Traditional recipes

Nutrition for Struggling Seniors

Nutrition for Struggling Seniors

Pennsylvania program assists local seniors, gives vouchers for farmer’s market

A public initiative in Beaver County, Pa. is easing the burden on financially taxed seniors. The county’s Office on Aging administers a Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, distributing $20 worth of five-dollar vouchers throughout the summer season. The vouchers are distributed on one county-determined date, and are redeemable for the equivalent value of fresh produce at any area farmer’s market.

All seniors 60 and older with an annual income of less than $21,257 are eligible for the program, and officials are pleased with the 97 percent return rate of vouchers. For seniors and their loved ones, the cost of assisted living and around the clock care can make financial stability difficult. Corners are often cut for the sake of budget, and diet suffers.

Not only does the program allow access to fruits and vegetables, but it also supports local agriculture.

Inflation poses the only current threat to this program. Market prices of fresh goods have risen, but the voucher value has not increased in years. Program coordinator Joanne McDermitt says that there are currently no plans to revise the voucher amount at this time.


Breakfast Recipes

Find home care near you or your loved one:

Try these tasty recipes to start your senior loved one's day off right.

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes
Servings: 6
Serving Size: 2 pancakes

Ingredients:
2/3 cup unbleached flour
1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour (whole wheat flour will also work)
2 tablespoon yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup rolled oats (ground fine in food processor or blender)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 tablespoon canola oil
3/4 cup low fat buttermilk
1 cup blueberries (fresh or frozen)

Directions:
In a large mixing bowl, combine the flours, cornmeal, oats, baking soda, baking powder, salt and sugar and stir until uniformly blended. In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs and oil together and then stir in buttermilk. Pour the egg mixture into the flour blend and stir together - do not over mix. Add the blueberries and fold into batter. In a large saute pan or griddle, apply a light coating of cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cup of batter for each pancake into the pan. Turn the pancakes when bubbles form around the edges and on top. Cook until golden brown on both sides.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 180
Fat: 4 g
Carbohydrate: 30 g
Protein: 6 g
Sodium: 290 mg

Cranberry Apricot Oatmeal
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients:
4 cup water
1 cup steel-cut oats
2 tablespoons dried cranberries
2 tablespoons dried apricots
Dash salt

Directions:
*This breakfast dish needs to be started the night before you plan to serve it.

In a large bowl, combine water, oats, dried cranberries, dried apricots and salt. Stir well. Cover the bowl and leave overnight in the refrigerator or on the kitchen counter. In the morning, stir the contents of the bowl and pour into a pot. Over high heat, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 30 minutes or until the oats have absorbed all of the water. If you prefer dry oatmeal, use about 1/4 cup less water. If you prefer your oatmeal very moist, add 1/4 cup more water.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 200
Fat: 3 g
Carbohydrate: 37 g
Protein: 6 g

Spinach Florentine Omelet
Servings: 1
Serving Size: 1 omelet

Ingredients:
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoon Egg Beaters® or similar egg substitute
1 tablespoon shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 teaspoon Parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 cup spinach, chopped
1/4 cup tomato, diced

Directions:
Apply cooking spray to a saute pan and set over medium heat. Cook the tomatoes for 2-3 minutes, then add the spinach. Stir the vegetables until the spinach is wilted. Spoon the vegetables onto a plate and set aside. Spray the pan again, return to the heat and pour the eggs evenly over the bottom. Shake the pan periodically, and when the egg starts to slide freely, the bottom side is done. If the omelet looks like it is cooking but not sliding from the pan, use a spatula to loosen the bottom as needed. As the top begins to become firm, place cheese in the center and allow to melt. Then add the vegetables over the cheese and fold the egg over to form the omelet. Slide the omelet from the pan onto a serving plate.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 115
Fat: 2 g
Carbohydrate: 5 g
Protein: 19 g
Sodium: 500 mg


Green Smoothie For Vitamin C

When you usually think of healthy homemade smoothies, does the image of a green drink come to mind?

Green smoothies can sometimes turn smoothie beginners away because of the colour. However, this one is tasty! The recipe recommends blending the leafy vegetables with water first to liquify it, hence the green colour, before actually adding fruit. The fruits nectar and sweet taste help mask the earthier taste of the green veggies.

  • 1 peeled orange
  • 2 chopped kiwi
  • 1 cored pear
  • 2 cups chopped leafy greens (kale, spinach or chard)
  • 4 to 6 oz filtered water

The Oldish website says spinach and romaine lettuce are more neutral tasting and are good options for those who are newer to green smoothies. Tracy Russell is an expert in holistic health and has a blog with lots of recipes!


Now Let’s Analyze This Cookbook – IDDSI Style!

This Dining With Dysphagia cookbook has 8 recipes so far. Here is how I would place these recipes for people with dysphagia within the new framework created by the International Dysphagia Diet Standardization Initiative (www.IDDSI.org). I hope by analyzing foods “IDDSI-Style” it will help introduce and train these new dysphagia diets. My comments will be in the parentheses after the name of each recipe.

Register today on www.IDDSI.org to receive all the latest updates from IDDSI. Check out all the details of the framework, descriptors, and testing methods noted below. Download the IDDSI free app, so that you will always have this information at your fingertips! (Note: Mildly Thick used to be called Nectar Thick & Moderately Thick used to be called Honey Thick in the USA.)

Level 4: Puree & Extremely Thick: Description – Cohesive and smooth. Holds its shape on the spoon, but will easily plop off a tilted spoon with very little left on the spoon. Not sticky.

  • Rosemary Mashed Potatoes (I like how it says to use an electric mixer to beat until smooth and creamy. The added moisture will make this a perfect moist puree.)
  • Pumpkin Soup (Depending on how much coconut milk and broth is added, this could be made into a range from a Pureed texture, to a Level 3: Liquidised or Moderately Thick, or to a Level 2: Mildly Thick.)

Level 5: Minced & Moist: Description – Soft and moist with no separate liquid. Small particle size of 4mm for adults, which is the measurement between the tines of a typical fork. Minimal chewing is required. Lumps can be mashed with tongue. You can check this by pressing a fork into it. The food can be easily mashed with just a little pressure from the fork. You should be able to scoop it up with a fork with no liquid dripping through and no crumbles falling off the fork.

  • Picadillo Ground Beef with Tomatoes (This recipe is called Picadillo Ground Beef with Tomatoes, Olives and Raisins. The olives and raisins may need to be avoided to prevent difficulty with these harder textures. Make sure to add plenty of sauce so that it is moist and cohesive and not dry and crumbly.)

Level 6: Soft & Bite-Sized: Description – Bite-sized pieces of 1.5cm (the size of an adult thumbnail), to avoid choking risk. Chewing is necessary. Tongue strength and control are needed to move food around and to swallow. You should be able to easily cut into this texture with just the side of a fork. Press into a piece of food with your thumb in the bowl of a fork – so that your thumbnail turns white. The food should squash easily and NOT return to its original shape.

  • Gifilte Fish with Beet-Horseradish Cream (Add extra cream to prevent a crumbly texture. This should mash well and stay cohesive.)
  • Goat Cheese and Fig Jam Knife-And-Fork Burger (Again, add extra jam for moisture, as needed. All I can say is: “Want! Now! Yum!”)
  • Vegetarian Squash Chili (This could be blended to be turned into a Level 4 Puree. Otherwise the black beans and mixed consistency texture could be very challenging for some people. May need to drain off some of the extra liquid. Make sure the items are well-cooked so that it mashes easily.)
  • Asian Chicken Meatballs (I’m concerned about stickiness with the breadcrumbs, especially with only a small amount of moisture added with soy sauce and oil. However, there is a lot more chicken than breadcrumbs, as it says only 1/4 cup of breadcrumbs to 1 pound of chicken.)
  • Chocolate Chia Pudding (Until I try this myself, I’m putting it under the more challenging diet of Level 6. The chia seeds may make it challenging, and I wonder if the seeds are what thickens it to a pudding. Hopefully it is not one of those hard to place food items like JELL-O, which should be avoided for anyone who has difficulty with thin liquid and mixed consistencies.)

2. Cooking. Comfort. Care. Nourishment for the Pancreatic Cancer Fight

One of the judges of the Iron Chef Competition mentioned above was Michael Ferraro, who is the chef and owner of Delicatessen and Mac Bar. He helped start a program for people who need to nourish their bodies while fighting cancer. Many of these recipes are perfect for people with difficulty swallowing.

  • Carrot Puree is appropriate for a Level 4: Pureed diet.
  • Apple Butternut Squash Pancakes are appropriate for a Level 5: Minced & Moist, depending on how finely grated the squash is. Grate pieces to 4mm thin, and add plenty of moisture.
  • Thanksgiving Meatballs would be most appropriate for Level 6: Soft & Bite-Sized, as they have cranberries added. The meatballs should be served cut up in 1.5 cm chunks and with moisture added.
  • Pastiera – Pasta Egg Bake is also a Level 6: Soft & Bite-Sized, unless the pasta used is thinner and served chopped into small and moist pieces for the Level 5: Minced & Moist requirements.
  • Maple Green Beans may be challenging. However, if you follow the directions and really roast them until tender, they may be appropriate for Level 6: Soft & Bite-Sized. Cut them to 1.5cm size bites.

3. One of my favorite cookbooks with recipes for people with dysphagia is:

Easy-to-Swallow, Easy-to-Chew Cookbook: Over 150 Tasty and Nutritious Recipes for People Who Have Difficulty Swallowing, by Donna Weihoffen, Joanne Robins & Paula A. Sullivan. Published in 2002 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. When I searched online for this, there are very inexpensive used books available.

4. The following links are on this website:

If you do not have the ability to cook at home, and/or if you do not have someone cooking for you, here are links to purchasing pureed meals:


Digestion difficulty

Let’s think about what happens to a piece of boiled potato just after we place it in the mouth. The teeth chew the potato, grinding it up into smaller pieces. If not for the teeth, the potato might be too large to swallow, and we would choke. Besides that, the stomach would have a hard time with a single, large piece of food – it can digest small pieces much better than large ones.

The teeth and tongue also move the potato around the mouth, and that movement stimulates the taste buds, which helps us enjoy our food. After the food is chewed, the tongue pushes it to the back of the mouth in position for swallowing.

But for some people with Parkinson’s chewing can be difficult. Nerves that guide the muscles of the jaw and tongue become weaker. It may take an unusually long time just to chew a bite of food. Then the tongue has a difficult time moving food to the back of the mouth in position for swallowing. I’ve known people who have needed three to four hours to finish just one meal, which means there is hardly enough time in the day to eat the amount of food necessary to maintain a healthy weight and get all the necessary nutrients.

Besides the nerve damage that Parkinson’s can cause, there are other concerns. Dry mouth, which is common in patients poor oral hygiene, due to difficulty managing a toothbrush and sugary foods, can all cause tooth decay and/or tooth loss


Find Nutrition Experts

Need serious help making a plan? The nutrition experts in our professional membership are ready to help you create the change to improve your life.

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Veggies shine in these easy recipes for seniors

A rainbow of fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables add vitamins and minerals to your diet. If you have a farmers market near you, stock up on locally grown favorites. If you don’t, your grocery store should offer delicious produce all year.

One-Pan Salmon and Vegetables

This recipe is so easy, it’s not really a recipe at all. It showcases flaky and richly pink salmon, a low-calorie protein source full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids and energy-boosting B vitamins.

This non-recipe is versatile! Replace salmon with another flaky fish like tilapia or trout. Swap out the veggies for whatever’s in your fridge, or add potatoes for a heartier meal.

Ingredients

  • 1 squash or zucchini, sliced into rounds
  • ½ onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes
  • 1 bell pepper, sliced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning or your favorite fish-seasoning blend
  • 2-3 salmon fillets, about 4 ounces each
  • 1 lemon, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil (not wax paper). If you don’t have these, you can thoroughly grease the pan with vegetable oil.
  2. In a large bowl, toss all veggies with 2 tablespoons of oil and seasoning, then spread them into a single layer on the baking sheet.
  3. Nestle your salmon fillets, skin side down, between the vegetables. Brush with remaining olive oil, and top with 2 thin lemon slices each.
  4. Roast for 12-15 minutes, until salmon is flaky and mostly opaque.
  5. Add 1 salmon fillet and a heaping serving of roasted veggies to each plate for a healthy and satisfying meal. Enjoy!

Tasty Tomato Tart

This easy weeknight dinner is packed with lycopene and vitamin C to boost vision health. It’s similar enough to pizza that even picky eaters will try it — but it’s a total showstopper with fresh, colorful ingredients.

Ingredients

  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed
  • 1 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 2-3 large tomatoes (multiple colors make a beautiful tart, but red works just as well)
  • 1 cup of your favorite cheese (such as blue cheese, mozzarella, feta, or Parmesan)
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, or chopped fresh herbs like basil and oregano

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or non-stick aluminum foil.
  2. Stretch out the puff pastry on the lined baking sheet. With a fork, poke small holes along the bottom.
  3. Add onions and olive oil to a skillet over medium heat. Sauté, stirring frequently, until soft — about 5 minutes.
  4. Sprinkle cooked onions over the pastry dough, then top with tomato slices so they don’t overlap. Sprinkle with cheese and half of your seasoning or herbs. Season with salt (or salt replacement, if you’re avoiding sodium) and pepper to your tastes.
  5. Bake for 25 minutes, until the crust is golden. Sprinkle with the remaining herbs, cut into squares, and enjoy!

Roasted Root Vegetables

Root vegetables — like sweet potatoes, beets, parsnips, and potatoes — are vibrant and versatile. They’re high in fiber and antioxidants, and some, like sweet potatoes, have been proven to stabilize blood sugar as a successful part of a diabetic diet. They’re also a tasty replacement for classic roasted potatoes — and just as easy to make.

Note: This recipe involves chopping firm vegetables, which may be difficult for some seniors. To get the benefits of root vegetables without as much knife work, check out the recipe for Stuffed Southwest Sweet Potatoes below.

Ingredients

  • ½ red onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 1 large beet, scrubbed and trimmed
  • Several new potatoes, skin on, cut in halves or quarters
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons mixed dried herbs, like rosemary, oregano, and parsley

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F and grease a large baking sheet.
  2. Cut root vegetables into even-sized pieces, about an inch each.
  3. Toss root vegetables with olive oil, herbs, salt, and pepper. Spread in an evenly spaced layer on the prepared pan.
  4. Bake for 30-40 minutes, stirring and flipping vegetables twice, or until soft.

Berry Chicken Salad

For a colorful and protein-packed lunch, this easy recipe for seniors repurposes leftover shredded or chopped chicken into a salad that replaces classic grapes with fresh, antioxidant-rich berries.

Ingredients

  • ¼ cup olive oil mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon dried tarragon
  • 1½ cups chopped or shredded leftover chicken (about 1 breast)
  • 1 cup quartered fresh strawberries or whole fresh blueberries
  • ½ cup fresh or frozen peas, thawed
  • ¼ cup chopped celery
  • Torn salad greens or spinach

Instructions

  1. Whisk the first 3 ingredients together in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Add chicken, berries, peas, and celery, and stir well to combine.
  3. Scoop chicken salad over salad greens or spinach for a fresh and filling lunch.

Vegetable Stir-Fry

This quick take on everyone’s favorite carryout dish can be adapted to whatever ingredients you have on hand — and made in one pan for easy cleanup.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil or non-hydrogenated vegetable oil
  • ½ pound protein, such as cubed chicken breast, sliced steak, or tofu
  • 2 cups mixed vegetables (such as peppers, zucchini, broccoli, onions, snap peas, and mushrooms)

For the sauce

  • ¼ cup orange juice
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, or a sprinkling of ginger powder

Instructions

  1. Heat oil in a large wok or skillet over medium heat. Cook the protein, stirring regularly, until lightly browned. Add vegetables and cook for another 5-10 minutes, until soft. Remove meat and veggies from pan and set aside.
  2. Mix all sauce ingredients in a small bowl. Add the mixture to your pan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Simmer for about 3 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
  3. Add vegetables and protein back to the pan and stir to combine.
  4. Serve over brown rice or noodles for a filling meal.

Garlicky Roasted Eggplant with Creamy Yogurt Sauce

Eggplant is the star of this recipe for elderly parents, and a great source of senior nutrition that boasts phytonutrients — a memory-booster — and fiber for digestive health. It’s also a soft food, easy on dentures without being mushy.

Ingredients

  • 1 eggplant, cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (use pre-chopped from the jar if easier)
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon Mediterranean spice blend, or your favorite blend

Instructions

  1. Place eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt. Let them sit for a couple minutes while your oven preheats to 400 F (this softens them and reduces bitterness).
  2. Mix garlic, olive oil, and spice blend in a small bowl. Add a squeeze of lemon if you want!
  3. Brush both sides of eggplant with the olive oil mixture for a dose of heart-healthy fats.
  4. Roast eggplant for about 30 minutes, until caramelized, flipping once about halfway through.

For the sauce

  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (great source of probiotics for digestive health)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon fresh herbs, like basil or mint (optional)

Mix in a small bowl add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve your roasted eggplant with the yogurt sauce for a fresh, Mediterranean dish. Consider brown rice, whole-grain pasta, or chopped cucumbers and tomatoes as a side dish.

Anything Goes Quiche

Quiche has been a popular brunch food for decades and was seen as a luxury for many seniors growing up. This is a fairly inexpensive, easy recipe that includes leafy greens rich in magnesium, iron, manganese, and vitamins A, C, and K.

Ingredients

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 cup half-and-half
  • ½ teaspoon seasoning of your choice, such as mustard, dill, or rosemary
  • ¾ cup crispy bacon, crumbled cooked sausage, or leftover ham
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar or Swiss cheese
  • 1 cup spinach or kale, torn or chopped
  • ½ cup of your favorite veggie, diced (tomato, broccoli, asparagus, and peppers all work)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F and roll pie crust into your pie plate, per package directions.
  2. Whisk eggs, half-and-half, and seasoning in a medium bowl add salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Sprinkle meat, cheese, and veggies onto the prepared pie crust evenly. Pour the egg mixture to cover.
  4. Bake for 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool 10 minutes before slicing and enjoying.

Recipe adapted from Pillsbury, with vegetables added


Healthy Eating for Older Adults

Eating a variety of foods from all food groups can help supply the nutrients a person needs as they age. A healthy eating plan emphasizes fruit, vegetables, whole grains and low-fat or fat-free dairy includes lean meat, poultry, fish, beans, eggs and nuts and is low in saturated fats, trans fats, salt (sodium) and added sugars.

Eating right doesn't have to be complicated. Start with these recommendations from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans:

  • Eat fruits and vegetables. They can be fresh, frozen or canned. Eat more dark green vegetables such as leafy greens or broccoli, and orange vegetables such as carrots and sweet potatoes.
  • Vary protein choices with more fish, beans and peas.
  • Eat at least three ounces of whole-grain cereals, breads, crackers, rice or pasta every day. Choose whole grains whenever possible.
  • Have three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy (milk, yogurt or cheese) that are fortified with vitamin D to help keep your bones healthy.
  • Make the fats you eat polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. Switch from solid fats to oils when preparing food.

Add Physical Activity

Balancing physical activity and a healthful diet is the best recipe for health and fitness. Set a goal to be physically active at least 30 minutes every day &mdash this even can be broken into three 10-minute sessions throughout the day.

For someone who is currently inactive, it's a good idea to start with a few minutes of activity, such as walking, and gradually increase this time as they become stronger. And always check with a health-care provider before beginning a new physical activity program.


  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Yogurt parfaits
  • Crockpot oatmeal
  • Whole grain pancakes or waffles
  • Toast and peanut butter
  • Pasta with shrimp or chicken
  • Salads with chicken and vegetables
  • Rice and beans
  • Liver and vegetables

Crock pots can be a lifesaver when it comes to preparing meals in advance with little preparation needed. As a caregiver, you can make these meals for your parent and ensure they have a healthy dish to eat for several days.

You can also cut vegetables in advance, allowing a senior to easily throw them into any dish that they are creating. Having precut meats on hand can also help ease cooking for an elderly person and make sure they are getting enough protein each day.

It is key that the easy recipes for seniors include foods from all food groups in suggested servings sizes that are right for your parent. The biggest challenge for a senior looking to make healthy recipes is having the right ingredients on hand to make meals in a way that is most easy for them.


Dinner Recipes

Find home care near you or your loved one:

Banish boring dinners with tempting and full-flavored entrees that are healthy, too.

Chicken Cannelloni
Servings: 8
Serving Size: 2 cannelloni

Ingredients:
2 pounds chicken breasts, raw, trimmed (or 2 pounds ground chicken breast)
3/4 pound frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed (to get water out)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
2 pounds nonfat ricotta cheese
2 egg whites
1 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
8 lasagna noodles, cooked and cut in half
4 1/2 cups marinara sauce
1/2 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded
4 teaspoon oregano

Directions:
Cook chicken in the oven or on the grill until done. Grind in a food processor.
In a large bowl, combine ricotta, egg whites, parmesan, nutmeg, and pepper. Add spinach and chicken and mix well. Cut lasagna noodles in half and arrange on a clean countertop or wax paper. Place 1/4 cup of filling on the end of each lasagna piece and form a log. Roll pasta with filling into neat tubes and place in a baking pan on a layer of marinara sauce. On each roll, spread on another portion of sauce. Sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and oregano. Cover with foil and bake in oven at 300ºF for about 25-35 minutes. Return to oven uncovered to lightly brown cheese. Let rest 5 minutes.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 400
Fat: 12 g
Carbohydrate: 32 g
Protein: 33 g

Almond Crusted Salmon
Servings: 4
Serving Size: 4 ounces salmon

Ingredients:
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 salmon fillets, about 5 ounce each
4 tablespoons sliced almonds
1/4 cup Egg Beaters® or similar egg substitute
4 teaspoons all purpose flour

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350º F.
Place flour, egg substitute, and almonds in separate shallow bowls. Place one side of each salmon fillet in flour, followed by egg substitute. Press almond mixture into the salmon. Set the salmon aside, nut side up and repeat for other fillets. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Place almond side of each salmon fillet down in saute pan and cook until the nuts are browned. Flip fillet and cook 1 minute. Remove from pan and place on a sheet tray coated with cooking spray. Repeat process for remaining fillets. Finish in oven at 350º F for 15-20 minutes or until the salmon is flaky and opaque and the internal temperature reaches 145ºF.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories per serving: 300
Fat: 16 g
Carbohydrate: 3 g
Protein: 34 g

Penne Alfredo with Salmon
Servings: 6
Serving Size: 1 cup pasta and 2 ounce salmon

Ingredients:
1 pound salmon fillet
Vegetable cooking spray
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons reduced-calorie margarine
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups skim milk (hot)
3/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese, divided
6 cups hot cooked penne pasta, cooked without salt or fat

Directions:
Place salmon, skin side down, on a broiler rack coated with cooking spray place rack on broiler pan. Sprinkle with pepper. Broil 6 inches from heat for 11 minutes, or until salmon flakes easily when tested with a fork. Flake salmon into bite-sized pieces, set aside and keep warm. Melt margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add flour, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly with a wire whisk. Gradually add hot milk, stirring constantly. Cook an additional 8 minutes or until slightly thickened and bubbly, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons of cheese stir until cheese melts. Pour over pasta and toss well. Top with salmon, sprinkle with remaining 2 tablespoons cheese.

Nutritional Analysis per Serving:
Calories: 380
Fat: 11 g
Protein: 28 g
Carbohydrate: 42 g


Let your creativity flow!

If you don’t follow these recipes exactly, who cares! The hope is that it gives you some ideas and lets other caregivers see that feeding our loved ones with dysphagia whole, healthy foods doesn’t have to be hard. Happy cooking!

Guest contributor: Jess McLean is a full-time caregiver for her Mom who has Primary Progressive MS and Epilepsy. Moonlighting as a freelance writer with a passion for cooking, Jess lives in Austin, TX with her wonderful husband and Mom. You can find her blogging about caregiving tips, ideas, and solutions at Givea.Care .

This article wasn’t sponsored and doesn’t contain affiliate links. For more information, see How We Make Money.