictions we could help more.
There's hundreds of cookbooks out there designed for specific dietary requirements, but as a basic book I'd recommend the Better Homes and Gardens cookbook if you don't already have one. Lots of good, easy-to-make recipes and the newer editions include nutritional information. They also have a lot of info on cooking basics and how-to's which come in handy.
A healthy diet for the elderly is generally the same as a healthy diet for anyone, it is lower in salt, fat and sugar. If you don't add any salt to food when you prepare it, your parents can salt it to their liking at the table. Baked meat, poultry and fish are healthier than fried. Kraft has a product called Oven Fry. There is one for chicken, one for fish and one for pork chops. It is very good and tastes nothing like Shake and Bake. Trim all fat from pork and beef and remove all skin from chicken before cooking. Avoid sausage, bacon, hot dogs and other highly processed meat because of their salt content. Some elderly people with false teeth have difficulty chewing beef, pork and chicken. If that is the case, you can run the cooked meat through a food processor before serving. Go easy on the cheese, which can raise triglycerides. Use a product like Egg Beaters instead of eggs.
Avoid sugary desserts. Instead, serve things like sugar-free Jell-o, fresh or canned fruit, but avoid canned fruit in heavy syrup. For vegetables, instead of salt and butter, flavor them with a sprinkling of Mrs. Dash 'Table Blend'.
Give them what they want. If they want fat, give them fat, if they want cookies give them cookies. What difference will it make. Eat and be happy.
The best thing I can think of is to get a hold of a copy of taste of home. Most stores carry it now. Let you parents look though it and find things they like. They are on-line as well, they have "old fashion type recipes" and newer healthy recipes too. They sell cookbooks and other magazines as well. They say they are America`s number one cooking magazine.
I am with pkgobble! When my mom was in a nursing home, I tried to bring her "healthy" snacks, when all she wanted was cheese popcorn and milkshakes. As you said, "satisfy their tastes"... I'll bet you can find recipes for most of the foods they like right here on this website!
What they already eat is fine, if it's prepared properly.
* Pan-fry with a LITTLE healthy oil (olive, canola, sunflower, safflower, or flaxseed -- canola or safflower are best for frying), and unstick things from the skillet with broth or water instead of adding more fat. Better yet, bake, boil, steam, or roast meat and vegetables instead of frying.
* Use lots of herbs and spices and a little less salt.
* Sweeten foods with fruit juice, Splenda, or other healthy substitutes for sugar.
* Gravy should only be made with 1-2 tablespoons of fat and flour; the rest should be low-sodium, low-fat or non-fat broth.
* Substitute soy flour, or at least whole wheat flour, for up to 1/3 of the recipe's regular flour.
* Make each meal with one part protein, two parts starch, two to three parts vegetables (one part of this can be fruit).
* Save desserts for a weekly treat, not a nightly treat. Keep them simple: Sliced strawberries sprinkled with a teaspoon of sugar and garnished with a mint sprig, instead of a big fluffy cake or goopy sticky sweets. The same goes for heavy starches, like biscuits -- a weekend breakfast is great, but daily breakfasts should be maybe an egg, some oatmeal or whole-grain muffin or toast, and fruit.
* Use decaf or half-caf coffee and tea. There are coffee brands that sell half-caf already blended. If you can't find that, go to a coffee shop and have them custom-blend and grind the beans for you, or just switch to decaf outright.
* Beans are extremely healthy, as are the meats you mention.
* Butter and margarine contain the same amount of fat, unless the margarine is marked "lite," but butter contains only pure milk solids and salt, while margarine contains some chemical compounds that can be bad for the health, sometimes seriously. Talk to your parents and their doctor about whether butter or "lite" margarine would be healthier when the benefits are compared with the drawbacks.
* Potatoes, beans, peas, corn, brown rice, whole-grain pastas are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates. Corn, beans, and peas also contain other healthful nutrients. Stay away from white rice and processed grains; the whiter the food, the less fiber it contains, and less fiber means that the elderly (and everyone else) will have issues with digestive irregularity. Fiber-rich diets have been shown to contribute to a lower risk for certain cancers and other health concerns.
* Fresh is best, then fresh-frozen, then dried, THEN canned. This goes for pretty much everything except for canned beans, which lose nothing in the canning process, while gaining a great deal in the way of convenience. Other than beans and the occasional corn, try to drastically reduce your canned food purchases.
* When dealing with aging parents/grandparents, guests or children, the same is true: If you want them to eat healthily, YOU have to eat healthily. If you don't bring junk home, they won't have ready access to it. Don't keep "mama's stash," because it's no better for your own health than it is for theirs.
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