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5 best kept secrets to make your cooking life easier as a carer

Are you cooking for your cared one? It's a big task, but something you just do, because you want what is best? I totally get it. So, what if I was to let you in on some secrets around cooking, convenience and goodness from a Certified Practicing Nutritionist and Carer that would make your life easier, and give you peace of mind?

I've developed a list of 5 things that satisfies just that. They're not exhaustive, they're not difficult, just simple, practical ideas that make your life easier and give you peace of mind.

1. Freezing meals for convenience

I'm all for making a big batch of something delicious, dividing into re-useable dishes, and laying it to rest for a little while in the freezer. It's a hugely convenient, and also a really safe way to store food. Did you know, it's also an excellent way to lock in the nutrients of your culinary creation until it's time to rescue it from its frozen dream?

TIP; always label the meal and date it. Send it to the compost post 3 months of freezer-land.

2. Canned plant goodness

I used to be scared of canned veggies, I think it reminded me of camp food or something. But there's honestly no need to be scared of them, they are your most humbled servant when it comes to adding convenient goodness to any meal. They are still very a competitive contestant to fresh food in the nutrient arena, as their nutrients are locked in during their processing. The only thing to watch is their salt content as this forms part of the processing into the can, especially if there's any cardiovascular issues, fluid retention, underlying issues etc. So it just means, you reach the back of the pantry for a can every now and then, not all the time.

TIP; read the label and try to always choose Aussie, or at least where that product should have originated from eg tomatoes from Italy is cool.

3. Quinoa as a nice substitute for extra protein

Rice is nice, but quinoa has thrice (the protein). See what I did there?

Yes rice is great, it's has plenty of nutrient goodness, and brown rice in particular is good for heart health and controlling blood sugar, but it doesn't pack of lot of protein. So sometimes, it's a good idea to give quinoa some time in the spotlight. Quinoa doesn't always have to be eaten like rice, like a side to a meat main meal. It likes swimming in stews and casseroles and bathing in the slow cooking goodness. So sometimes, you won't even know it's there.

TIP; always rinse quinoa first before any other preparation. It will remove naturally occurring saponin that can sometimes cause stomach upset.

4. Chia seeds for hidden goodness

Chia seeds are incredible little over-achievers, but you wouldn't know as they're size suggests otherwise. They top the class in pretty much every nutrient, vitamin and mineral. Especially, our fave, protein. And they are super clever at creating a glutinous goo when added to liquid. So throwing a tablespoon into cereal, milkshakes, smoothies or crafting a pudding is a lovely way to include them.

TIP; they are best absorbed grounded, but soaked in liquid is great too.

5. Stewed fruit to increase caloric intake

Some fruits are really difficult to eat if you're an older person. Some are really hard or chewy, and if you have dentures or swallowing problems, you have say goodbye to biting into some crunchy, sweet fruits forever. But do you?

Stewing fruits until their brains turn mushie is the best way to still enjoy many fruits and get the nutrient and caloric benefits from. Stewing in water breaks the crunchy, hardness down, maintains all the goodness and adds a bit of hydration at the same time. Then try coupling the stewed fruits up with yoghurt or ice cream and see some real magic.

TIP; try to purchase fruits that are in season to maximise goodness.

Enjoy these secrets, I hope they make your life a little easier. Yours in care in nutrition,

Megan xxx

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