Juicing’s Health Claims Not Backed By Science

Juicing’s Health Claims Not Backed By Science

Juicing has become one of the most popular modern health trends, boasting an ability to detox the body while boosting immunity and aiding digestion. But is juicing really better for you than eating whole fruits and vegetables? According to science, it’s probably worse. The American College of Cardiology’s Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease Council analyzed a number… (more…)

The danger of dehydration: what caregivers should know

The danger of dehydration: what caregivers should know

It’s astounding how many adults are chronically dehydrated.

Drinking enough water helps your body work better and helps you feel better. It helps your metabolism work better and improves your concentration.

Staying hydrated becomes more important as we age. Dehydration is one of the top 10 reasons for hospitalizations among the elderly!

If you’re taking care of a senior, be sure to encourage them to get enough fluids every day.

Boost your water consumption

It’s easy to have a glass of water on your desk at work or your table at home, ready to go whenever you’re feeling thirsty. You can also make it a habit to drink a glass of before each meal.

If you’re not a fan of the taste of regular water, you can drink decaffeinated teas or fruit infusions.

Some foods are packed with water: like juicy fruits and warm soups.

Infographics used with permission from Waterlogic.

Healthy holiday treats

Healthy holiday treats

The holidays are a time for indulgence, but not all of us are at liberty to indulge.

Don’t skip the holiday fun! Try one of these healthier options to celebrate the holidays.

Snowman porridge

Porridge plus blueberries, chocolate chips, and strawberries. Or whatever you have at hand. Get creative!

chia pudding and kiwi christmas breakfast

Chia pudding with kiwi

Chia pudding is easy to make ahead of time. You can make it with regular milk or any sort of non-dairy milk, like soy, almond, or hemp. Add some kiwi puree and slices to add some Christmas flair.

crackers with avocado, tomato, and basil

Avocado and tomato bites

Smash some avocado, smoosh it on a cracker, and top it with a cherry tomato slice and herbs. These hors d’ors are super simple and delicious!

sourdough bread with avocado and veggies

Christmas toasts

Toast whatever bread you like, smash some avocado on top, and toss it with whatever tasty bites seem festive to you.

You can also try this fun edible menorah project for Hanukah.

baked apples for hanukah

Baked apples

Regular baked apples are pretty unhealthy, but this variation is a little more nice and a little less vice.

Don’t let dysphagia keep you from cooking

Don’t let dysphagia keep you from cooking

The moment of diagnosis is emotional when the diagnosis is dysphagia or swallowing disorder. It is a big challenge for caregivers. When a person has a swallowing disorder, suddenly, from that moment forward, it’s all puree. For the newly diagnosed, this is an emergency. The whole family, patient and caregiver, are in a new moment. They must respond.

I was my mother’s principal caregiver for five years. When she was diagnosed with dysphagia, as the result of dementia, I was on my own. I approached this task as a journalist. I researched the available cookbooks and found them wanting in practical advice, the how to do it. I researched the foods available commercially and found them to be poor examples of nutritional healing.

I interviewed professionals in all the relevant fields, from physicians to dietitians and speech language pathologists to nurses and nurses’ aides. I got an editorial review from a top dysphagia care expert.

Essential Puree: The A to Z Guidebook — This is the volume that I wish I had when my mother got the diagnosis.

Essential Puree aids in the transition, takes away the moment of confusion and even fear. This is for helping the caregiver shoulder the responsibility of feeding, whether the caregiver is a family member or a professional caregiver, whether the patient is at home in a home healthcare situation or in a healthcare facility. Nutrition for the Elderly is important, and it is vastly overlooked.

Essential Puree marries the art of fine food with the science of puree. Just because the form of the diet changes, does not mean you have to give up flavor. I teach the biggest secret to the art of puree. The sauce is the medium of flavor.

This volume takes the reader from the moment of diagnosis step by step through the setting up and running of a puree kitchen. It is fast, easy, organized and smart. The pantry, the freezer, the fridge, food storage and labeling. The book celebrates clean eating and nutritional healing. It is all about flavor, flavor, flavor.

This book includes 67 family recipes for classic American comfort foods done in a healthy manner. The recipes and their variations have been handed down for generations.

I also include a section called The Science of Puree, with information about the National Dysphagia Diet, Instant Thickeners for food and for beverages. This was contributed by the dysphagia care expert, Laura Michael, a member of the board of the national Foundation of Swallowing Disorders. I tested the best kitchen appliances for simplifying the labor or food preparation, storage and cleanup.

Patient and caregiver may try free recipes, posted in my Blog at the Essential Puree website.

I offer a Free Download, Shake, Rattle and Roll, for creating three nutritionally dense shakes, ready in a flash.

These are classic American shakes, the Miami shake, the Memphis Shake and the Motown Shake. Better-tasting than anything you could buy off the shelf, with no white sugar, preservatives or chemicals. Check out the e-book.

Essential Puree is available in print and eBook editions on the website, and at Amazon and other online sources.

 


Diane Wolff has been published in “The New York Times, ” “The New York Times Book Review, ” and the “Chicago Tribune”, among others, for her work on China and Tibet.

I do this work in my mother’s memory, that what I created for her may be of benefit to others.

I have recently done a dessert tasting at the New York charity God’s Love We Deliver, and I do lecture demonstrations at the stroke centers of Bayfront Medical and Fawcett, here in Port Charlotte, Florida, where I live.

Savor Health helps cancer survivors heal through nutrition

Savor Health helps cancer survivors heal through nutrition

When Susan Bratton watched helplessly as her close friend succumbed to a brain tumor, she knew what she had to do–launch Savor Health.

Savor Health offers nutritional counseling, curates nutrition research, and provides home-delivered meals to people from first diagnosis to survivorship.

Bratton spent 20 years as a healthcare investment banker on Wall Street before considering this venture. “I left my job in 2010,” she said. “But, I had to delay the official launch of Savor Health because my father was diagnosed with cancer. He made a remarkable recovery.” Her company has since made remarkable growth by addressing the shortcomings of the medical community.

“The medical community’s answer to weight loss while treating cancer was to eat anything with high calories,” Bratton said. “They said ‘eat what you want’.” But, she realized that proper nutrition improves cancer issues like side effects of cancer treatments.

Bratton said she saw a big change since her company was launched in that nutrition really does matter. Bratton predicts further expansion of Savor Health into the diabetic market.

“Ninety percent of the people we serve are caregivers, not patients,” Bratton said, explaining that patients are so tired with treatments; it’s left to the caregiver to plan meals. “Savor Health is a tremendous resource for caregivers,” she said.

Bratton said Savor Health has helped many people survive cancer through nutrition counseling and planning. “We had someone who underwent cancer treatments who is now a survivor. He believes our meals helped him,” she said. “He sends us photos of his puppies. We consider him part of the Savor Health family.”

An elderly woman was being taken care of by her husband until he started developing health complications of his own, Bratton said. Their daughter, who is a busy career woman, contacted Savor Health to help in delivering meals and in counseling.

During diagnosis and treatment, more people need home-delivered meals, but as they become survivors, they stay for ongoing counseling relying less on home-delivery service because they know how to plan menus, according to Bratton.

“Our mission is to help cancer survivors and their caregivers by getting nutrition off their plate when caring for themselves or their loved ones,” Bratton said.

Don’t take weight gain lightly: Healthy foods to help you put on the pounds and boost your strength

Don’t take weight gain lightly: Healthy foods to help you put on the pounds and boost your strength

My elderly father’s most recent directive from his trusted physician was quite simply, “Gain weight, Ed!,” but for all the woes we hear about the trails of trying to lose weight, we don’t often realize that for some, gaining weight can be a real struggle.

Being too thin, especially for senior citizens, or anyone battling an illness, can put further strain on our system and make us feel weak, tired, cold, or frail. Weight loss can also impact our muscle mass, and maintaining some muscle in general, and particularly as we age, is instrumental in maintaining our mobility, strength, and in turn, our health.

While the road to weight gain is quite logical – we need to take in more daily calories than we burn – the practice can be challenging, especially if it involves changing our diet or eating patterns. Still, it can be done, it can be fun, and foods must be healthy to be truly effective.

Here is a list of foods for healthy, happy weight gain, along with some snack ideas and meal recipes.

 

Tips:

  1. Eat three full meals a day
  2. Snack during the in-between hours, and have a snack before bed
  3. Increase portion sizes

 

Caprese salad with mozzarella, tomatoes

Snack ideas:

  • Half a whole grain bagel with peanut or almond butter (add banana for additional texture and flavor)
  • Half a whole grain bagel with smoked salmon, or smoked salmon and cream cheese
  • Unsalted nuts mixed with dried fruits such as apricot, mango, and raisins
  • Wholemilk yogurt with flax seeds, hemp seeds, nuts or granola (be mindful of the sugar content of granolas, as they can be high)
  • Guacamole and flax seed chips (or just slices of avocado by themselves)
  • Cheese and wholegrain crackers
  • A bowl of small mozzarella balls and cherry tomatoes drizzled with olive oil
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • One-egg omelet with grated parmesan
  • Cornbread or banana bread (these can easily be made from store-bought mixes, or from scratch)
  • Unsalted or lightly salted popcorn with or without real butter (throw a tab in and mix it up)

 

avocado toast

 

Recipe ideas

1. Avocado Open Sandwich on Toast

Prep time: 3 minutes
Ingredients: Two slices of multigrain bread, one avocado and a little lime juice.
Recipe: Toast the bread. Peel and stone the avocado. Coarsely slice it and in a small bowl crush it down with a squeeze of lime juice, sea salt and mayo. Don’t try and form a puree as this should still be coarse and chunky.

 

2. Sweet Potato Shepherd’s Pie

Use this recipe, but swap in ground turkey for beef, and sweet potatoes or yams for regular potatoes.

Recipe: Simply Recipes

 

3. Stir-fry Chicken (and shrimp) with Cashews (or Peanuts) over Brown Rice

Recipe: Belly Full

 

4. Chocolate, Banana, Peanut Butter Protein Shake

Scroll down in the link for the recipe and directions, and add shredded coconut if you like

Recipe: A Sweet Peach

 

sardines are nutritious and full of calories to help gain and maintain weight

Foods to buy and eat

  1. Salmon (steaks, fillets, cured)
  2. Tuna steaks or fillets
  3. Fresh sardines (Whole Foods sometimes has the whole fish at the fish counter for pretty cheap and you can cook them and I think even eat the bones).
  4. Lean chicken meat or ground turkey without additives
  5. Any fish, but fishes high in omega-3 such as salmon, lake trout and mackerel are best.
  6. Unsalted nuts
  7. Avocado/guacamole
  8. Oatmeal (adding ground flaxseed or chia seeds to oatmeal, yogurt, shakes or whatever is great)
  9. Sweet potatoes or yams
  10. Peanut or almond butter
  11. Olive oil or some butter
  12. Dried figs or apricots (without added sugar)
  13. Brown rice/quinoa with beans (black/kidney/pinto/lentil) or some kind of protein mixed in or on the side
  14. Elbows or spaghetti (good to add a protein like chicken/salmon/even a tuna casserole would be good)
  15. Breads with no added sugar/whole grain bagels
  16. Cheese
  17. Yogurt (full fat), add fruit, nuts, flax seeds to taste
  18. Eggs
  19. Fresh vegetables (leafy greens) and
  20. Fruits (bananas, berries, figs, etc.)
  21. Spiru-Tein powder in chocolate or vanilla (add to fruit smoothies)
  22. Vega all-in-one nutritional shake (both are sold at Whole Foods)
  23. Dark chocolate
  24. Shredded coconut (add to yogurt and smoothies)
6 Natural Remedies for Hypertension That Caregivers Need to Know

6 Natural Remedies for Hypertension That Caregivers Need to Know

Blausen.com staff. "Blausen gallery 2014". Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010.

Blausen.com staff. “Blausen gallery 2014”. Wikiversity Journal of Medicine. DOI:10.15347/wjm/2014.010.

High blood pressure is a serious problem in modern America. Different sources give different figures, but everyone agrees that high blood pressure is widespread and far too common in the western world. There are many drugs that medical professionals like to prescribe to lower blood pressure. Most of these drugs are fairly effective, but many have serious side effects.

Thankfully, there are several proven natural remedies for high blood pressure that actually work. 

Remedy #1: Basil

Most people already consume a small amount of basil on a regular basis, especially if they eat Italian food. This amount of basil certainly won’t hurt, but it’s not really enough to return your readings into a healthy blood pressure range. A supplement, however, could have a noticeable effect. Conversely, you could simply add a great deal of basil to your diet. It goes well in a salad or pretty much any Italian dish.

Natural Remedy #2: Cinnamon

Many people find cinnamon delicious, even more so than basil. It’s quite easy to add it to your diet, and it does actually work. Cinnamon is often consumed in cereal, oatmeal, and increasingly in coffee. However, it can spice up many dishes that people wouldn’t think of. Cinnamon can intensify the flavor of stir-fries, curries, and stews.

Natural Remedy #3: Cardamom  

While you almost certainly have heard of basil and cinnamon, you probably haven’t heard of cardamom. Cardamom is a seasoning that is very common in the cuisine of India and other South East Asian cultures. Cardamom has been proven to be one of the most effective natural remedies for high blood pressure. There aren’t many cardamom supplements on the market, but the seasoning can be added to many foods with tasty results. It’s most often seen in spice rubs, stews, soups, and even pastries.

Natural Remedy #4: Flaxseed

Flaxseed has a high concentration of omega-3 fatty acids, which are best known for being the healthiest ingredient in fish oil. Omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to the body in many ways, including lowering blood pressure. It does this in several ways, including lowering serum cholesterol, increasing glucose tolerance, and functioning as an antioxidant. It is possible to purchase a variety of different products that contain flaxseed, but the most effective way to consume flaxseed is to buy it ground and add it to your food. It is virtually tasteless, so it can be added to almost anything. It should be stored in the freezer to keep it as fresh and potent as possible.

Natural Remedy #5: Garlic

Many people are aware of garlic’s ability to lower blood pressure. However, you might not know that garlic actually lowers blood pressure by causing blood vessels to dilate, or expand. This allows blood to flow without restriction, which means blood pressure is lower. Many people don’t like the taste of garlic, but roasting it reduces the pungency. Alternatively, you can take it as a supplement.

Natural Remedy #6: Ginger

Similar to garlic, ginger causes vasodilation. This process lowers blood pressure, as described above. As with some of the other herbs on this list, it is commonly used in Asian cuisines. However, it is quite versatile. It can be used in pastries or even mixed drinks. Many people like to put it in their tea.


Always consult your doctor before making significant changes to your diet. Talk to your doctor before discontinuing or changing any medications.

If you liked this article, check out Vive Health’s blog here.

Cooking for your loved one

Cooking for your loved one

Although I’m not a professional chef, I was a food writer for the original Rochester Magazine, (when it started years ago in my hometown of Rochester, Minnesota), learned basic and advanced cooking techniques, and created many original recipes. I’ve made airy soufflés, gallons of soup, tossed a dizzying array of salads, baked French baguettes, turned our kitchen into a biscotti factory, produced thousands of cookies, made egg roll wrappers, flipped countless burgers, prepared a wedding dinner for seventy, roasted a Christmas prime rib as long as a log, entertained my physician husband’s patients, and made cookbooks for family members.

These experiences have been a culinary journey, and I have enjoyed every moment of it—even the recipe failures.

I’m a “made-from-scratch” cook, an approach that halted abruptly in 2013 when my husband’s aorta dissected. After three emergency operations, two months in the hospital, and six months in a nursing home for therapy, my husband John was released to my care. His dismissal was a nutrition wake-up call. For eight months I had been eating on the run. Instead of eating complete meals, I snacked and made poor food choices. Much as I hate to admit it, I often ate standing up due to time constraints. I visited my husband three times a day, at breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and there was little time for anything else.

Your caregiving experiences may be similar to mine. After rushing to prepare food, using too many high-salt mixes, and eating too many frozen meals, many of them high in salt, you may yearn for something homemade…After months of poor nutrition, I knew it was time to return to eating healthy, balanced meals…I learned that the approach to cooking by a caregiver requires taking a lot of things into consideration that we didn’t have to think about before, including:

  • physicians’ recommendations and prescriptions
  • foods that inhibit or cancel effects of medication
  • medication management (including dosage times)
  • loved one’s daily routine
  • loved one’s appetite
  • food likes and dislikes
  • amount of daily physical activity
  • caregiving budget (including food)
  • food intolerances and allergies

Challenging as my scenario was, these changes were possible, and I was willing to make them for my husband and me. I deserved balanced, nutritious meals as much as John, and getting back to normal would be comforting…This caregiver’s cookbook is the result of my experience in providing nutritious meals for John and myself…

When I was writing these recipes I tried to imagine your caregiving day, the schedule you keep, and your time-management strategies. I tried to imagine the care receiver too—a child with chronic disease, an ill husband or wife, or a grandparent in failing health. Every meal you prepare can exemplify the love you feel. Fixing meals for a loved one is more than providing fuel for the body; it’s a demonstration of love. You can reduce salt and fat, monitor sugar, and avoid food additives, food coloring, and preservatives with unpronounceable names. Best of all, you can tailor the recipes to your loved one’s needs.


This is an excerpt from the Preface of The Family Caregiver’s Cookbook: Easy-Fix Recipes for Busy Caregivers, slated for October release. The 300-page book is already on Amazon and available for pre-order.

The missing connection between cancer survivorship and nutrition

The missing connection between cancer survivorship and nutrition

there are 13.7 million caregiver survivorsThe American Cancer Society estimates that there are 13.7 million cancer survivors in the US today. Now, CANCER, their peer-reviewed journal, shows that this vulnerable population isn’t getting the nutrition it needs.

The research team was led by Fang Fang Zhang, MD, PhD, of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University. The team analyzed the diets of over 1,500 adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 1999 to 2010.

Cancer survivors had low dietary intakes of vitamins D, E, potassium, and calcium. They were consuming more saturated fat and sodium than recommended. Few Americans consume the recommended number of fruits and vegetables and cancer survivors meet the recommendations at an even lower rate.

Breast cancer survivors had the best nutritional habits, while lung cancer survivors were more likely to have a poor diet. Breast cancer patients who eat 5+ servings of fruit and vegetables a day and had 30 minutes of exercise 6 days a week had a significantly higher 10-year survival rate than those who did not.

Nutrition isn’t just about extending the life of a cancer survivor, it’s about helping them live a better life. Susan Bratton, founder of Savor Health, explained how “Cancer treatment changes your body forever. Nutrition and exercise helps survivors feel like themselves again and keep long-term side effects under control.”

Graphic: Data is curated by HealthGrove.com and sourced from Cancer.gov, the National Cancer Institute and NIH.

Who’s providing nutrition information?

According to Dr. Zhang, “Oncology care providers can play critical roles in reinforcing the importance of a healthful diet, and can refer patients to registered dietitians who are experts in oncology care or to other reputable sources in order to improve survivors’ overall health.”

However, relatively few cancer survivors are referred to specialists in oncology nutrition.

After treatment is completed, oncologists no longer actively manage their patient’s care. Survivorship care plans are created to guide the patient’s primary care physician. “Survivorship care plans include a summary of the treatment a patient received, recommendations for ongoing care, and other information that will help primary care physicians and patients manage their health. They often lack specific dietary recommendations or input from a nutritionist,” clarified Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, a radiation oncologist.

eating 5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day leads to a higher 10 year survival rateWhile oncology staff find survivorship care plans important, they can’t always find time to create them. Primary care physicians may not be familiar with issues specific to cancer survivorship, leaving them unable to provide the best follow-up care.

Studies indicate that there are huge obstacles to accessing medical records. This is changing, as tools like Prime pull electronic medical records into one place and put them within patient’s control.

Tyler Hayes explains, “Prime really came out of my helping some of my own family. The basic idea was just to relieve the huge amount of stress that was happening from not having the records. We were trying to get by just taking notes during appointments, which obviously didn’t work. We had medications in a notebook, on an Excel spreadsheet, and also in email…every day. So I made Prime for my family first, to put everyone on the same page.” Now Prime helps patients provide their doctors with their complete health history.

Patients and caregivers are increasingly put in charge of managing their own treatment. Even people who are eager to be empowered to manage care may lack the tools and support they require. Long-term effects of cancer treatment can affect the heart, lungs, eyes, bones, hormones, teeth and gums, and cause hearing loss. Some side effects take years to manifest and vary widely based on the specific types of treatment received.

What cancer nutrition guidelines exist?

Jessica Iannotta, a registered dietician and certified specialist in oncology nutrition, pointed out how “Patients are told to eat healthy, but aren’t told what that means. I work with Savor Health to help people understand what ‘healthy’ is by providing personal advice. We do all the research and help people apply it to their everyday life.”

eating healthy, exercising, and not smoking lead to a higher quality of life for cancer survivorsThe American Cancer Society and the American Institute for Cancer Research provide broad guidelines, but there’s little information on how to implement what may require dramatic lifestyle changes. Many organizations that support survivors and their families provide no information on nutrition.

Eating healthy and getting the recommended amount of moderate physical activity has been shown to reduce fatigue, depression, and other common issues faced by cancer survivors. Studies have found a strong positive correlation between lifestyle behavior changes (healthy nutrition, physical activity, and smoking cessation) and health-related quality of life.

When medical professionals aren’t providing comprehensive healthcare information, patients and their caregivers go online for more information. The story of Belle Gibson, who claimed to have cured herself of a malignant brain tumor through a special diet and positive thinking, serves as a cautionary tale that much of the information out there doesn’t stand up to scientific scrutiny. Jess Ainscough lost her battle with cancer after opting to follow a special diet in lieu of treatment.

The internet abounds with promises that various diets and natural remedies can cure cancer. There is currently no scientific evidence supporting this. Proper nutrition has been shown to strengthen people’s immune system, mitigate symptoms and side effects, and improve quality of life.

Food and family

Amir Ahuja, a psychiatrist in Modesto, CA, explains how nutrition can also empower caregivers, “It’s not unusual for people to prefer demonstrating how they feel, instead of talking about it. Helping someone eat healthy is one way they can show that they care.”

Bob Harrison, who cared for his wife Annie, didn’t have any problem talking about his feelings for her. His care for her brought them closer and for him preparing healthy food was an act of love. He was surprised by how cancer changed his wife’s diet, saying “The healthy Annie always fixed us nutritious meals. Cancer changed her to a comfort food diet. Maybe because living a very healthy lifestyle did not save her from cancer.”

Nutrition can be empowering for the patient as well. After having seen loved ones battle cancer, Susan Bratton understands how “So much of surviving cancer means giving up control. Nutrition is one way that patients can regain control over their health and their lives.”

Cancer treatment doesn’t end when someone is labelled a survivor. Medical advances have turned cancer into a chronic condition. Harriet Hodgson, a family caregiver and author of 35 books, explains “With medication and specialized care, chronic disease may stabilize for months or years. However, the word chronic implies that the disease will worsen. Since you can’t predict your loved one’s decline, or how long she or he will live, you can’t settle into a new normal.”

Life may not return to normal after cancer, but that doesn’t stop people from leading the life they want. Elizabeth Chabner Thompson, who founded a company providing modern recovery products, understands what it takes, both as a doctor and from personal experience. “Getting proper nutrition is one way for cancer survivors to regain their strength after treatment and enjoy a better quality of life,” she advised. The tools for recovery go beyond medication, encompassing a wide range of support services.

Nutrition during and after treatment

Nutrition is critical during and after cancer treatment. The CDC suggests there is a link between obesity and lower survival rates for people with breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer. Diet and exercise have been shown to significantly reduce the decline in physical function among older, overweight, long-term cancer survivors.

Bob was so concerned about his wife’s nutritional needs that he spoke to her oncologist about it. He didn’t respond well, “he asked what I didn’t understand about dying and told me to feed her anything I could.”

Susan wasn’t surprised to hear that little in the way of nutritional guidance was provided, even during a cancer battle that lasted 29 months. “Few people get comprehensive nutrition support during cancer treatment. Almost no one is referred to a nutritionist after treatment, even though we know it leads to better outcomes,” she said.

Cancer treatment has widely known impacts on people’s ability to eat. Cancer forums are full of patients and caregivers sharing tips on how to tolerate food and minimize symptoms. It’s common for these symptoms to persist after treatment ends. The National Cancer Institute shares basic information on nutrition during treatment, but patients are still looking for more specific advice. Guidance on nutrition is no less critical after treatment ends.

Cancer nutrition resources

You can find detailed, evidence-based information on nutrition for cancer survivors at Savor Health and the American Cancer Society. You can read the full study by Dr. Zhang on the CANCER website (paid).

“Diet quality of cancer survivors and non-cancer individuals: Results from a national survey.” Fang Fang Zhang, Shanshan Liu, Esther John, Aviva Must, and Wendy Demark-Wahnefried. CANCER; Published Online: October 13, 2015 (DOI: 10.1002/cncr.29488).

5 delicious meals that are easy to swallow

5 delicious meals that are easy to swallow

So many of the people we care for have a hard time eating because of swallowing difficulties. One solution is to prepare meals that are especially moist and soft. Cooking for someone with dietary restrictions doesn’t have to be boring — here are 5 delicious recipes that are healthy and easy to swallow.

grilled sea bass with herbs

Photo by Alexpro9500

Moist and tender whole sea bass

Photo by Leo Gong

Roasted halibut with lime, papaya, and avocado salsa

Photo by Cooking Comfort Care

Turkey Tortellini Soup

Photo by Marissa of Get Off Your Tush and Cook

Sweet potato-kale hash topped with an Egg

Photo by Cara Anselmo, MS, RDN, CD

Vegan chocolate cheesecake

 

Thanks to Jessica Iannotta, MS, RD, CSO, CDN, for compiling these recipes.

Caregivers keeping it fresh

Caregivers keeping it fresh

Storing and labeling hacks for your fridge

Food safety is an especially important concern for cancer patients as cancer treatment can weaken the immune system.

Bacteria can easily grow when food is left undisturbed, exposed to the elements, or at a temperature between 40°F-140°F (also known as the “temperature danger zone”).  Therefore, safe food storage is one of the most important ways we can prevent food from being contaminated.

The most important thing you can do to prevent foodborne illness is to keep an organized kitchen. Pay attention to expiration dates and how long food is being stored. In your pantry, canned goods should be kept in good condition and stored in a cool, clean, and dry place. If cans are dented, leaking, bulging, rusted, or beyond their expiration date, discard immediately. High-acid canned foods (tomatoes, grapefruit, pineapples) can generally be stored in your pantry for 12-28 months, whereas low-acid canned foods (meat, poultry, fish, vegetables) can be stored for 2-5 years.

Food can be stored longer in your refrigerator or freezer, so make sure to periodically check both with an appliance thermometer to ensure they are at the appropriate temperature to prevent bacterial growth. Refrigerators should be kept at a temperature of 40°F or below and freezers should be kept at a temperature of 0°F or below. Leftovers and perishable food should not be left out at room temperature for more than two hours (or one hour if the outside temperature is 90°F or above).

When purchasing fresh poultry or meats, be sure to cook or freeze within two days.

Certain meats, like beef, veal, lamb, or pork, can be held for up to 5 days in a refrigerator until they need to be cooked or frozen. Make sure all meats and poultry are securely wrapped to inhibit their exposure to the outside environment as well as to prevent their juices from dripping onto and contaminating other foods. Raw meats and poultry can be double-wrapped in foil or plastic wrap.

Cooked leftovers should be consumed within four days of storage in the refrigerator (unless advised otherwise by your doctor). There are many labels available to download and print that can help you to keep track of when you are refrigerating or freezing foods – I like these free Martha Stewart labels. Simply write the contents of the package or container and circle the date you are freezing or refrigerating them on. This can help you to easily keep track of how long food is being kept and when it needs to be cooked or thrown out.

Storing food in the appropriate manner can also help prevent cross-contamination.

The following infographic highlights how you can easily revamp your refrigerator for optimal quality, freshness and safety:


Source: PartSelect.com

Meals to Heal

As Project Manager at Meals to Heal, Corinne Easterling assists in managing the blog and social media initiatives. She is a graduate in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and a part-time caregiver. She hopes to continue her education and become a Registered Dietitian to help people with serious diseases manage their nutritional needs.

5 yummy, healthy smoothies

5 yummy, healthy smoothies

Smoothies are the perfect drinks to make as the weather gets warm. They are quick and easy to prepare and so healthy! Oh, yeah, I can’t forget to mention how delicious smoothies are. Keep that blender handy!

shutterstock_255979252


Strawberry Mango Spring Smoothie 

This smoothie is made in no time. Be sure to have coconut milk, a banana, a mango, and strawberries.

Smoothies-Strawberry-Mango

Image credit: Rodale’s Organic Life 

Honeydew- Kiwifruit Smoothie 

This delicious kiwi smoothie is made with honeydew, an apple sugar, and lemon juice. Be free to add ice cubes.

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Image credit: Fitness Magazine 

Peanut Butter & Banana Smoothie

Peanut butter and bananas taste fantastic together. All you need is skim milk or soy milk, and a banana.

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Image credit: Fitness Magazine 

Apricot Smoothie

This is something different! You need soy milk, canned apricot, orange juice, nuts, and toasted wheat.

apricot

Image credit: Fitness Magazine 

 All -Around Smoothie 

This all around smoothie is so healthy! It is made with milk, yogurt, honey, banana, protein supplement, strawberries, and flax seeds.

all around

Image credit: All Recipe 

6 simple, delicious ways to eat an avocado

6 simple, delicious ways to eat an avocado

Hey guys, since the weather is getting warm, I have created a list of delicious avocado recipes. You can prepare these inexpensive and healthy meals in no time!

6 delicious ways to eat an avocado

Breakfast

Poached Eggs Over Avocado & Smoked Salmon 

This yummy meal will only take a couple of minutes. It is made with lemon touched greens, smoked salmon, and slices of avocado. This is similar to a salad. You would love!

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Image credit: Cookin’ Canuck 

Sweet Corn Cake Eggs Benedict with Avocado Hollandaise 

If you’re interested in trying new things, be ready to prepare delicious corn cakes. This meal includes bacon, cornmeal, pepper, olive oil, and eggs of course.

eggs-benny-I-howsweeteats.com-6

Image credit: How Sweets Eat 

Black Bean & Avocado Breakfast Burritos 

Burritos are hard to resist because they are so delicious. Now, imagine adding in some avocado. Yummy yum! Make sure to have tortillas, eggs, beans, cheese, lime, and seasons of your choice.

Black-Bean-and-Avocado-Breakfast-Burritos-2

Image credit: Gimme Some Oven

Lunch

Avocado Tea Sandwiches 

Are you looking forward to preparing a simple and tasty lunch? Well, this avocado sandwich is what you need. It literally takes about 10 minutes to make. You should have lemon, mayonnaise, black pepper, and salmon.

AP5176

Image credit: Eating Well

 Stuffed Avocados

This is another quick dish that only takes 10 minutes to prepare. You can choose seafood, tuna, or chicken salad to stuff the avocados with. It’s all up to you, enjoy!

MF5178

Image credit: Eating Well

Easy White Chicken Chili

If you are a chili person, then you should definitely consider making this dish. All you need is five ingredients, which is chicken broth, chicken, beans, salsa, seasoning. Preparing this meal takes no longer than 15 minutes.

5-Ingredient-Green-Chicken-Chili-1

Image credit: Gimme Some Oven

Dinner

Cool Southwestern Salad with Corn & Avocado

We all know that dinner takes a little longer to prepare. This delicious meal takes 20 minutes to make. Be sure to have romaine lettuce, corn, beans, seasons, olive oil, lime juice, and of course avocado.

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Image credit: Health

Grilled Chicken Salad with Avocado & Mango

This well flavored chicken salad is made with boneless chicken breast, olive oil, and lime juice. Mango and avocado makes the meal even more scrumptious.

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Image Credit: Health

Cilantro-Lime Shrimp Tacos

If you like seafood, you would love this dish. You should also consider the fact that tacos are so simple to make. Be sure to have tortillas, shrimp, lime juice, black beans, season, and avocado.

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Image credit: Health 

Create a plan for cancer care

Create a plan for cancer care

With 1 in 3 women and 1 in 2 men being diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime, there are many of us who are caring for someone with cancer. The Empowered Patient has released their cancer caregiver’s guide.

The guide shows how to

  • create a cancer care plan
  • create an emergency action plan
  • create a medication management plan
  • plan meals around chemo side effects
  • how to handle insurance and finances
  • creating advance directives
  • understanding cancer
  • dealing with a terminal diagnosis

You can download the guide as a PDF.

Thanksgiving moments: Coming of age in unsteady times

Thanksgiving moments: Coming of age in unsteady times

Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. Most years when I was a kid, we packed up the station wagon and drove north to central Maine, where my dad’s cousin and her family lived in a rambling farmhouse surrounded by wooded acres and winding roads. The kitchen was open and inviting, with brick-red linoleum and kitschy pine cabinets. Us kids were shooed outside to play for long hours at a time, then welcomed back in with mugs of hot cider and the warmth of the wood stove filling the family room. At night, we were tucked into narrow twin beds under the eaves, toasty beneath the down comforters and heavy piles of wool blankets, our noses perpetually chilled as they poked out into the frost-edged air. The food, too, was wonderful. Sideboards groaned under platters of roast vegetables and green beans, a huge turkey and cranberry orange relish.

a mug of apple cider with lemon and cinnimonThere were always more pies than we could eat; the only thing that connects the members of my gnarled family tree being our sweet tooth. In those days, Thanksgiving was a time when grudges were temporarily swept under the rug and tempers cooled. It was all care and nourishment, adjectives that didn’t define my suburban childhood, especially in my middle school years when my parents’ marriage began to crumble.

Fast forward to my freshman year at Tufts University. My mother had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer– the disease that felled her father in just a few short months– just two months earlier, and rather than pushing the boundaries of my newly liberated college life, I was driving home every couple of weeks to take my mom (who by then lived alone) to chemotherapy, do her food shopping and a few loads of laundry and deliver rounds of medications from the pharmacy before turning around to head back to school again.

Come November, while the rest of my classmates eagerly caught planes and trains home for Thanksgiving, homesick and ready for some doting, I packed up my rusty old Volvo sedan and drove the three and a half hours back to New York full of dread and fret, anger and resentment. Most of all, I felt scared.

Mom was sick. So sick. Thanksgiving was a holiday my older brother and I usually spent with our dad, but that year I decided to stay home with mom. Her best friend was going to come and prepare a small meal, and insisted I could go spend the holiday with my father, but I was hell-bent on being near mom. Every moment I was away from her felt like an eternity, a tick closer towards the possibility of losing her. Always a robust, feisty woman with thick calves and hands calloused from handling a garden hoe, I had watched in disbelief as chemo had quickly withered her and turned her sallow. Her skin seemed to hang from her bones, and the fierceness had gone from her blue eyes. She had lost control of her body, and in turn, I felt I was losing control of everything. I was grasping at straws, looking for some way to be of use, a strong a sudden maternal urge taking hold of me. Thanksgiving, I felt, was going to be my test. I had never cooked the meal before, only helped out in a bustling relative’s kitchen as a team each manned their station, pulling together a glorious feast. This year, I would helm the ship.

The kitchen of my childhood home, where my mom still lives, felt sallow itself that Thanksgiving, with its faded yellow linoleum and tall, peeling cabinets. The house was quiet. Mom passed the gray November day in a string of naps on the family room couch, occasionally calling weakly for some juice or a popsicle. I fussed about in the kitchen, having picked up familiar-feeling ingredients from the market. I wasn’t much of a cook yet in those days, and hadn’t moved much beyond chocolate chip cookies and a decent stir fry. I certainly had never roasted a whole bird or pulled off a multi-course meal.

Mary Lynn, my mom’s best friend, agreed to take charge of the small turkey while I got to work on the vegetables. Nothing fancy, I decided. Mom, in all likelihood, wouldn’t eat much anyway. I used mom’s vanilla-stained recipe card to make an apple pie. While it cooled on the butcher block, I got to work on the roots and squash. I sliced a bulbous butternut in half and scooped its seeds and strings free with a grapefruit spoon. I peeled and quartered a couple of onions and added several whole cloves of garlic to the mix. Then there were the potatoes. Blue ones and waxy yellow ones and a few late red new potatoes too. I scrubbed them all, rubbed them dry, then tossed all the vegetables together in a well-loved red roasting pan with plenty of salt and pepper. As they roasted and filled the kitchen with a sweet, nutty aroma, I sauteed the beans and sprinkled them with roasted almonds and lots of butter. I felt able. My body, which had tensed into a seemingly permanent ball of tension, relaxed gently into the movements of rinsing, peeling and chopping. Washing dishes under the faucet’s scalding outpouring reminded me how much sensation I could still feel.

We finally set the table as the last of the light faded from the sky, and mom shuffled, weakly, to the dining room table. I was proud of my spread, and full of hope that the culinary proof of her daughter’s hard work would motivate her to eat. I started to pile a plate high with food.  She insisted I take some away. I gulped back the lump that rose quick and hard in my throat.

We began to eat. The food tasted good to me, but it was hard to focus; neither Mary Lynn nor I could keep our eyes off my mother, who pushed her food around on her plate, barely eating. After a mere half hour, she apologized and said she needed to return to the couch. Sitting up had worn her out. Mary Lynn and I both fought tears as she made her way back slowly to her cushioned perch. We finished eating in silence. I didn’t feel Thankful for anything. Instead I felt defeated, angry and frustrated, as though the whole world had wronged me, wronged us. I wished with everything I had that Thanksgiving could once again could be effortless and cozy, that my family was whole and my mother well again.

Now, Thanksgiving’s upon us again. Many years and many holidays have come and gone. My mother is no longer with us. She succumbed to her disease after a nearly four-year battle. She was tough as nails. Three years after her death, we lost my dad too, swiftly and brutally. Lymphoma. There have been stretches of months where I’ve felt utterly cheated, like my life was drained of hope, faith and family before I ever had a chance to find my footing as an adult. I miss my parents each for very different reasons, and I miss both of them every day. But when I hover over those years of illness and grief in memory now, I see clearly that there’s much to be grateful for. My relationship with my parents during those years showed me how to take care of other humans, what it meant to be accountable to family, and how to develop a practice– for me, cooking– from which I can harvest strength and purpose in times of exhaustion and loss of control.

That first Thanksgiving, with my mom sick and my whole being wrought with fear, I was beginning to learn how to feed myself and the people I loved. I began to understand what it meant to feed at all: to sustain, to nurture, to give life. I began to match skill to need and care to suffering. It was the start of food and cooking becoming central to my life, my sense of self, and my way of making myself feel steady when the world felt as though it was falling out from under me. My mom may not have eaten much of what I prepared for her that first year I was acting as caregiver, but in times of bleakness and fear, the kitchen slowly became my venue for defiant living, a place where, by teaching myself to turn out simple, nourishing meals, I could fiercely declare that I, that we, were still alive, and taking care of one another as best we could. And for that, I’m thankful.

Simple Roasted Fall Vegetables, for Thanksgiving (or Anytime)

a sack of white potatoes and a crate of potatoes of different colorsThis recipe is flexible and can adapt to whatever autumnal vegetables you may have on hand. If I have time to search out ingredients, I like a mixture of colors and textures; potatoes will crisp at the edges while whole garlic cloves and squash will soften and become silky. Blue potatoes make for a nice shock of color, a beautiful, sensual reminder of how quirky nature’s tastes can be. Use whatever you have on hand. This recipe easily doubles for a crowd, but you’ll need more pans. Just be sure your vegetables are on a single layer on the bottom of the pan or they’ll steam instead of roasting evenly.

1 lb blue potatoes

1 head garlic

2 delicata squash, or 1 medium butternut squash

2 red or yellow onions

olive oil (not extra virgin)

kosher salt and fresh black pepper

2 9×13” roasting dish(es)

Preheat the oven to 475 and position racks near the center of the oven.

Scrub the potatoes with a vegetable brush under cool running water. If you don’t have a brush, rub them vigorously with your hands to remove any dirt. Dry them well with a tea towel or several paper towels. Chop into cubes, roughly 1” square. Toss in a mixing bowl with enough olive oil so each potato glistens and several large pinches of salt and fresh pepper. Spoon into a roasting pan with a slotted spoon. If there is extra oil at the bottom of the bowl, keep both the bowl and the oil– you’ll use it for the squash.

Wash the squash. If using delicata, slice in half lengthwise and use a spoon to remove the seeds. Slice crosswise in 1” thick strips, leaving skin on. If using a butternut squash, use a knife or vegetable peeler to remove the skin, then slice into 1” strips.

Peel and quarter the onions. Peel garlic cloves.

Toss squash, garlic and onion quarters. in the same bowl, adding more olive oil as needed so each strip is lightly coated. Use the same slotted spoon as before to remove the vegetables to the second roasting pan.

Roast all the vegetables until the potatoes are lightly browned at the edges and the squash have turned fork-tender. Check at 20 minutes, then every 10 minutes thereafter, shaking potatoes around in their pan from time to time.

Serve hot.

Quick and healthy snacks

Quick and healthy snacks

Let’s be honest here — I’m no gourmet chef. Sure, on the weekends my wife and I love to host friends for brunch and put together a beautiful spread, but most of the time I’m a very utilitarian cook. Here’s how I throw things together quickly while getting approval from my nutritionist:

Fresh and delicious

avocado toast

Have time to hit the store on your way home? Try these ideas.

  • A slice of avocado on toast with a little pepper is delicious and satisfying
  • Slices of tomato with a sprinkle of olive oil, feta cheese, or basil
  • Yogurt topped with seeds and fruit is a great treat, just watch out for hidden sugar
  • Cantaloupe can be eaten alone or part of a delicious fruit salad
  • I slice up tortillas, drizzle them with oil and bake them for chips that are fast and a little healthier

baggies full of nutsOn the go

You’re hungry and in a rush. Toss these in your bag for later.

  • Grab a banana and you’re on your way
  • Pack a bag full of edamame
  • Peanut butter pretzels don’t seem very healthy, but they’re great at keeping me from getting hangry
  • I love the sweetness and satisfying crunch of baby carrots
  • Peanuts and dried fruit are tasty and packed with protein

roasted chick peas in a bowlSafe to stock up on

We’ve all come home ravenous with hunger only to realized we haven’t gone grocery shopping in weeks. All is not lost.

  • Popcorn is healthy and delicious; I love to add a little spice
  • Keep some shrimp in your freezer for a fancy snack
  • Bagel from the freezer + tomato sauce + spices is totally acceptable as a mini pizza
  • White bean spread – if you have a can of white beans, spices, and a stove, you’re all set
  • Roasted chick peas – same as above, but a can of chick peas

kale on a baking sheet ready to go into the ovenEasy recipes

Online recipes manage to make everything as complicated as possible. Here are a few that stick with the basics.

Marriage and the kitchen sink

Marriage and the kitchen sink

a package of frozen chickenThere are few things that get my dad riled up, but there are two things that really get to him: artificially ripened tomatoes and defrosting chicken in the sink. There it would sit, package torn open, in the kitchen sink. Summer and winter. Regardless of whatever else we were using the sink for. In 30 years of marriage, my father failed to convince my mother to defrost the chicken by placing it, in the original packaging with a pan underneath, in the refrigerator the night before. She was not impressed by his statistics or his logic. She had her way of doing things and she stuck to it.

By the time I was in college, my father had more or less become a vegetarian. My roommate at the time was a microbiology major and even though I, too, was not going to eat the chicken in question, I couldn’t sit idly by while my mother broke every food safety rule. Using the same plastic cutting board with a quick rinse in-between. The year-old sponge was used to wash the dirty counters and our dishes. I wasn’t going to be eating the chicken, but I was going to be eating the chicken germs. I’d been reading non-stop about antibiotic resistant plagues and outbreaks of food poisoning and couldn’t understand why my obsessively clean mother was not swayed by my statistics and horror stories. There’s probably a hunk of frozen chicken in my mom’s kitchen sink right now.

I recall being sick to my stomach a lot as a kid, but nothing serious. Nowadays, I’m virtually impervious to foodborne illness. I’m also great at detecting what food is past it’s shelf life – there have been a couple times when I’ve decided I didn’t care for a dish, only to be the only one who didn’t get sick. I can’t understand how my friends can eat obviously spoiled food and trash perfectly good food by blindly following sell-by dates.

I still manage to get food poisoning once a year, usually within 72 hours of a holiday potluck. The stuff that really makes you sick is usually invisible and odorless. That’s why it’s important to keep food at the correct temperature and reheat leftovers thoroughly before eating them.

There’s always someone whose dish has been contaminated and not cooked thoroughly. Then it sits, unrefrigerated, for hours and is eaten without being reheated to a safe temperature. People will even repackage leftovers and bring them to other potlucks! I’m all about saving food, but what might give me the tummy rumbles could land someone else in the emergency room. Children, pregnant women, the elderly, and many other people have weak immune systems, putting them at serious risk for foodborne illness.

whole pork tenderloin, tomatoes, and herbs on the plastic cutting board with sharp knife

Uncooked meat should be kept apart from any food that will be consumed raw or not cooked at a high enough temperature to destroy bacteria.

Food safety basics

Wash

  • food preparation areas before and after
  • food before preparing it
  • your hands after touching anything that may be contaminated

Separate

Keep raw foods away from cooked or prepared foods

Cook

Don’t go by instinct to tell when things are cooked thoroughly. Use a food thermometer, know safe cooking temperatures, and wash the thermometer each time you use it.

Store

Know how to properly store uncooked foods and leftovers. Many foods should be refrigerated. If your fridge has collected a bunch of mystery leftovers, try implementing a labeling system so you know what’s dangerously old.

Want to learn more?

Join us on November 20th at 8PM EST to learn about food safety and get your questions answered by the experts at Meals to Heal. Register today!

 give thanks and stay healthy: turkey day

 

How to clean as you cook

How to clean as you cook

The best part of cooking homemade meals is, of course, getting to eat the fruits of your labor! But clean up can be such a bother, sometimes its just easier to go for the pre-made meals or, worse, fast food. By planning your cooking to minimize time, mess, and hassle you can make eating healthy so much easier! I’ll guide you through how to clean as you cook, so you can have delicious, healthy meals without a big mess at the end.

Read your recipe ahead of time and prepare what you can. Often, vegetables can be chopped up to a few days before cooking. Some ingredients, such as spices, herbs, flour, can be measured out beforehand and combined.  Look for ways to combine as many ingredients as possible in as few bowls as possible. For instance, vegetables that are to be cooked together for the same amount of time can be added to the same bowl.

Be sure to start with a clean, well-organized kitchen and an empty dishwasher. Keep your frequently used ingredients and dishware in easily accessible places. Also remember to occasionally clean out your cupboards, drawers, freezer, and refrigerator so you don’t have to dig around, emptying out entire shelves looking for what you need. Also keep the amount of clutter on your counter to a minimum to optimize counter space and prevent things from getting food splatter on them.

As you wait for your oven to warm up or water to boil, finish prepping as much as possible. Set up a wash-chop-cook chain that reduces the amount of area covered. This reduces drips as you carry food over the least amount of space. Also keep a plastic bag just for scraps and trash on the counter so you don’t have to carry waste clear across the kitchen to the trashcan. Wipe up spills as they happen to keep the kitchen clean and safe, preventing slips and falls.

Keep mess to a minimum by using as few dishes as possible. Combine ingredients and use the same bowl for cleaned vegetables. Remember food safety practices, however; keep uncooked meats separate from vegetables. Use liners like tin foil or parchment paper – clean up is simply a matter of tossing the liner out!

Retain as much space as possible by stacking dirty dishes. This helps to maintain a clean and uncontaminated workspace. While you are waiting for your meal to cook, use that time to clean up as much as possible. That way you don’t have an entire kitchen to clean after eating when you’re full and happy. If you don’t have enough time to actually wash dishes, at least rinse them to prevent food from drying, making them more difficult to clean. By doing as much as you can beforehand and cleaning as you go, you can keep your mess to a minimum and actually enjoy your healthy, homemade meal!

Trick or treat yourself: healthy hints for a Happy Halloween

Trick or treat yourself: healthy hints for a Happy Halloween

Our friends at Meals to Heal are back with another great webinar

Aimee Shea, MPH, RD, CSO, LD, will be sharing her favorite tips for how to have fun celebrating Halloween while staying safe and healthy. Tune in on October 15th at 2pm Eastern Time to join us.

Have questions for Aimee?

Send your questions to us or tweet them and include #caregivingbites.

Register for our upcoming webinar



Stay tuned to the end and you’ll get 10% off your next Meals to Heal order!

You can still watch our previous Meals to Heal webinars and enjoy our Caregiving Bites blogs.

Healthy pumpkin recipes to celebrate Autumn

Healthy pumpkin recipes to celebrate Autumn

In anticipation of this month’s webinar, Healthy Hints for a Happy Halloween, The Caregiver Space and Meals to Heal decided to share our favorite healthy pumpkin recipes with you!


Jonah, our Development Director, loves these healthy pumpkin muffins. He assures you they are packed with flavor and hard to stop at just one!

pumpkin muffinsPumpkin Muffins with Crystalized Ginger

Makes 12

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, roughly chopped

Dry
3 1/3 cups flour
2tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground ginger

Wet
1 cup canola oil
4 eggs
2/3 cup water
2 cups pureed pumpkin

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Thoroughly mix dry ingredients, in a separate bowl whisk together wet ingredients.
  2. Stir and combine wet and dry ingredients, pour in crystallized ginger bits and mix.
  3. Grease muffin tins and sprinkle with flour.
  4. Fill tins 3/4 full with batter and bake for 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Jessica Iannotta and Aimee Shea, oncology registered dietitians from Meals to Heal, often recommend this simple, easy to prepare, and nourishing soup to their cancer patients during the Fall season. It is a warm, comforting recipe packed with beta-carotene and fiber and is great for those experiencing mouth soreness or an uneasy stomach during the holidays.

pumpkin soupQuick and Easy Pumpkin Soup

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups pumpkin puree

½ cup diced onion

¼ cup diced celery

¼ cup diced carrot

½ tsp ground cinnamon

1 carton (4 cups low sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth)

 

  1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, celery and carrot until softened
  2. Add broth and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in pureed pumpkin and cinnamon and simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
  4. Puree soup with an immersion blender or transfer to a blender to blend until smooth
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve warm. May garnish with fresh thyme or rosemary or add some heavy cream for additional calories, if desired.

For more great nutrition tips for caregivers and their families that are designed to help you make healthy choices during the Halloween season, join our webinar on Wednesday October 15th at 2 pm EST. We’ll be sharing more healthy pumpkin recipes, along with a discount code for 10% off at Meals to Heal.

Healthy Hints for a Happy Halloween

Register for our upcoming webinar



Creative Combinations: integrating new and healthy foods into meals you already make

Creative Combinations: integrating new and healthy foods into meals you already make

by Corinne Easterling of Meals to Heal

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Try substituting your cereal with something lower in sugar and topping it off with fruit and nuts for flavor.

Making nutritious meals can be challenging and especially when trying to devise a new, untested recipe that is satisfying and flavorful.  We have some easy ways to improve your old favorites by using simple ingredient swaps or additions.  The next time you’re at the supermarket, toss some of these healthy options in your cart to have on hand the next time you cook.  Our simple tips will help you to modify your favorite recipes and make the move toward better health easier and less stressful.

Boost Healthy Fats

Nuts and seeds are a great source of protein, fiber, and healthy, anti-inflammatory omega-3 fats.  They also make a great addition to pretty much anything!  Try sprinkling them into your oatmeal, over salads, blended into smoothies, mixed into baked goods – the possibilities are endless!  Chia seeds are also hydrophilic, meaning they draw in water and become gelatinous and can be used to naturally thicken soups, gravy, and sauces.

Get More Fruits and veggies

Most any fruit can be added to your breakfast cereal or favorite yogurt for an antioxidant boost.  If you have toast in the morning, try topping it with nut butter and fiber-rich bananas instead of butter or try low-fat ricotta cheese with fresh berries.  For lunch, avocado can be a healthier alternative to mayonnaise on your sandwiches and sure to add plenty of leafy greens as well.  For dinner, chopped vegetables can lighten up most any recipe, but if you didn’t grow up a veggie-lover, you can lessen their taste by pureeing and stirring into sauces and soups.  Chopped or pureed mushrooms can replace a portion or all of the meat in a recipe without lessening the hearty taste.

Opt for Whole grains

Choose whole-wheat products for its ample fiber and B vitamins and don’t forget to look at the label to be sure that whole wheat is the first ingredient.  Also try substituting all or a portion of your usual all-purpose flour with whole-wheat flour.  Ground oatmeal can also be mixed into ground meat or substituted for all-purpose flour.

Increase Fiber

Beans, peas, and lentils are abundant in fiber and protein and can conveniently be added to any soup or stew.  Lentils can be used as a substitute for meat and peas are great mixed in with mashed potatoes.  Did you also know you could even puree beans and use in place of butter in cookies, cakes and brownies?  You may need to refer to a recipe in order to know how much butter could be exchanged for bean puree, but this substitution could help lower your cholesterol by preventing excess saturated fat intake and contributing to the excretion of cholesterol from the body as it becomes trapped in indigestible fiber.

Lower Saturated Fat

In addition to the might substitution and alterations listed above, you can lower your saturated fat intake simply by selecting leaner cuts of meat.  Lower fat ground turkey or chicken can be used in place of ground beef and there are also healthier versions of sausage and bacon made from poultry rather than pork.  Sirloins and round steaks of beef generally have less marbling and therefore less artery-clogging saturated fats; porterhouse, T-bone, rib-eye, filet mignon, and strip steaks are the fattier cuts that you should limit as much as possible. No matter the cut, trim as much excess fat away as possible.

When preparing meat, oven frying can drastically reduce the fat typically associated with deep frying.  Try to use olive oil instead of butter to simultaneous cut back on saturated fats and increase your healthy, unsaturated fat intake.  Baking, grilling, roasting, sautéing, and poaching are also tasty, lean options of preparing meats and poultry.

If appropriate, you may also want to consider substituting seafood.  Fish are very high in protein and rich in healthy, anti-inflammatory fats.  Fish is delicious used in seafood, pasta, salad and even on burgers and sandwiches!

Select lower fat dairy options – instead of buying whole milk, opt for 2%, 1% or skim and look out for low or non-fat yogurts and cheeses.

Cut Back on Salt

The easiest way to reduce your sodium intake is by avoiding processed foods.  Processed foods can be a tremendous source of sodium and added sugar in your diet and so should be eaten in moderation.  Consuming too much salt can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.   Look for low sodium sauces and seasonings when possible and experiment with adding lemon juice, different herbs and spices, onions, garlic, vinegar, or hot peppers to add flavor without sodium.  Lemon juice is a rich source of Vitamin C while onions and garlic boast a wide variety of healthy benefits.

Reduce Added Sugars

Select the healthier versions of your favorite cereal if possible and add fresh fruit to sweeten.  Select unflavored yogurt and add in your own fruit or drizzle in honey so you know how much sweetened is in it.  Try fresh squeezed or look for “No Sugar Added” labels on the juices in your local grocery.

Creative yet simple substitutions and swaps can take your favorite recipe from indulgence to nutritious meal.  Get creative and don’t be afraid to experiment!


Corinne Easterling is a Project Manager at Meals to Heal. She is a graduate in Nutrition and Food Studies, with a concentration in Nutrition and Dietetics. She started at Meals to Heal as an intern while receiving her Bachelor’s degree from New York University.  She continues to assist the Meals to Heal team in maintaining the website and other day-to-day activities, as well as volunteering part-time.  She will be continuing her education to become a Registered Dietitian at Leeds Metropolitan University in the Fall.

Quick caregiver meals: healthy, fun, fast and cheap

Quick caregiver meals: healthy, fun, fast and cheap

Start yourself off on the right foot each morning by selecting a healthy breakfast — it gives you the energy and nutrition that a caregiver needs to start the day!

When selecting a healthy breakfast, look for options that contain fiber, lean protein, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy sources of fat. Fiber is found in complex carbohydrates such as oats, whole wheat, and other whole grains. Lean protein includes low-fat dairy, eggs, and lean meats. Healthy sources of fat include nuts and seeds, avocados, seafood, and certain oils. Be sure to choose healthy, natural ingredients as the processed versions of quick breakfasts often contain excessive amounts of sodium and sugar.

As a carer with limited time on your hands, these guidelines may sound too complicated and time-consuming.

If you have a plan (and a backup plan), however, it can be quite simple and that is why we are here to help! It’s always a good idea to try to plan your meals so you have all the necessary ingredients ahead of time, but it is also great to have some grab-and-go and/or frozen options for those mornings when the snooze button gets the better of you. To save you time and money, we’ve gathered some quick, affordable, easy, and delicious breakfast options!

If you have more time to spend making a healthy breakfast, try:

  • Vegetable Frittata – eggs are a complete protein that helps to keep you fuller for longer. Antioxidant and fiber-full vegetables, such as spinach, tomato, and mushroom can be quickly tossed in, or if you have any cooked vegetables left over from dinner the night before, you can add them as well.
  • Avocado and egg toast – instead of your normal toast with butter and jam, try topping it instead with a fresh, mashed avocado and a fried egg. Be sure to use whole wheat toast (100% whole wheat should be the first ingredient on the list) for added fiber and B vitamins.
  • Oatmeal – If you have the time, it is definitely worth it to make your oatmeal from scratch. You can flavor it with different fruits and nuts each day as well as control the amount of sweetener you use.
  • Breakfast sandwich – Fill a whole wheat pita or whole wheat English muffin with scrambled eggs, and sliced tomatoes, avocado or low-fat cheese, and any other vegetable or lean meat of your choice.

If you have less time and need a quicker breakfast option, try:

  • Fruity Smoothie – Just toss your favorite fruit, yogurt, and other healthy ingredients into a blender. You can even save time by chopping and measuring everything before-hand and storing in the freezer; the morning you want to make the smoothie, simply throw them all into the blender!
  • Yogurt Parfait – Plain, greek yogurt is creamy, delicious, and high in protein. Fresh sliced fruit or granola can be added to make it a more balanced breakfast. Tip: make your own granola beforehand – there are plenty of healthy recipes you can find online and it is so easy and affordable!
  • Almond butter toast/waffles – Spread almond butter on your favorite whole grain toast or waffles and top with sliced fruit.
  • Breakfast burrito – Smear your favorite breakfast spread (almond butter, low-fat ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, or cream cheese) on a whole grain wrap or tortilla, add sliced fruit or vegetables, roll up and enjoy! You can also make a more traditional breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, black beans, pico de gallo, and low-fat cheese.

If you just need to grab and go in the morning, try:

  • Overnight oats – In a small mason jar or Tupperware, combine C rolled oats ,1 ½ Tbsp chia seeds, 1 tsp cinnamon, and 1 C almond milk. The next morning, enjoy as is or toss in some fresh fruit and you’re on your way! This recipe can be made up to four days in advance.
  • Homemade granola bars – Find a healthy recipe and make your own granola bars at home – its cost effective and simple.   On mornings when you just don’t have much time, you can just grab one and go.
  • Baked oatmeal squares – This is what happens when you cross oatmeal with granola bars – chewy goodness. Try this recipe and cut and wrap individual portions ahead of time.
  • Other quick ideas:
    • Premade high-fiber muffins and mini quiche (though they cannot be stored for very long)
    • Hard boiled eggs can be made and kept in the refrigerator for days at a time
    • Bananas and apples are easy fruits to take with you and eat on the go
    • Yogurt and a disposable spoon can travel easily as well.

We hope these ideas will inspire you to start you morning in a healthy way. Bon Appetit!


As Project Manager at Meals to Heal, Corinne Easterling assists in managing the blog and social media initiatives. She is a graduate in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and a part-time caregiver. She hopes to continue her education and become a Registered Dietitian to help people with serious diseases manage their nutritional needs.

When your loved one refuses to eat what you’ve prepared

When your loved one refuses to eat what you’ve prepared

Photo credit: Meg

As a caregiver to someone in treatment for cancer or other chronic diseases, the desire to help and to make life easier for them becomes an overwhelming passion. The focus on diet and nutrition is often the target because it is more controllable than other aspects of cancer treatment. How many times have you thought of a great meal idea that you are sure will be tasty and pleasing, gone grocery shopping, prepared the recipe and made a nice presentation for your loved one, and then hear from them,

“I just can’t eat that.”

They are going through so many physical, emotional and mental side effects from their cancer journey that they probably can’t even tell you why they can’t eat something you’ve taken time to prepare. Below are strategies that I have learned from caregivers and people dealing with cancer treatment on developing the best relationship to meal times and food.

Improve the way you and your loved one are thinking

  • Many times, the loved one that is ill was the family member that did the shopping and food preparation. Think and discuss ways that your new role as the caregiver can change to meet the needs of your loved one.
  • As a caregiver, remember that your loved one still wants to feel in control of their situation. Ask questions and keep the communication open. Becoming forceful, pushy and demanding can lead to contention and resistance. When your loved one doesn’t partake in mealtimes, ask what they think would be most helpful. If they don’t have any suggestions, try some of the strategies below.
  • Keep your thoughts and the comments you make positive. Boosting the motivation to eat and maintain nutritional intake can happen with positivity and loving support.
  • Try your best to understand see their perspective. Talk with them about it, if they are willing. Prepare yourself mentally that your loved one could have many changes in their food preferences, taste and eating abilities.
  • Be aware that many people undergoing cancer treatment eat smaller amounts of food and often eat more comfort-type foods instead of nutritious choices. Be supportive of their choices.
  • Do not allow yourself to obsess about numbers. Monitoring weight, calorie intake or other nutrients can cause unnecessary worry and increase conflict. Focus on providing a positive attitude, love and support.

Strategies to improve overall nutritional intake

  • Serve food in small portions and use smaller dishes or cups. Large portions can appear very overwhelming and can often diminish an already small appetite. Strive to offer small portions of food more frequently throughout the day.
  • Try to engage your loved one in social eating. Many people dealing with cancer treatment find themselves eating alone, which can make eating less enjoyable. Have food available when people visit and encourage your loved one to partake.
  • If you are working during the day and your loved one is home alone, prepare food and beverage options that are quick and easy. Use a cue, like an alarm, to remind them to eat and/or drink. Call throughout the day to provide encouragement.
  • Make meal times more appealing by eating in new locations around the house. Set up a meal outside on the patio, enjoy a picnic together or have a candlelight dinner in the dining room.
  • Make the meal look appetizing by adding garnishes, colorful choices and trying new recipes. If your loved one is consuming a texture modified diet, like a mechanical soft or pureed diet, ask them to try flipping through a cooking magazine while eating. The colorful, appealing pictures may boost their appetite.
  • Keep food prepared, in view and easily accessible on the counter, coffee table or at eye level in the refrigerator. When our loved ones don’t have an appetite, food is rarely on their mind, but they are more likely to remember to eat when food is in view.
  • Many people dealing with treatment are unable to eat their favorite foods because of different side effects that they are experiencing. Try new and different foods that may appeal to them.
  • If you notice that your loved one eats best at a particular time of day, focus on providing the most nutrition at that time. Increase the calories and protein content by adding cheese, whole milk, sour cream, eggs, butter, salad dressings, nut butters, healthy oils and oral nutrition supplements.
  • Always practice safe food handling techniques. Cancer treatments can inhibit an individual’s immune system and people undergoing treatment are at an increase risk of food borne illness. If you question the freshness or quality of a food, throw it out.
  • Lastly, take care of yourself! Being a caregiver is very important and everything you do, no matter how small, makes a huge impact. If you are not eating, drinking, sleeping and getting time for yourself then you will not be at your best. If you become ill, depressed or overwhelmed, the burden of caregiving can get to you, and you won’t be able to provide care.

Use these tips to become an effective caregiver and help improve the relationship to meal times and food of your family member who is going through cancer treatment.

picture of angela hummel from meals to healAngela Hummel’s passion to help people with cancer has developed from learning the nutritional demands of cancer and seeing the improvement that nutritional modification can provide. 

She is a registered dietitian and certified specialist in oncology nutrition and studied nutrition at Central Michigan University, where Angela completed her bachelor’s degree, dietetic internship, and master’s degree. Angela is part of the clinical team at Meals to Heal, where she counsels people on oncology nutrition issues and contributes to clinical their website and other Meals to Heal content.

The Caregiver’s Kitchen: How to Prevent Food Borne Illness

The Caregiver’s Kitchen: How to Prevent Food Borne Illness

Preparing meals for a cancer patients is a stressful process: making healthy, appetizing foods that appeal to their changing tastes can be difficult.

Caregivers also have practice safe food handling in order to prevent food-borne illness. Believe it or not, it does not have to be overwhelming – there is an easy place to start!

Have you ever heard the phrase: Clean – Separate – Cook – Chill?

This process ensures safe food handling by washing your hands and surfaces often, separating raw meats from other foods, cooking food to the right temperature, and refrigerating promptly.  It can seem daunting, but arranging your kitchen appropriately and making sure you have the necessary tools for safe food handling can make the process a little bit easier.

Check out our tips for optimizing your kitchen and streamlining the safe food handling process!

Clean

Before you begin cooking, make sure your kitchen is clean and free of clutter. Your kitchen should have:

  • Clean dish clothes and dish towels. These should be changed daily to prevent them from contaminating clean dishes.  If you use sponges, be sure to replace them weekly. Sponges can also be easily sterilized by microwaving wet for two minutes.
  • Clean surfaces.  A sanitizing solution can be mixed by adding two teaspoons of chlorine bleach to one quart of water – use this to wipe down surfaces, then rinse with clean water and allow to air dry.
  • Multiple clean cutting boards.  If you will be making a meal that requires both raw meat and raw vegetables, these should be prepared on separate cutting boards to prevent cross contamination.
  • Food thermometer.  For certain dishes, it is wise to actually check the temperature of the food to ensure it has reached an appropriate level to prevent foodborne illnesses.
  • Hand soap.  Believe it or not, the most important food safety practice is hand washing! Whether using hand sanitizer or plenty of soap and water, try to “wash” your hands for at least 20 seconds. Wash your hands before each step of the food preparation process.

Separate

With a fully prepared kitchen, you are now ready to begin prepping your food.  Be sure to read through the recipe all the way at least once.  Have all the tools and equipment ready in the order you will need them.  This keeps you from having to search through cabinets or drawers with unclean hands midway through. Prepare your meats closer to the stove or pan where you will be cooking them so you won’t have to carry raw meat across the kitchen and potentially drop or contaminate other foods or clean areas.  Prepare your vegetables closer to the sink. Water dripping from washed produce could potentially contaminate other foods or clean surfaces.  Be sure to wash all fruits and vegetables thoroughly – either under running water, soaked in clean water for 1-2 minutes, or scrubbed with a clean produce brush (if produce is firm or has a thick skin).  Produce can be dried with a clean dish towel or paper towels (just remember to replace your dish towel with a clean one before drying any dirty dishes).

Cook

FDA chart of safe cooking temperaturesAfter separately preparing your meats and produce, you now have to cook them! For cancer patients with compromised immune systems, it is particularly important to prevent foodborne illnesses.  Cooking foods to the safe, appropriate temperatures ensures that any contaminants are destroyed. Know the right temperatures!

Chill

It is equally important to chill and store your leftovers at the safe appropriate temperatures.  Cooked foods should be cooled to an internal temperature of 41ºF within 4 hours and cooking. Set your refrigerator between 34ºF and 40ºF  and your freezer between -2ºF and 0ºF to ensure your food is being stored at a safe temperature.  For large leftovers, such as your Thanksgiving turkey, it may wise to break down leftovers into smaller portions so that the chilling and reheating can be done quicker and easier.

Planning and organizing your kitchen before cooking safeguards you and your family against foodborne illnesses while also making it easier to prepare healthy, nourishing meals for you and your loved one!

 

portrait picture of the author corrine easterlingAs Project Manager at Meals to Heal, Corinne Easterling assists in managing the blog and social media initiatives. She is a graduate in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and a part-time caregiver. She hopes to continue her education and become a Registered Dietitian to help people with serious diseases manage their nutritional needs.

Supermarket Hacks: Caregivers – spend less money on healthier food

Supermarket Hacks: Caregivers – spend less money on healthier food

As a caregiver, it is just as important to focus on good nutrition for yourself as it is for your loved one.

Often this task can be overwhelming – but there is a simple place to start. Healthful eating starts when you are shopping in the supermarket. How often do you leave the supermarket with much more than you intended to buy going in?

It’s important to grocery shop with a plan: make an organized list and have some food in your stomach when you leave the house. If you go into the supermarket hungry or on a whim, you’re more likely to give in to food cravings and purchase unhealthy convenience foods. Planning your meals ahead of time and making an inventory of what you have in your kitchen will help give you an idea of what you still need to buy. Make a shopping list organized into sections, this way you can easily navigate the supermarket without being lured into buying processed foods as you wind through the aisles.

For the most part, you will want to stay around the perimeter of the supermarket.

This is where you will find the fresh, healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, seafood, poultry, and low-fat dairy. Try buying produce a few days before ripe; this will ensure fruits make it home safe and unbruised and won’t over-ripen if unused for a few days. Also experiment with seasonal fruits and veggies. Since there is usually an abundance of seasonal produce and it requires less transit time to arrive on the shelf at your local grocery store, these fruits and veggies tend to be less expensive and fresher!

Make smart use of the freezer section where healthy foods are frozen at the peak of freshness.

Buying frozen fruit, veggies, seafood, and lean meats can be a convenient way to have fresh, healthy food on hand whenever you need it. Buying frozen can also be a less expensive way of getting your favorite fish or out-of-season produce in your balanced diet. Include more plant-foods in your diet, which are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and cancer-fighting antioxidants. When shopping the aisles, look out for easy-to-use plant proteins, such as seeds, nuts, dried or canned beans, and lentils. Replace your usual refined carbohydrates with a variety of fiber-rich whole grains. Whole-wheat pasta, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, barley, and bulgur are some of the many whole-grain options available. Also be sure to stock up on flavorful fresh or dried herbs and condiments (look for low-sodium varieties) to season you healthy dishes with.

Finally, use your label reading skills! Don’t trust the front of the package.

Those health claims are often just there to entice you to buy it. Look at the list of ingredients and be sure you know what you’re buying. As long as you pay attention to where you are going and what you are buying, you’ll be supermarket savvy caregiver! The do’s and don’ts of supermarket shopping don’t have to be overwhelming – if you stick to the perimeter and aim for a colorful shopping cart you are on the right track!

As Project Manager at Meals to Heal, Corinne Easterling assists in managing the blog and social media initiatives. She is a graduate in Nutrition and Food Studies from New York University and a part-time caregiver. She hopes to continue her education and become a Registered Dietitian to help people with serious diseases manage their nutritional needs.

Introducing Meals to Heal and Susan Bratton: A Saving Grace for Caregivers and their Patients

It’s our pleasure to introduce and formally welcome Susan Bratton, CEO and founder of Meals to Heal, a healthy meal delivery service designed for cancer patients and caregivers alike. Through our joint partnership you can now look forward to a host of new content aimed at educating you, the caregiver about nutrition, healthy eating practices and more.

Ms. Bratton began Meals to Heal after she was affected by a dear friend who was diagnosed with cancer. She saw what he went through and through her own research and observations, came to realize how the stresses that disease brings to both the patient and the caregiver, often distract us from focusing on the healthy diet we all need to sustain us through challenging times. Without proper nutrition she discovered, significant weight loss or weight gain, weakened immune system and depression often follow suit.

Meals to Heal has been Ms. Bratton’s proactive effort to lighten the load of patients and caregivers who don’t have the time or energy by providing education and nutritionally balanced fresh meals delivered across the country, right to their doors. I encourage those who relate and wrestle with consistently putting nutritious meals on the table to explore Meals to Heal as a service to support your own health and free up time and energy so you can focus on the other important parts of your life.

At The Caregiver Space, you can now look forward to nutrition focused articles each month, and an upcoming webinar led by an oncology nurse to discuss in length: healthy diet and self-care practices with plenty of time to answer your questions too.

Stay tuned for more great things from this new partnership with Meals to Heal!

 

 

Caregivers, Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Proper Nutrition

Caregivers, Here’s Everything You Need to Know About Proper Nutrition

What better way to head into the holiday season than with some strategies to help you achieve more optimal nutrition. Nutrition plays an important role in a caregiver’s life, not only to reduce the risk chronic disease, but to maintain optimal health, well-being, and strength to support and care for a loved one.

The benefits of proper nutrition include

  • A healthy heart. A heart healthy diet can lower your risk of heart disease.
  • Strong bones and teeth. Dietary calcium helps prevent bone loss.
  • More energy. Balanced nutrition allows you to maintain steady blood sugar and energy levels.
  • Weight control. It is important to be aware of caloric intake and balance it with energy expenditure for weight management.

Here’s where to start

  1.  Always start off your day off right by eating a healthy breakfast. Many people do not have appetite when they wake up in the morning, but it is the most important meal of the day since it will help you keep energized throughout the day – the energy required to carry out the tasks of a caregiver. In order to maintain this energy, eat healthy snacks, such as fresh fruits or nuts that are full of nutrients that your body needs. Avoid highly processed foods and snacks that are loaded with preservatives and sugar, including sugary drinks. They are sources of empty calories and will not provide you with sustained energy.
  2. Learn how to read and understand the nutrition labels. Pay attention to them whenever you are buying groceries. Many food labels can be deceiving, so it is important to pay attention to the ingredients list as well to ensure you are purchasing a healthy food.
  3. Make mealtime enjoyable. Meal times are great opportunities to get together with your family and friends, which makes it a perfect time to talk about healthy eating and to share your knowledge about nutrition. Maintaining a healthy relationship with food is the key to a healthy lifestyle.
  4. Make healthier food choices by making simple changes.

Herbs-on-porcelain-spoons-Caregivers-Here’s-Everything-You-Need-to-Know-About-Proper-Nutrition

Here are some suggestions for each food group

Proteins

  • Limit how much processed meat and red meat you eat.
  • Choose fish, poultry, or beans instead of red meat.
  • Include more plant proteins like beans lentils, and nuts.
  • Use healthy cooking methods, such as baking, broiling, or poaching.

Vegetables and Fruits

  • Eat at least 5 servings of a variety of non-starchy vegetables and fruits per day.
  • Include a variety at every meal and for snacks.
  • Emphasize whole fruits and vegetables.
  • Limit creamy sauces, dressings, and dips.

Grains

  • Eat whole grains and/or legumes with every meal.
  • Choose whole-grained breads, pasta, and cereals.
  • Brown rice instead of white rice.
  • Limit intake of high-sugar foods.

Dairy

  • Choose low-fat or non-fat dairy products whenever possible.

To learn about nutrition for cancer patients, take a look at our HEAL Well: A Cancer Nutrition Guide. It will provide you with information about basic nutrition and diet for cancer patients. It also provides some answers to how you can manage eating-related difficulties that may occur while you are caring for a cancer patient.


Resources

“ACS Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity.” ACS Guidelines for Nutrition and Physical Activity. N.p., n.d. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.

Beesley, V.L., Prince, M.A., Webb, P.M. (2010). Loss of Lifestyle: Health Behaviour and Weight Changes after Becoming a Caregiver of a Family Member Diagnoses with Ovarian Cancer. Support Care in Cancer 19.2(2011): 1949-1956

Ennis, Edel, and Brendan P. Bunting. “Family Burden, Family Health and Personal Mental Health.” BMC Public Health. BioMed Central Ltd, 21 Mar. 2013. Web. 07 Nov. 2013.