Compassionate Caregiving: Cooking with love provides food for the soul

Laura Nissen PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

Laura Nissen PHOTO CREDIT: Contributed

One of the most important responsibilities in caregiving is to make sure that you and your loved one eat well and enjoy mealtime together.

What can we do differently when it comes to food and drink to enhance the dining experience?

Take your queue from nature. It is so easy to be inspired by nature. Everything has its time and place. For starters, creatively brainstorm what is in season at the moment. In the summer, our bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables is abundant. Think about eating a tomato right off the vine or your first taste of sweet corn when it comes into season. What could be better? Simple meals are sometimes the best meals.

Variety is the spice of life. It is human nature to eat our favorite foods often. While this might be good, it always is beneficial to mix things up a bit. Try a new recipe from another country. Try iced coffee instead of hot coffee in the morning. Try to make something from scratch that you haven’t made before. At least a couple times per week, try something completely unexpected. You never know what could be your new favorite dish. Think of turning your meal into a mini adventure.

Make it a family affair. One of the ways to make any meal more enjoyable is to involve everyone in your household. Perhaps someone does the shopping and another sets the table or helps you chop vegetables. One of the most unifying things you can do is to enjoy the entire process together as a family. Sharing a meal together, from start to finish, is one of the finest pleasures in our lives.

Don’t forget the beverage. Think about having a cocktail before dinner. Pair the perfect wine with your dinner. Or, perhaps pair a summertime lemonade with a delicious summertime sandwich. Most of us don’t give much thought to the beverage, but we all know that the perfect beverage can really enhance any meal.

Julia Child said it best. “It’s fun to get together and have something good to eat at least once a day. That’s what human life is all about — enjoying things.”

Laura Nissen is the Director of Assisted Living at Grand Meadows, a Luther Manor Community.

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