Don’t despair if you enjoy good food and cooking! You know that healthy eating and MS-friendly foods aid MS people to better manage their condition and relieve some symptoms associated with the “wrong” types of foods. Your healthcare team has probably talked to you about dietary changes that you need to make. If you’re one of many people with MS who enjoy eating and cooking, you still have lots of options. They’re just healthier choices than you may have followed in the past. Some people with MS find that modifying how they cook makes it easier to still love their time in the kitchen without worsening common MS symptoms like fatigue, balance or mobility problems, and cognitive challenges that make you more likely to mix up recipe ingredients.
Making your favorite MS meals doesn’t have to be a chore if you follow a few common sense tips:
1. Save time and effort by equipping your kitchen with a food processor and blender, as well as gadgets that reduce prep time.
2. The most important part of successful MS meal prep is the foods you choose. Select MS-friendly foods that can be quickly and easily turned into healthy meals. Consider these options:
Canned foods – beans, low-sugar fruit, tomatoes, tuna fish, salsa
Frozen vegetables – These are every bit as healthy as fresh veggies; just be sure to avoid brands with high salt content.
Brown rice and whole-wheat pasta – These are high in fiber and an easy base for lots of recipes. Add a tasty sauce to the pasta or cooked chicken breast and spices to the rice and you’re good to go!
Pre-cut vegetables and fruits, and bagged salads – These are also great time-savers and eliminate the need for you to do lots of chopping, sometimes a difficult chore with MS.
3. If you have mobility challenges or use a wheelchair, pick meals and recipes that you can more readily manage from your chair or from a sitting position. Avoid meals that require you to lift heavy pots and pans or ones that require you to hurry back and forth between kitchen appliances to keep the recipe on track.
4. Another good tip for managing MS fatigue is to use a slow-cooker. You can make a delicious one-pot meal that contains all your healthy choices – lean protein such as chicken, vegetables and beans or whole wheat pasta. Add your favorite spices, a little liquid and just forget about it. Slow-cookers are ideal for people who work outside the home; it’s wonderful to come home to the fragrant aroma of homemade slow-cooker meals.
5. Get your family involved! Don’t be afraid to ask family members to help you out more in the kitchen. An added benefit – you teach your kids and maybe your spouse how to be a better cook.
6. Avoid overly complicated recipes. Some people with MS develop cognitive symptoms that make it harder to concentrate on or recall overly detailed instructions. Keep it simple, healthy and achievable.
Healthy and tasty meals are possible for you and your family, so get cooking!