Healthy Foods and Healthy Choices

June 22, 2012


Garlic, peppers and olive oil decanterMeal preparation is one of many times during the day that a family caregiver can assist aging parents in making good and healthy decisions.  However, one of the many struggles of a caregiver is making certain that a variety of foods is offered and chosen.

Recently, experts at The Learning Channel compiled a list of ingredients you should always have on hand. Take a moment and check your pantry for these options.  .


Garlic contains a natural anti-clotting agent. It can also lower blood pressure and cholesterol, and this translates into lower chances of stroke or heart disease. There are several other health advantages as well. Garlic is easy to add to your diet. For the most health benefits, use fresh cloves and crush them yourself.

Canola Oil

Not all fat is bad. Canola oil is touted as one of the healthiest and most accessible oils out there. Canola oil has the lowest saturated fat content of any commonly consumed cooking oil in the United States. One great way to increase your intake of healthy unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids is to use canola oil when you cook.

Cottage Cheese

Low in calories and high in protein, cottage cheese makes an excellent spread. You can make things even more interesting by topping it with thinly sliced fresh fruit or a sprinkling of freshly ground cracked pepper.


A favorite spice of the ancients, and still popular today, ginger may help to alleviate many ailments, including digestive issues, circulation problems, headaches, nausea, and sore throats. Be cautious with its use though; some reports indicate ginger may increase stomach pains, and those taking blood-thinning medications will want to consult their physicians before including much ginger in their diet. Ginger is delicious sliced fresh and steeped to make tea, or minced and added to stir fry.

Olive Oil

Olive oil does have more saturated fat than canola, but it also has a more outstanding taste, making it perfect as a butter replacement or as a rich salad dressing. It’s also a great source of unsaturated fat.


Cinnamon tastes great, and works well as an anti-flatulent, can increase circulation, and may relieve joint pain. A sprinkle of cinnamon can improve many different foods, even savory foods like chicken and vegetable dishes. You can even add a spoonful to your coffee grounds before you brew your morning pot; the results are wonderful and coffee-shop worthy.

Peanut Butter

Yes, peanut butter is high in fat and calories, but nearly all of the fat is monounsaturated (the “good” kind). It’s also high in protein and fiber, and is quite filling. Add just a bit to your diet to gain its benefits without the guilt.


You many not be familiar with turmeric, but if you have tried Indian or Middle Eastern foods, you’ve probably eaten it. Health claims associated with turmeric are quite vast. They include: curing bladder infections and diarrhea, improving liver function, lowering cholesterol, speeding metabolism,  and slowing dementia and the growth of certain cancers. Turmeric is a powerful spice, so try a light sprinkle on eggs, soups, and rice.


Really, butter? Yes. Used sparingly, butter can be a healthy meal ingredient. It is a wiser spread choice  than margarine, since butter is a natural and simple food. Ingredients are simply cream and perhaps salt.

Preparing food for elderly parents can present many challenges; we must make good choices for them, while pleasing their palate.  Sometimes simple changes can make a big difference.

What are your favorite foods?  Do you have a favorite recipe to share in our readers’ forum?

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