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Jan 13, 2014 10:14 AM

Recipes (Meal Ideas) for someone who doesn't cook?

I would be very thankful for any ideas on this subject!

Little background: The question is for my father. He is in his 60's and recently diagnosed with diabetes. He cannot cook (and will not try much!!!) although he did ask me how to make scrambled eggs the other day. After his diabetes diagnosis (about a year and a half ago) he lost a ton of weight and was doing very well, however because he doesn't cook and was living on chicken breasts, canned tuna, salads, and frozen veggies old habits started creeping back in when he got bored of eating the same four things.

I am trying to come up with some ideas for easy meals for him. I've taught him about eggs and how to add on some simple items to what he is eating to add variety. He has to limit his carb intake so pastas, rice, and breads must be very limited. He also can't eat veggies like corn, or peas and fruit with a lot of sugar or carbs (apples, bananas) are a big no-no.

As you can see he's limited...and I am running out of ideas. Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated. I do cook meals for him (and freeze portions) so even ideas that are diabetes and freezer friendly would help me help him. I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask this question, so thank you in advance!

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  1. I'd start with large-batch foods, such as soups and stews.
    Vegetable soup
    Creamy vegetable soups that are pureed so no real cream is needed (butternut, cauliflower, pumpkin, asparagus)
    Chili with a ton of veggies and ground turkey
    You get the idea- make it once, eat it several times.

    Can you get him a slow cooker? It might be helpful to sell him the idea that all he has to do is a bit of prep and dump in the morning and forget about it for the rest of the day.

    1 Reply
    1. re: monavano

      Thank you! He does have a slow cooker-so that is helpful and it's easy to create meals with it.

    2. Log on to the Special Diets board, as well. You may find lots of answers there.

      1 Reply
      1. re: critter101

        Thank you! I hadn't noticed that board before!

      2. Does he like fish? When I'm trying to eat the way that his health requires, a quick meal of vegetables and a fish filet is delicious. Can even be successfully microwaved...

        3 Replies
        1. re: mr99203

          He does like fish. I should look up some ways to microwave it...that would be less intimidating for him which may lead to him learning more. Thank you!

          1. re: sarathegreat

            Take a look at Barbara Kafka's Microwave Gourmet book. She is a huge fan of fish in the nuke and has lots of good ideas. There's a vast trove of info in the (I think she calls it) index that shouldn't be ignored as well as the specific recipes.

            1. re: monfrancisco

              Thanks I will look into that! I think the info on how to do simple things will be especially useful.

        2. Definately use the slow cooker! There are a ton of websites dedicated to them.
          I just found this from cooking light:

          A while back i kept seeing a recipe for salsa chicken- baically a jar of salsa and chicken. Done. I'm sure google can help you find the "recipe", i never made it (i'm vegetarian).
          Teach him how to make hard boiled eggs-perfect for a snack or adding to salads.

          Also teach him how to roast veggies- just the basic olive oil (make sure he measures it) and salt/pepper whatever seasonings he likes. Everyone gets sick of steamed veggies since they're often mooshy and water-logged. Then he can roast broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts, cabbage, etcetc.

          Salads are the perfect no cooking fast food, but so many people get stuck in a boring greens and dressing rut. I have my own "formula" for a meal sized salad, you could make him a handy little chart with examples that are his favorites and appropriate for his diabetes.

          I do: base of greens (i switch from mixed greens, arugala, spinach etc) + chopped raw veggies (most groceries even sell pre chopped veg now) + a whole grain (quinoa, brown rice, etc) + protein +small amount of fat (nuts, seeds, avocado, cheese) + really flavorful salad dressing

          Great salad toppers include left over roasted veggies, beany thick chili, olives or capers, pickled veggies, or whatever is leftover in the fridge.

          3 Replies
          1. re: Ttrockwood

            I love roasted veggies but I have never made a mushy waterlogged steamed veg in my life.
            He can steam them in the microwave and keep extras for snacks.

            1. re: Ttrockwood

              Perfect ideas! I love making charts so it will be fun (I must be crazy haha) to make a chart with ingredients for salads. There really is such a great variety of what you can do but you're right it's so easy to get bogged down in greens and dressing. Thank you!

              1. re: sarathegreat

                My sister just told me she uses this recipe for the slow cooker salsa chicken. She doesn't like anything too spicey and said it was great with a black bean salsa or mango salsa too. And she's used chicken breasts no problem.

            2. salsa can be tossed onto most proteins - salmon, chicken, turkey chops - and then throw it in the oven and bake - it'll keep the protein moist and flavorful with very little effort and very healthy. spices are also his friend - paprika, garlic powder, onion powder - can all be sprinkled on chicken and then thrown in the oven and baked for dinner with very little effort.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ahuva

                Yes! Salsa! Love that idea-thank you!

                1. re: sarathegreat

                  Just be sure the salsa doesn't contain any added sugars - tomatoes are carb-y to begin with.

                  Pesto is another great option for adding tons of flavor and moisture. A mustard-mayo combination seasoned with his favorite herbs and spices also works well.