Filling Your Ill Parent’s Fridge for Maximum Impact

Too many Baby Boomers are caught in “Club Sandwich.” This new classification finds the generation born between 1946 and 1964 dealing with raising children at the same time as they’re caregiving for elderly parents. While being torn in so many directions, it’s difficult to make sure patients eat properly, much less eat at all.

The Geneva University Hospital of Switzerland recently released research designed to help reduce your workload. By keeping your parent’s refrigerator properly stocked with foods that make it easier and tastier for an ill person to eat, they found you can help ensure they have a better chance of staying out of the hospital.

In a letter in The Lancet, the researchers explained only 8 percent of study participants who had full fridges ended up back under supervised care.

The question is how to define the proper refrigerator content. Here’s a helpful guide explaining the nine essential foods that will help keep your ill parent healthier.

1. Protein Shakes
If you’ve been depending on Ensure — not the tastiest liquid nourishment — then welcome to today’s world of single-serving-size protein shakes in delicious flavors. They provide the necessary nutrients, can serve as a replacement for all meals, are easy on the stomach, and require no preparation. Since protein shakes can be pricey, however, you’ll want to load up your supermarket loyalty card with grocery coupons from

2. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is always delicious and serves as a great source of calcium and protein. It’s also a great addition to other foods, such as fruit, avocado, cucumbers or fresh tomatoes, which add even more nutrients.

3. Fruits
Fresh fruits go bad so easily, making them less than appealing and a waste of money. Instead, make sure your parent gets necessary nutrients with single-serving containers of applesauce and other fruits. Juices also serve as an excellent fruit source. Cranberry juice is a great choice as it also gives kidneys a boost, but make sure you buy the low-sugar-content version.

4. Jell-O
The folks at Jell-O were right when they said there’s always room for this jiggly food. It’s also easy on the tummy, making it a good choice for a particularly ill parent. Jell-O has an extended shelf life, which means you can stick it in a storage container for at least a couple weeks. Jell-O isn’t the best source of nutrients as it’s mainly sugar, but sometimes you just want to make sure a patient eats something

5. Cereals
Add some roughage to your parent’s diet with tasty and tempting dry cereals. They’re easy to prepare and have a long shelf life. Check out drugstores and dollar stores for discounted prices on brand-name cereals.

6. Bread
Just like Jell-O, a nice piece of multi-grain toast is easy on the stomach and takes only a minute to prepare. You might want to simply buy pre-made cinnamon toast, which is more tempting to the palate.

7. Chicken Noodle Soup
Low-sodium chicken-noodle soup may be good for the soul, but it also contains many healthy properties. For example, it has anti-inflammatory capabilities and is always a tempting hot meal. Make it easier on the patient by purchasing low-salt, single-serving versions they can simply pop in the microwave. Alternately, you can save money by making your own big batch of soup and freezing it in single-serving containers.

8. Bottled Water
Age dulls the desire for liquids, but they’re still a vital necessity. Buy several inexpensive water bottles, fill them from the tap, and pop them in the refrigerator. That way, the patient can keep a bottle close at hand, to remind them of the necessity for refueling on basic liquids. If your parent’s stomach tends to be delicate, keep the water at room temperature. It’s less tempting, but easier on the digestive system.

9. Avoid Gassy Foods
Broccoli, beans, cabbage and other gas-inducing foods lead to more problems than they’re healthy properties offer. Skip them until the patient is up and about.

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