Here are some general rules for cooking. We should be especially careful cooking for elderly or vulnerable people as they are more prone to illness.
To encourage a loved one to eat make the food look and smell appealing as well as tasting good. No one wants to eat something that resembles slop. Vary the colours and textures of the foods prepared, rainbow plates can be very appealing and you may find your loved one goes specifically for one colour, or texture more often.
Always include fluids with or in meals, as dehydration can be a problem for someone with dementia.
Don’t serve large portions, you know the saying eyes bigger than stomach? Well your loved one will most certainly know, or even underestimate the size of their stomach. And a large plate of food will be intimidating.
All meals should include milk/dairy products (eating dairy products twice a day can help with osteoporosis), protein, breads/grains, fruit and veg.
To avoid too much fat intake, trim any excess fat off foods such as bacon, steak, pork loins. And try to grill or bake food instead of frying.
Always preheat the oven and follow instructions on the packet to ensure food is cooked thoroughly. It is worth buying a food thermometer in order to check the temperature food before serving, but as a general rule no pink, no blood, hot in the middle. Recommended temperatures for various foods are: – minced beef-71 degrees (not pink)
– Pork-71-77 deg (use in 3-5 days)
– Whole poultry 85 (use in 3 days)
– Cut Poultry 85 (use in 2 days)
– Stuffing: 74
Always use a dish to collect thawing juices and defrost raw meats in the fridge in cold water, or in the microwave. Never leave food on the side to cool, thaw etc it encourages pests and allows bacteria to multiply.
Make a recipe book with your loved one of meals enjoyed eating and prepping together, and try to encourage recipes from their past.
Never re heat food more than once
If food is cooking or reheating in the microwave allow it to stand (this will allow the heat to travel all the way through the food, not just the edges) and make sure you stir it halfway through cooking.