HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Broke My Elbow...

Soooo, yesterday I took a bit of a tumble off my bike (long story short, a car turned right in front of me around a corner in the parking lot, I braked hard, wheels skittered out, girl down).

This morning I finally got talked into going to the doctor, and the result is a broken elbow.

So, I live (mostly) alone. My boyfriend is staying with me for about a week before he returns to Minneapolis (I live in Seattle).

My orthopedist wants me eating a LOT of protein, and a LOT of calcium. Specifically, red meat (beef), oily fish, eggs, and full-fat dairy.

Any suggestions for easy (my arm doesn't move so hot, and lifting things like my cast iron skillet won't work - way too heavy) meals that are calorie, protein, and nutrition-packed (and meet the above guidelines) to speed me back on my way to health? Ideally, things I'll be able to prepare with relative ease once my darling helper here flies home, or things he could cook ahead of time and leave me with for easy reheating.

Thanks in advance for the advice!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Oh, many sympathies on your broken wing! Look for full-fat yogurt - it's fabulous stuff (especially with honey & walnuts). Lots of calcium and happiness - I'm convinced that healthy high-fat food helps improve health because it makes us happy. :-)

    For protein, buy some sliced roast beef from a good deli, and make sandwiches with arugula (buy a prewashed bag to make your life easier) and goat cheese or a slice of whatever hard cheese makes you happy (buy it presliced or ask your boyfriend to slice it for you). Rolled slices of roast beef make a nice main course for a dinner, too - I love 'em dipped in prepared horseradish sauce, or lingonberry jam, or both.

    Fish is great for protein - brush it with oil then roast or broil it on a cookie sheet + tin foil for ease of lifting. And if you buy a bony fish (like salmon, mackerel, or trout), eat the bones for extra calcium. I'm not kidding - I love those fish bones.

    Broccoli has calcium, too; your sweetie can chop and steam fresh broccoli for you, but when you're alone, go for frozen broccoli.

    Best of luck with your healing!

    1. Beef stew freezes very well so you bf can cook a big pot of it and freeze in serving size portion, salmon can be cooked in the oven easily, fritatas and quiches also freeze well....

      Hope you have a fast recovery.

      1. I slipped on ice a few years back walking my new dog. Well of course I broke my fall with a badly injured wrist. Fortunately I didn't live alone so prep work was taken care of.
        Thinking simply about maneuvering things single handed. Utilize precut vegetables or ones prepared whole (it will be easier to cut cooked). Two smaller pans so its one handed. Scissors for opening packages. Electric can opener opens a lot of options. Rubber bands or other gripper for jars (or have them all almost not tight for now). Remember clean up, foil works well and pouring water into the pan (if safe) for ease.

        Just a couple ideas
        Baked salmon with roasted cherry tomatoes, capers and couscous and a dollop of yogurt.
        Baked chicken and baked potato with broccoli.

        1. My kind of Dr. Here is one that has been around for years. Make a big batch and the leftovers freeze well. I serve it up in pita pockets. It's also good in an omelette.


          1. I'm sorry! I did this (broken elbow) at work two years ago (slipped on ice). Be prepared for some rigorous physical therapy for you to get most (if not all) of the range of motion back in your arm.

            My ortho suggested adding extra alpha lipoic acid, Vitamin C, and D3 supplements for a couple months.

            I would advise you to eat plenty of shellfish if you can, and "fatty" fish like salmon, mackerel, etc, if you like them.

            Eat foods rich in phosporous--sunflower seeds and broccoli are good choices.

            I would buy bags of pre-cut broccoli florettes, and bags of shelled sunflower seeds.

            If you order takeout, the good stuff like turmeric combined with beef in a curried beef would be a good bet for you. Sushi, too, if you eat that--and eat the pickled ginger with it.

            Get yourself a bunch of bottles of Muscle Milk Lite...low in sugar and high in protein. Good boosts on days you can't eat right.

            Be patient...it takes a while, but you will be fine!!!

            1. Is it your dominant arm that's broken? If not, you should be able to handle some knife work, as long as you can use your other hand for stabilization. Simple grilled steaks will be a great way to get your red meat in that case.

              If you can't really handle a knife, I'd make things like pot roast or braised short ribs for red meat (cooked until completely fork tender). Fish is generally fork-tender too, if you don't overcook it. Make scrambled eggs so you don't have to do any fancy flipping maneuvers, or get pre-packaged pie crusts and make quiche with plenty of cream and cheese.

              2 Replies
              1. re: biondanonima

                it is my dominant hand (of COURSE!), but am i am semi-capable with the other hand. it's safe to use a knife (or i have a mandoline, and kevlar safety gloves), the results just aren't pretty.

                1. re: chartreauxx

                  In college, I broke my dominant arm above the elbow. The cast immobilized even my wrist, though I had almost full range of motion in the fingers. I was on a dorm meal plan, which was fortunate. In restrospect, there was an upside, which is that 40+ yrs later, I still have most of the left-handed abilities I developed during the 2 month recuperation. I got impatient with the post-cast exercises to flex my elbow (which was casted in a moderately-bend position) and took to carrying books in a bucket, which sped up my return to mobility.

                  As for nutrition, Ensure or other similar nutritional supplements were advised when I was recovering from abdominal surgery. I would not personally trust the body-building supplements from the likes of GNC, since ingredients and quality control on that type of thing has a checkered history.

              2. Broke my shoulder last year, and while I have live-in help (aka Mr. Pine, but a sous chef he is NOT), had to rely a lot on pre-cut stuff for cooking. Lots of frozen veggies (including frozen chopped onions, which will brown/carmelize nicely once they release excess water), plus cut fresh veggies from the salad bar area at the grocery store.

                Eggs are easy, and I perfected my 1-hand crack. Full fat Greek yogurt, with honey.

                Follow-up therapy was tough, but helped me regain full post-fracture use. Good luck!

                1. Hard boil a dozen eggs and have bf peel them before he leaves. Add them to salads, tuna salad, chop and warm very briefly for breakfast.

                  Hint - A pizza wheel works quite well as a one-handed cutter/knife.

                  Get your bf to remove the "safety" lids from cottage cheese, yogurt, milk and then re-cap them. Those are tough to do one-handed.

                  Microwave baked potato topped with cottage cheese & chives would make an easy small meal.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: MidwesternerTT

                    Great suggestion re. the hard boiled eggs. Eggland's Best also sells bags of precooked, pre peeled eggs in my area, for not too much money.

                  2. Oh no! That sounds pretty bad. I broke my upper arm just below my shoulder, but that was before I was real great in the kitchen so I subsisted on hot dogs and frozen foods LOL! And, definitely agree with the previous posters who mentioned doing your physical therapy. I didn't do it like I should have and I still have limited range of motion in my right upper arm (can't reach behind my back further down than my neck etc).

                    But, here's a few meal ideas that should be pretty easy to prepare with limited arm use:
                    http://www.kalynskitchen.com/2010/09/... This is pretty easy, especially if you use chicken tenderloins instead of sliced up chicken breast. You can buy jarred pesto and pre-shredded cheese (or enlist the BF to grate up a bunch before he goes). You can serve with a baby spinach salad with sundried tomatoes, almonds (both high in calcium) and bottled dressing.

                    This is along the same lines as the last one: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/09/sk... Enlist the BF to cut the tomatoes for you, or sometimes I just leave them off.

                    This is a very easy side dish if you use pre-cut broccoli. Broccoli is high in calcium: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2009/03/br...

                    This is one your BF could prepare and freeze for you: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2012/02/ch... I always increase the chicken amount to get the protein higher, and use full fat cheese.

                    These twice baked potatoes would be good too, using full fat cheese, and have a steak with it: http://www.skinnytaste.com/2013/01/br...

                    Also, look for recipes that use blackstrap molasses, it's super high in calcium.

                    1. Almonds and brazil nuts have both protein and calcium, celery is a good source of calcium and paired with peanut butter you'd get the protein too. Dark leafy green veggies and edamame have a lot of calcium.

                      Salmon and tuna in pouches are easy to open, don't have to be drained and if you had some pre-chopped veggies you could whip up salmon/ tuna salad easily. If you like the canned wild salmon with bones you'd get an extra bit of calcium.

                      Maybe your honey could help you make some things like breaded chicken "fingers" that you could just spray or brush with oil and bake when he's gone. They could be finger food since no one else will be looking. :)

                      He could portion things like pre-formed burgers, trimmed chicken breasts, etc. that could be frozen flat and then bagged individually. Have him loosen the tops of jars before he leaves. Nothing is more frustrating than not being able to get something open one handed. (Been there with my dominant wrist, done that, no fun.)

                      Your proactive approach and great attitude are sure to have you on your way to healing and back on your bike in no time, I hope you feel better a.s.a.p!

                      1. What a bummer!! I hope the a-hole in the car got in trouble with the cops!

                        Almond milk is actually much higher in calcium than dairy milk, unsweetened vanilla from almond breeze is my favorite.

                        I make a high protein bean mix with lentils, edamame, chickpeas, cubed tofu, almond slices and a vinegrette. The edamame is sold pre-shelled frozen and while foods has beans sold in boxes that you can cut off the top with scissors.

                        Trader joes has frozen salmon burger patties and high quality frozen seafood, also a great selection of pre cut veggies and fruits.
                        Fortified tofu actually has 3xs the calcium of cheese and would be easy to do a stirfry or slice marinate and bake.
                        I hope your recovery is swift!

                          1. Thanks guys! Today, I managed to compound the situation by breaking a finger on my left hand (now have broken left finger and broken right elbow). (Zombie 5k got a little physical, finger got snapped...)

                            These ideas are all so great and I'll definitely be depending on them as I heal. Thank you guys!

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: chartreauxx

                              Oh, no, and I thought I was accident-prone. With all the prior fractures I've had, I also developed a way to "trap" a jar between my hip and the countertop--could open it most of the time, anyway.

                              Hope you heal quickly!

                              1. re: chartreauxx

                                Oh no! When things turn this south I would really consider out of the box. Only you know what is comfortable to do. You need nutrition and rest. Do you have anybody that lives fairly close to you... Thinking sharing some meal duties even the simple opening of packages or chopping something can be challenging with your *limitations*. Of course you could just trade they make one extra and you compensate otherwise.
                                Not very chowish, frozen dinners could be approached.

                              2. You've gotten lots of great suggestions, and a smart doctor, too!

                                I just want to say heal up fast and feel better soon!