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Bland But Strongly Flavored Foods

I know, it's a bit of an oxymoron, isn't it? But bear with me, I'm taking care of someone who's not very well, and running out of ideas of what to prepare. In a nutshell, the requirements are:

-she needs to gain weight while not ingesting a lot of fat

-meals must be prepared in small quanities, as she only eats a very small amount at a time. And when I say small, I mean a quarter slice of toast and a slice of fruit with three tablespoons of soup sometimes.

-strongly flavored, but with only very basic one note flavors like salt, beef, miso, or the fragrance of fresh bread. Nothing that involved combining a bunch of different things into one pot and letting it all stew together.

-no poultry. Eggs are okay but the sulfury smell sometimes is offensive

-no solid meat though broth from meat is fine.

-milk, yogurt and cottage cheese are okay but stronger cheeses are offensive.

-dishes must be relatively quick to make, both because when she has appetite I want to get it to her as soon as possible, and because I don't have time to be cooking all day.

-warm, savory foods are more appetizing than cold or sweet. She's sick of eating fruit and steamed vegetables, and who can blame her? Plus, those things aren't going to put on any weight.

-pretty foods, because the appetite often starts with the eyes, right?

So far, some of the things that are regularly tolerated are:

-good toast with jam
-gazpacho, in very small amounts
-scrambled eggs with a little butter, but only about half an egg at a time
-2% milk
-yogurt with fresh fruit
-Richer Asian bakery items, in very small amounts
-kabocha squash steamed in ginger sugar water
-multigrain rice porridge with dried gojiberries and jujubes (Chinese health food)
-fresh vegetable juice (carrot/apple/broccoli most of the time)

I'd really like to see more calories and meat in there, but it's hard to do it without adding fat or creating too many flavors. What do you feed someone who's naseous and has little appetite?

Today I'm trying a beef stew where we can have dinner and she can drink the stock or eat some soft vegetables, and tomorrow I might do a simple marinara on some very soft pasta.

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  1. Could she tolerate some chicken noodle soup, perhaps with whole wheat noodles for better nutrition?

    1. What about grits or polenta? Both are warm and good bases for savory additions if she can tolerate them. Or maybe a savory rice pudding or mashed/baked sweet potatoes.

      1. How about avocado soup with some sour cream/yogurt? It's actually high in good fat and quite easy to eat in the summer.

        may be some creamy oatmeal for breakfast?

        What about cream soup like cream of mushroom, or lobster bisque (wich is just creamy without the meat?)

        And if possible, make some steamed egg custard like chawanmushi?

        1. How about roasting some veggies -- that gives them lots of flavor without adding a lot of fat. You can make them in advance and reheat them before serving. Potatoes and beets would be good, and a little higher in calories. Then you can flavor them however you like, drizzle them with yogurt, etc. Roasted meat, too, since you said beef is okay.

          It's really hard to gain weight without a lot of fat. You might want to experiment with adding some kind of nutritional supplement (protein powder, etc.) to up the calorie count and provide more nutrients. Something like horchata with protein powder might be good. You might want to see if you can find some discussion groups for people undergoing chemo and some of their ideas for what to eat.

          1. I'm cooking for a ill person myself and can sympathize with your plight. A mild "guacamole"(omitting offending ingredients) or really good nut butters on toast is easy and quick and rich. Bread puddings of sweet and savoury flavors might be good. I'm making an apple bread pudding right now. Homemade broth has been a life saver here lately but really good "bought" stock or broth is also available. Sweet potatoes have a lot of good stuff in them.And if you keep some steamed vegetables ready to go, you can blend them up with good stock and maybe tofu for a nice soup and the colors are bright and appetizing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: WCchopper

              Oh would congee work? That may be what you meant by multi grain rice porridge. But we are eating congee regularly at our house.