food tips

This article offers tips for dealing with food, including shopping and preparation. Because everyone's circumstance is different, there is no one-size-fits-all-solution. For example, some people can only eat certain types of organic food, while others can eat a wide range of food. What I will cover here is what I've found helpful for me in the hopes that it can help some of you.

Shopping in a Market. When I first became ill I was still able to shop at the market. But I had to pace myself. I never went to two stores in one outing. And when I got home from shopping, Id only carry one load of food into my apartment. I left the rest in the trunk of my car, and brought the rest in as health allowed. And, of course, this meant I had to limit how many refrigerator items I bought in one outing. I also avoided buying too many heavy items.

In Store Pickup. I recently noticed a market that has this service. With this you tell them what you want to buy via their website and a time you want to pick it up. I assume they gather the items and bag them for you. This type of shopping is offered at albertsons.com.

Home Delivery. I can no longer do my own shopping, so now I use home delivery. I order from safeway.com. If you need organic food, search Google for organic food delivery. There are national and local services. Also, see if there are food staples you use that could be ordered from amazon.com or various sites that sell food.

Food Services. There are food preparation services like Project Angel Food and Meals on Wheels. They prepare meals for you and deliver them to your home. You will have to research if/how they apply to your situation. Ive never used them.

Restaurant Delivery. This can be very cost-effective depending on the size of the meals. And it is also possible to get fairly healthy food. For example, I order steamed vegetables and steamed chicken from a local Chinese restaurant, and the portion they send is big enough for three meals.

Food Preparation. In my case, food has to be prepared with as little standing as possible. So I bought a drafting chair, which is high enough for me to sit at the kitchen counter or sink. Even with this, I eventually realized I had to spend less time being in an upright position. So I started buying prewashed lettuce and spinach for my salads. Sometimes lunch is just an unheated can of soup, rice cakes, and some V8 juice. Or dinner might be some heated frozen veggies with a small can of chicken mixed in.

Caregiver Help. Of course, a lot the problems can be solved if you have someone to help you. A caregiver can prepare meals and shop. One of my caregivers would prepare several meals and put them in the refrigerator for use over several days. See my blog about caregivers.

If you have any tips you would like to share, please add them as replies to this blog.
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Sometimes, I have just a can of tuna or salmon and I squeeze lemon juice on it, sprinkle it with black pepper and a bit of salt and that's my lunch or dinner.

I have to do very little kitchen prep, too. I usually end up triggering the POTS lightheaded attacks if I cook. I have to be careful. When I do cook, it's one pan or one pot of something. Usually a burger helper or tacos. Tacos take more time cause I make them with tomatoes and lettuce, but if you get canned diced tomatoes and lettuce in a bag it's not too bad.
 
Sounds good, Carrigon. Here are some more quickies I use.

Salads. I buy prewashed premixed salads that have lettuce, cabbage, spinach, and carrots. I add small tomatoes so I don't have to stand and cut them. Or I have a salad delivered. The delivered salads don't meet the minimum cost to get delivery, so I add something like chicken wings and have those for the main meal. I tend to order Greek salads because of their variety. But Thai restaurants have interesting salads. Thai places are usually inexpensive too.

Canned meals. I mostly use soup, because other canned meals usually dont have vegetables. I buy Progresso because they taste less bland. Examples of what I buy are Garden Vegetable, Minestrone, Lentil, Tomato Basil, or Manhattan Clam Chowder. I usually eat these with rice cakes. Other than soup, I get canned chili made with beans and turkey. I also get canned vegetables and mix them with canned chicken.

Boxed food. Hormel makes packaged meals called Completes that dont have to be refrigerated. I cant eat these often, because they dont taste great. There is also boxed soup. The V8 brand has broccoli, squash, and some other ones.

Frozen. Of course, there is a wide range of frozen meals. I dont know why I dont use more of these. But I do keep some frozen bean burritos on hand for lunch. Easy to heat and eat. I also use frozen vegetable combos and add some canned chicken. I used to keep a bag of frozen fish pieces in the freezer and heat them up for dinner. That worked well. My mistake was eating them so often I got tired of them.

Breakfast. I used to eat oatmeal for breakfast. Easy to make. I would just add hot water from the tap to the bowl of oatmeal, then let is sit awhile. Boiled eggs can make a nice breakfast. I dont boil the water first. I start it all together and set the timer for 20 minutes (for two eggs). When done I run cold water over them while I go sit back down. The cold water makes them easier to shell. I wonder if I could simply put them in the refrigerator to do the same thing.

I have to say though, I often wonder if I would be better off looking into a service that delivers complete meals. These places will reduce cost based on income. But I also think I need to look into ways I can do a better job on my own, while still working within my range.
 
Andrew:

Thanks for the post.

Here are some additional ones I'm trying to use as I have the same issues. Although I am also trying to make my meals more nutritional so I have moved to a lot of "frozen" foods.

1) Frozen omelettes - The "Jimmy Dean" brand has frozen omelettes that are prepackaged (2 in the box), take 2 minutes to microwave and are ready.
2) Steamed vegatable bags - microwavable and ready quickly.
3) "Morning Star" brand has some more nutritional, but quick kinds of meal type snacks and lunch/dinner items. (Reffered by a friend going through Chemo)
4) V-Fusion is a drink that you only need to drink 1 glass per day to get fruits and vegetables in your diet.

I can't think of others that haven't already been mentioned.

Thanks for the tips,
K2 for Hope
 
Some good ideas Andrew, thanks for posting. I wish I could eat canned meals but almost without exception every canned soup I've looked at has autolyzed yeast extract, natural flavors, or some other hidden form of MSG. Either that, or they taste like crap. The problem is making good tasting soup takes a lot of time and these companies are all about fast and cheap. I've found I eat at Chipotle far too much; they have fresh, healthy food that is relatively affordable.
 
When I do make homemade chicken soup, which is rare for me to do now, I make a whole pot of it, so I can eat off it for a few days. But it is a big deal to make it the way I make it. And it's not cheap at all. I use a whole raw chicken, carrots, celery, parsley, onion, garlic, egg noodles, salt and pepper, water, and alittle chicken broth for flavoring. It takes a good three and a half hours or so to cook it right. But it's worth it. Right now, it's pretty much too expensive for me to do and too much of a pain. But it's healthy.
 
Here is a good one. I buy a 3-4lb turkey breast. put a little olive oil, salt, and Mrs Dash seasoning on it. Bake it for 40-50 minutes at 325 degrees F until firm. It is about $3 a pound for super good quality unprocessed meat and I make sandwiches for about a week out of it. The trick is not overcooking it to the point it dries out.

veggie scramble. eggs, green onion, zuccini, little salt and pepper and your done.
 
I can't eat at chipotle because of the noise but I stop on the way home and always get extra salsa because it's great on tuna w/mayo on rice cakes or any sandwich or omelet that needs a little zing. It's good even on broccoli. The beef barbacoa lasts me two days. Also if possible grow basil and cilantro in pots closeby. These fresh herbs help the most bland food and I feel like I've gone some where good for food. Another trick: I like ice tea but not the ton of sugar in most bottles so I put instant tea in water half way in a 28oz drinking container and add store bought natural lemonade. It has sugar but you use alot less and by the bedside it lasts all day. Breakfast is my worst, so to take pills I put a few slabs of butter in the middle of a dish surrounded by the most nutricious crackers I can buy and dab the crackers in butter to get the pills down with the tea. Butter and pills work great on the dog too.
 
Noise in restaurants is a huge problem for me. I hate places that now blast music while you're trying to eat or talk to whoever you are with. It's horrible. Alot of the places here have added video game rooms and then you get the noise from that on top. The last time I ate at Pizza Hut with my friend, all we did was complain the entire time because they had a jukebox blasting awful music while we were eating. We could barely hear each other over it. And we swore we weren't going back there again.

I mostly cook at home now. I'm tired of doing it, but at least I know what goes into the food and how it was prepared.
 
I buy hummus and instead of cooking the veggies, I just dip cucumbers in the hummus or zucchini. Saves time and you can sit and do it or sit and peal the carrots, cukes, etc.

Carrigon, you and I have the same recipe for chicken soup. I will just throw the chicken in a pot with a lot of water, let it cook and then put veggies in and set it on low. Sometimes I literally take a nap. I freeze the rest of the soup.

I always have organic turkey lunchmeat with no nitrates and make myself a sandwich. Not the worst thing in the world! It's food and I use gluten free bread.

Kefir is a good meal in the morning. Just pour it out of a bottle. I always have nuts on hand. Yogurt is great too and you can use coconut kefir or yogurt.

I use Emergen-C as a drink and it gives me vitamins.
 
Oh yeah. Something called a crock pot is easy to use. Just throw your ingredients in during the AM. 4 to 8 hrs later it's cooked. Great for tough cuts of meat, stews, and beans.

It cooks on low heat and is safe to leave the house with it on. Veggies don't get overcooked.
 
I wonder if muscian's earplugs would help folks tolerate noisy restaurants. I bought a pair a few years ago before I had to give up playing in community bands. They only block loud sounds. When the conductor was talking I could still hear him just fine.

I also use the ear plugs at home when I have a migraine. My little cockatiels high-pitched whistles can really bore into my brain at times. With the ear plugs I can still hear the radio but their cheerful calls don't hurt.
 
I was told how to get low-fat steaks cheaply, and I now do this regularly. Buy a lean roast beef cut, and then slice it however thick you want. Freeze the portions. The fat content can be very low, but it still has good protein. Sometimes it can be a little tough of course, the quality of the roast beef is still important.

I also use Lebanese breads to make quick "pizzas'. Take a wholemeal Lebanese bread, cover in tomato paste and whatever spices or topping you want, then top with reduced fat mozzarella. I usually don't bother with the oven, it only takes three minutes in my microwave.
 
Crock pots are great, but remember dried beans should be soaked overnight, and then they need to be boiled hard for at least ten minutes before adding to the crock. If you don't do this step, harmful enzymes in the beans will not be broken down, and at best you will have extra stomach pain.

Red kidney beans are the worst.
 
Been a long time since I posted on this thread. And good thing I reread it because I Forgot some of the things I used to do to make things easier. But I also came up with some new ones.

For breakfast I buy Jimmy Dean Delights breakfast sandwiches. I usually get turkey sausage and egg on croissant or chicken sausage and egg on muffin. The Delights are lower calories. And occasionally Aunt Jemima sausage and egg in a pancake sandwich. But not often. I also get Atkins bacon scramble (as in eggs) and sausage scramble.

Lunch and Dinner. I recently started using sliced meat from the deli. For lunch, I can use this in a sandwich and for dinner I can use it as a meat part of my meal. Sometimes I put barbecue sauce on it. And another new find is Tai Pei frozen Chinese meals in a box. No mixing. Just heat and eat.
 

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