Healthy eating for hospital visitors, part 2
- All the fixins for tacos: Kids love tacos. Cook up ground beef with taco seasoning or chicken strips. Cut up all the tomatoes, lettuce and onions. Shred the cheese. Put everything in individual containers. Provide hard or soft taco shells, a small container of sour cream, and perhaps a can of refried beans. All the family will have to do is reheat the meat and heat the taco shells (and maybe the beans). Easy.
- French dip sandwiches: This great slow cooker French dip recipe couldn’t be easier. I add a ¼ cup of low-sodium soy sauce to the recipe. Provide the family with a container of the sliced beef in the au jus. Add rolls (Portuguese rolls are great) and perhaps some sliced provolone or Swiss cheese. Add a salad or even cut up raw veggies as a side. Another plus to this is the recipe makes so much you’ll have enough to give and enough to keep for yourself.
- Vegetarian chili: If the family you’re providing for is vegetarian, try a chili recipe. Whip up a batch of mashed potatoes as a side. These can quickly be reheated for a comforting meal.
- Quiche: This would be a good meal for a single person or a small family. It could be a meat-free zucchini quiche or a traditional Quiche Lorraine full of ham. A green salad or a fresh fruit salad would round this out making it a light, healthy meal.
- A pot of soup: Chicken Noodle or Minestrone are healthy, comforting soups. The vegetables are already in the soup. Add crusty bread and you've got a meal.
- Call ahead and ask how much the family has leftover in the refrigerator from other meals. Maybe they just need a salad and fresh bread to go with a leftover casserole. Ask if they’d like you to provide that. If you feel like that’s cheating, bake them a plate of homemade cookies to deliver with it.
- If you can, provide your food in reused deli containers, butter tubs, etc. That way the family won’t have to worry about getting your containers back to you.
- Another question to ask is how much they’d like. We were given at least two meals worth of food with almost every drop off. It was thoughtful, but with everyone being so thoughtful, our refrigerator and freezer couldn’t handle it all. Fortunately, I passed a lot of the leftovers to my single brother who took the evening shifts at the hospital with my mom so he had something to eat when he got home. Still, some of it went to waste.
- Feel free to add a small dessert, but only enough for one serving per person.
- If there are young children in the family, and you don’t know for sure if they will like something like fish or something loaded with mushrooms, try to stay away from ingredients that kids are generally squeamish about. This isn’t the time to broaden a child’s culinary horizons. It’s a time to provide a meal that a family can sit down and enjoy without too much hassle. Stick capers in something, and you’re asking for a “do I haaaaave to eat thiiiiiis?”
Do you have any ideas for providing meals to families in situations like this?
- Part I: Why is it so tough to eat well at a hospital?
- Part III: Snacks to help hospital visitors steer clear of vending machines.
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