Food is all around us, and many of us grow up seeing special food as an integral part of celebrations and parties. Preparing good, nutritious food, takes effort to plan, purchase, store and then cook. Mealtimes are also a social activity for many.
However, when life changes come, such as ageing or bereavement, people often find that food, which was once so enjoyable, becomes a disheartening chore instead. Who wants to shop and cook for one? Even though that ‘one’ is you and you still matter.
Ageing can also bring illnesses such as arthritis or memory loss, and these add to the difficulties of maintaining a healthy and varied diet.
So what is the solution? The first thing to remember is the importance of a good diet for our health and how it can significantly improve our quality of life. The second, is not to berate yourself for finding the whole business of sorting out food too much to cope with. Lots of people feel that way.
Here are a few ideas to hopefully make food a highlight of your day again.
Go to a lunch club
At a lunch club, you get good food and company, and all at a very reasonable price. Your main effort will be in getting there. If mobility is an issue, you can use a local taxi firm, or, join Tendring Community Transport and book ‘dial a ride’.
Here are three great lunch clubs that I have visited and I can assure you the food is home cooked and tasty!
- Read House Lunch Club, Frinton-On-Sea, 01255 670 782
- Age Concern Lunch Club, Clacton-On-Sea, 01255 475 913
- Salvation Army Lunch Club, Clacton-On-Sea, 01255 431 760
Even if you only went once a week, I am sure it would be a welcome change.
Have frozen food delivered
The choice of frozen prepared food is now fantastic, and they can also cater for special diets. The meals are delivered to your door, then all you have to do is store the meals in your freezer and when required, cook the meal of your choice in either your oven or microwave. The following three companies all offer this service:
- Oakhouse, 01379 870 117, www.oakhousefoods.co.uk
- Wiltshire Farm Foods, 01376 512 929, www.wiltshirefarmfoods.com
- Sussex Farmhouse Meals, 0845 070 2222, www.sussexfarmhousemeals.co.uk Have a freshly cooked meal delivered to you
Now this is the ultimate in easy eating! You can have a freshly cooked meal delivered, served either in a foil dish or already plated up, ready for you to eat. The companies who deliver them get to know their clients very well and you always have a choice if you do not like the set meal for that day.
The only complaint I have heard, is that some people find the portions too big so they keep some for later. If you find you do not like how one company prepares their food, then try another:
- Traditional Home Meals, 01255 434 050, www.tradhomemeals.com
- ... Chef, 01255 434 946, www.creativechefs.co.uk
- Mobile Meals, 01255 222 693, www.mobilemeals.co.uk
If you want to prepare food yourself, but find the whole process is too much for you, then you can cut corners. For instance, you could buy ready prepared meals but have a carer come to your house to heat, serve and tidy them away.
Or, you could ask a carer to go and buy a large quantity of easily cooked food (i.e. butchers sausages, beef burgers or chicken pieces) and these could be baked all together then frozen. Then all you have to do is pick out your meat for the day and prepare some steamed vegetables to go with it (using a steamer for the microwave this takes 5 minutes).
This way you get good food, convenience and a healthy varied diet all at the same time, with just a little extra help.
Throw caution to the wind and eat out at a restaurant!
Clacton, Frinton and Walton all have plenty of cafes and restaurants where the main meal is available at lunchtime. Invite a friend and share the taxi fare. You will be amazed at what a trip out can do to lift your spirits.
What do you do to make mealtimes easier and more enjoyable?
If you would like to talk about any of the ideas in this article, please feel free to contact me, Jean Allen, at Home Instead on 01255 672 269.