Chapter 2: Meals and feeding
Types of food to prepare
Click on each phrase below for some ideas to consider in determining foods to prepare and foods to avoid.
If possible, talk with the person you are caring for about what they would like for every meal. Start by figuring out generally what types of food you should prepare and what to avoid.
It can be helpful to talk with the person’s healthcare provider about nutritional needs. Are there foods that would be beneficial? Others that should be avoided?
It’s important to keep in mind that as a person’s illness advances toward the end of their life, eating for comfort (instead of “eating for calories”) can become the focus of care as long as it is safe for the person to swallow.
Remember that likes, preferences, and tolerances will change during a person’s illness. Some medications and the person’s advancing illness affect food flavours and appetite.
If the person’s ability to chew or swallow decreases, it may also become necessary to change the textures of certain foods.
As the individual’s appetite decreases, be sure to ask about preferred foods and offer smaller amounts.
What are the eating habits of person who is ill? Do they have food and allergies that you will need to keep in mind? For example, do they have sensitivities to gluten or lactose? A nut allergy? They may also have strong preferences about the types of food they wish to eat, for example, being vegetarian or vegan.
Although the person who is ill may not be allergic or intolerant to certain food, they may become sensitive to certain food smells. You may want to ask if this is the case and consider any sensitivities while preparing the food. You may need to close the kitchen or bedroom door.
It may be helpful to create a list of things that person doesn’t want or can’t eat. Keep a list of foods to be avoided. When you are busy and time is short, it’s easy to accidentally include an ingredient that the person can’t eat. This list may also be handy when others offer to help with meal preparation or provide meals.