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Cooking & Caregiving - 4 Healthy and Easy to Make, Store, and Share Meal Ideas

Nourishing both yourself and the loved one in your care is much easier said than done. Creating wholesome, easy-to-make meals can be a challenge. Not only do you have to decide what to cook, but you also need to get the ingredients and actually make the recipe. All while providing daily, often 24/7, care.

We understand that your time is precious, and the last thing you need is the added stress of complicated recipes. In this article, we've curated a selection of easy and nutritionally balanced recipes tailored for you as a family caregiver. These recipes are not only simple to prepare but also designed to bring delicious and comforting (and storeable!) meals to your table, ensuring that both you and your loved one can enjoy nourishing food without fuss. Let's dive in and simplify your mealtime, making it a moment of joy and nourishment for everyone under your roof.

One-Pot Spinach & Tomato Pasta

Recipes that are simple, fresh, nourishing, and require only one pot? Perfect for the busy family caregiver.

This recipe has you cook the pasta right in the sauce, minimizing dishes and cook time while adding a lot more flavor to the noodles. This is also a perfect recipe for substitutions: swap out the spinach for another veggie you have on hand, or throw in something in the fridge that needs to get eaten up. As is mentioned in the full article (linked below), you can exchange white for wheat noodles for a little extra fiber, or add in leftover chicken or fish for a bit of protein.

Here’s What to Add to the Shopping List (if you don’t already have them on hand):

  • Olive oil (or swap for another you have on hand)

  • 1 onion

  • 1 head of garlic

  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can of unsalted petite diced tomatoes

  • Chicken or vegetable stock (a boxed broth or bouillon cubes)

  • Dried oregano (check your spice cabinet! Italian seasoning could work well here too)

  • Whole-wheat spaghetti or linguine if you have it, or any type of pasta you have on hand

  • Salt

  • Fresh spinach

  • Parmesan cheese (optional)

Veggie Edamame Rice Bowl

When prepping food for you and your loved one, especially if you want to meal prep (i.e., cook food that can be eaten for multiple days that week), one of the most useful tips is to prep ingredients instead of completed meals so you can mix and match all week and add new sauces/spices to switch up the flavor.

This next dish is a perfect example of the type of meal you can put together with pre-chopped veggies and pre-cooked grains (like rice, quinoa or couscous).

Here’s What to Add to the Shopping List (if you don’t already have them on hand):

  • Brown rice (or another grain you love)

  • Your favorite vegetables (like onion, broccoli, mushrooms, bell pepper, corn, etc.)

  • Edamame (pre-cooked and peeled can be found in the frozen section of your grocery store)

  • 1 avocado

  • 1 scallion (or onion)

  • Fresh cilantro

Chicken Pot Pie Soup

An easy meal to prep and store later, this chicken pot pie soup has all the comforts and satiating aspects of a chicken pot pie without the need to prep and roll out a crust. It’s truly the best of all worlds. It’s also another easy-to-adapt recipe that can lend itself well to the veggies you have on hand.

Here’s What to Add to the Shopping List (if you don’t already have them on hand):

  • Chicken or vegetable broth or bouillon cubes

  • Frozen mixed vegetables, carrots, peas, green beans, and corn

  • Rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken, or cook chicken to add to the recipe

  • Heavy cream

  • Puff pastry dough

  • All-purpose flour

  • Seasonings (you can omit if you’re missing one or two): salt, poultry seasoning, black pepper, oregano, thyme, bay leaf

  • 1 onion

  • Celery stalks

  • A small bag of potatoes (your choice)

  • 1 head of garlic

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Another easy to make, easy to store, and perfectly satisfying meal is egg salad sandwiches, or chickpea salad sandwiches (swap the 8 eggs out for 2 cans of drained and rinsed chickpeas). It’s perfect to eat alone, put on toasted bread, and share with your loved one. Here’s what you’ll need.\

Here’s What to Add to the Shopping List (if you don’t already have them on hand):

  • Eggs (the recipe calls for 8, so make sure you have enough on hand) or 2 cans of chickpeas for more fiber

  • Mayonnaise

  • Yellow mustard

  • Green onion

  • Celery finely diced

  • Fresh dill, salt and pepper

Closing Thoughts

We hope you found something inspiring in this list of caregiver meal ideas. This article focused more on savory lunch and dinner recipes, but if you’d like more ideas or sweet meal ideas (like breakfast or dessert), please let us know.

The California Caregiver Resource Center of Orange County is here to provide assistance and guidance to help you do that. Check out our library of resources to help you navigate this experience. Together, we can navigate the healthcare landscape and help you provide the best possible care for your loved one(s).

Further Reading: Fitting in Fitness: Prioritizing Wellness as a Family Caregiver

From the emotional toll of witnessing a loved one's struggle up close to the physical and mental strain of continuous care, family caregivers navigate a complicated situation each day. As such, it can be hard to prioritize the caregiver’s own health. It’s easy for it to feel secondary to their loved one’s more pressing needs. In this article, we’ll look at why focusing on your health as a caregiver matters, how you and the loved one(s) in your care can benefit from prioritizing exercise each day, and how to incorporate it into your routine. Click here to read all about it.


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