The Ultimate Guide to Meal Prep for Disabled People

Managing your diet can get pretty stressful, especially when you are busy. Meal prepping can be the best option for you whether you are disabled yourself or you’re caring for one! This is because meal prepping allows you to get organised and efficient while also boosting health through nutritious and balanced meals!

Meal Prep Tips
The Ultimate Guide to Meal Prep for Disabled People
Huma Khurshid

Huma Khurshid

Consultant Nutritionist And Qualified Health And Fitness Writer

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5

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In this article, we'll highlight some tips and tricks on how to meal prep for disabled people both adults and children, along with some easy ready made recipes ideas. If meal prepping is not possible for you, we have a bonus tip that will ensure perfect nutrition and convenience.
Keep reading!

Effect of Nutrition on Disability 

Nutrition is something that can make or break anyone's health, however if you're disabled a healthy diet could have an even bigger impact. A healthy diet filled with nutritious food can improve lengthen your life and may even partially or fully revert a disability.

Not to mention that a poor diet can trigger health concerns such as cardiovascular diseases, obesity, kidney diseases, hypertension, and even cancer.

Here are some benefits of healthy eating for disabled people in particular.  

1.  Eating healthy foods will help disabled adults, kids, and teenagers with weight management and feel more confident. Being disabled may limit the amount of exercise that can be done, thus it is even more important not to gain weight through an unhealthy diet.

2.  When your diet is in check, you're most likely to stay happy and in a good mood. Being in a good mood as often being linked to being healthier and even has the power of recovering faster.

3.  According to ClevelandClinic, eating protein foods has stimulated dopamine and norepinephrine levels. These two are brain chemicals that alter your mood, motivation, attention, and concentration.

4.  Disabled people can recover if they consistently consume healthy foods. You do not require only medicines to help your patients recover from an illness or disability. Food and nutrition play an essential role in all types of treatments.

5.  A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and antioxidants and packed with the five food groups is always a healthy choice.

Holy's meal plans full of healthy fats and protein,
available to order on Marvin's Den

Understanding What Your Disability Needs:

Disabilities can be multiple types and are very diverse from one another, the most common ones are: Down syndrome, ADHD, deafness, blindness, intellectual conditions, physical disabilities, and many other mental health conditions.

Talk to a nutritionist or doctor to recommend a diet plan for feeding disabled adults or kids. You don't want to add any food element that can have a hazardous effect on their health.

If you are sceptical about cooking their meals, then there are plenty of healthy meal prepping services in the UK that can help you stay on track with their meals.

Below are some easy recipes ideas for disabled adults and kids mentioned according to their disability.

Easy Recipes for Disabled Adults and Kids

Following are some of the most common disabilities which we cover in specifically along with easy recipes for disabled adults that you can make or order online.

1.   Down Syndrome:

Children with Down syndrome can face swallowing or feeding difficulties and bowel problems. A 2021 research suggested that parents slowly introduce contemporary foods to their children with down syndrome. Try to give frequent but small portions of food at a time.[1]

Foods that contain lots of fibre work best for Down syndrome patients. For example, fresh fruit, vegetables, pulses, wholegrain and cereals. You can also puree or blend the foods to make them mechanically soft diet.

Fruit and Nut Bonanza smoothie,
available on Marvin's Den from Holy

2.  Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

ADHD is a chronic health condition in which patients face alack of attention, are hyperactive, and depict impulsive behaviour.

When ordering meals for ADHD patients, prefer more protein and omega-3 foods such as lean meat, pork, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans, nuts, and soy products.

According to this study, dietary supplementation of omega 3 fatty acids appear to improve symptoms. Fatty fish, seeds, nuts, olive oil, olives, and avocados are high in omega-3 fatty acids.[2]

3.  Mobility Impairment

Patients facing mobility impairment can have trouble in movement such as walking, bending, running, grabbing things, etc.

Antioxidant foods such as berries, red apples, and leafy greens are great options for enhancing mobility. Research also recommends eating a diet filled with fruits and vegetables to improve mobility and healthy ageing.[3]

Moreover, foods that contain lots of iron and omega-3 are also needed to improve mobility. Make sure to look for foods cooked with ingredients such as olive oil, avocado, and oily fish.

Salmon is one of the most popular 'oily fish'

Variety is key - use the Five Food Group

Feeding disabled adults and kids can be pretty tough sometimes as they get bored of eating the same thing twice a day or sometimes even in a week. Try to play around with all five foods groups when ordering their meals.

These are:

  1. Fruits and vegetables (if you can go for lower sugar ones and keep fibre high to manage energy levels and the glycemic index)
  2. Starchy carbohydrates (e.g. pasta, rice, bread, potatoes, noodles and more!) - here go for wholegrain/wholemeal/wholewheat if you can
  3. Proteins (e.g. legumes such as beans, tofu, pulses, fish, eggs, lean meat)
  4. Dairy and alternatives (e.g. for easier digestion and for sustainability better to go for oat milk or other plant alternatives)
  5. Oils and spreads (keep butter and vegetable oil low but if you can use olive oil and avocado oil)

Every single one of these has their role in nutrition and in keeping you healthy. Remember that no single food or ingredients is off-limits, balance is key, not stressing over certain foods, even the ones not recommended above, so limit excess but do not limit your happiness).

A study was published in 2018 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. It states that protein foods will protect older adults from becoming disabled and assist them in staying independent.

So, when meal prepping for feeding disabled adults and kids, do not think that because you do not go to the gym or because you're disabled that you do not need protein, always pick a protein item in your meals!

Try combining your proteins with some veggies and grains such as rice, oatmeal, and quinoa for some balanced, healthy and easy meals.

Remember to switch up meals and foods daily to keep the food interesting. An interesting diet means a diet that is more likely to be maintained, which means better health.

Moreover, you can provide them with fresh fruits and fresh dairy such as high quality yoghurt topped with bananas and berries as healthy snacks.

💡 Another tip is to order their favourite ingredient with their meal. For example, your blind kid loves the taste of cheese, you can customise order to add low-fat cheese on any food possible such as mac n cheese, sandwiches, veggies salad, quesadillas, and scrambled eggs.

Keep Additives and Artificial Flavors Away!

Avoid ordering low-quality ready-made foods or packaged products from the local grocery store as they can have artificial flavours and lots of additives.

Moreover, it would be best to keep refined grains such as deserts, pastries, and cereals at arm's length from disabled people. Refined grains don't have all the nutrients because of the extra processing. Instead, you can opt for healthy meal prepping services that provide hygienic, safe, and healthy meals for your loved ones.

Furthermore, you should avoid sugary beverages, sodas, and meals high in sodium, excess sugar, artificial flavours, and preservatives.

Instead, of the above have fresh smoothies, and for pre made meals make sure that the meals are not too processed and are of high quality. 

Look For More Hydrated Foods

Most disabled people are stuck in wheelchairs or beds. They are not independent enough to reach out for food or drinks when they need anything.

Always place some fresh fruits such as watermelon, peaches, apples, and water near them. If they are on medication, try to avoid grapefruit juice since it has the highest rate of drug-nutrient interaction.[4] Ask your doctor for any foods that may interact with their medicine.

Moreover, when ordering meals for them, look for more hydrating ingredients such as watercress, leafy green veggies, tomatoes, celery, etc. You can also order a nice healthy veggie salad that contains all these veggies.

Conclusion

Managing house, kitchen, and office deadlines and feeding disabled adults or kids at home is a responsibility that can overwhelm you.

Order meal prep for your disabled adults and kids from Marvin's Den aims to get some weight off your shoulders! It's a mobile app marfketplace for meal prep, so on the app you can order from the best meal prep companies in the UK!

 

References:

[1] Cochran, E., Breithaupt, K., &Williams, L. (2021). Recommendations and Outcomes for the Introduction ofComplementary Foods for Children With Down Syndrome. The American Journal ofOccupational Therapy, 75(Supplement_2), 7512510226p1-7512510226p1.

[2] Hawkey, E., & Nigg, J. T. (2014).Omega− 3 fatty acid and adhd: Blood level analysis and meta-analytic extensionof supplementation trials. Clinical psychology review, 34(6),496-505.

[3] Milaneschi, Y., Tanaka, T., & Ferrucci, L. (2010). Nutritional determinants of mobility. Current opinionin clinical nutrition and metabolic care, 13(6), 625.

[4] Bailey, D. G., Dresser, G., &Arnold, J. M. O. (2013). Grapefruit–medication interactions: Forbidden fruit oravoidable consequences?. Cmaj, 185(4), 309-316.

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