Saturday, April 11, 2015

Making Life Easier: Food Hacks When Affected by a Chronic Condition

Those affected by chronic conditions know all about fatigue, weakness, being overwhelmed and the yucks that make it difficult to work, take care of basic household chores to say nothing of cooking or socializing. For the next few weeks, we’ll focus on a different “hacks” that can help make things easier.

Today’s post focuses on food. Shopping, prep and all the rest can be so challenging that it’s easy to skip meals or to eat all the wrong stuff. Below are some tips to make eating easier and keep you healthy:

Use Meals on Wheels or a similar service:  This was a tip from a caregiver of an adult daughter with a life threatening illness as well as a spouse with Parkinson’s Disease. Having food delivered can make all the difference. Cities will be more likely to have different type of food delivery services, so call 2-1-1 and see what’s available in your town. Many do not charge for this service, or offer it on a sliding scale fee. 

Local Eateries are another option: Many eateries and grocery stores now have excellent “to go” menus that are healthy and nutritious. Some will deliver or offer curbside service.

Order Groceries On Line: On-line grocery shopping abounds. From Amazon to Wal mart, as well as local grocery stores, many deliver or provide curbside service. Some sites to check out: Peapod,  Whole Foods,  Netgrocer 

Eating Utensils: For some conditions, particularly motion disorders such as Parkinson’s Disease and Essential Tremor, eating can be very difficult. Check out a wide variety of assistive devices from International Essential Tremor Foundation

Smoothies: Another tip from the caregiver mentioned above. Since breakfast was not a “delivered” meal, she purchased a Magic Bullet and started making smoothies. Use the Mason Jar Blender trick and you have your serving and mixing glass all in one. This is a good way to get extra protein.

Use powdered milk to get extra protein: Not only is this a cheap source of protein, but you can add it to a lot of dishes and it doesn’t impact taste.

Keep a Fruit Bowl on the Table: This is a good way to remind yourself to snack healthy.

Leave your food processor and other “tools of the trade” on the counter and use them: If blenders and food processors are put away, you wont use them as much. Yet, these devices can cut food prep in half and help you eat healthier. Check out 27 Clever New Ways to Use Kitchen Appliances 

Organize the kitchen so it's easy for you to use. 

Purchase fruits and vegetables that have been peeled, sliced and/or diced. Frozen foods are fine as they are picked when they are at peak and frozen, helping to retain much of their nutritional value.

Cook when you can and freeze.

Purchase items that are easy to open: If you can’t quickly open the bag, or uncap the jar, that can be the difference between using it or not. While it’s great if you can go to the local farmer’s market once a week, where food has minimal packaging, check out 6 Awesome Tricks for Things that are Hard to Open.

Use simple but flavorful recipes: Check out Mark Bittman, known as the Minimalist Chef. Herbs, spices, stocks (readily available in the soup section) can increase both flavor and nutritional value.  

Baby Pouches Work: Purchase the organic ones. The purees are generally easier on your stomach and perfect for those who need soft foods.

Clean up can be simplified: Check out 37 Hacks to Make Dish Washing Easier 

Check out the kitchen hacks:
For More Information: Go-Go Eating/Exercise and Stress 

 Other “Hacks” in this Series

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