Well Balanced Affordable Meals for COPD
Last updated: September 2020
I live on Social Security. I have no other income, I don't get food stamps or low income housing. I am telling you this so you know you can eat right even on a limited income. I am on a heart healthy diet. No salt, caffeine, and as little cholesterol as possible.
Due to the restrictions on my diet, I look at the label of anything I buy to check the salt, cholesterol, and calorie count. You may need to start checking the carbohydrates if you want to lose weight. They are high in calories and you want to limit your calories if you want to lose weight. When cooking for 1, I started buying a lot of my food at the Dollar Tree. Their frozen food is small, but great if you're cooking for one. They have a good variety of meat package for one, like a 4oz pork chop, 3 oz ribeye steak, two chicken thighs, and fish fillet. They are the only place I found sour cream food that tastes good and has no cholesterol. I'm not a name brand buyer, other than fresh foods I do all my shopping there now. Big money saver, if you live on a tight budget give them a try.
For my height and weight my calories intake are right where it should be. I eat a small amount every 2 hours, better for breathing. Most things I listed can be bought at the Dollar Tree. (For those who want to know, they take food stamps.) Most things I get are packaged for 4. Here is a quick example, on how to feed a family of 4 or make 4 meals for one (eat one when cooked, freeze others for another day) on a tight budget. 1 box Au gratin potatoes, ($1.00) 1lbs ground turkey,($1.97 makes 4 1/4 lbs patties), frozen broccoli and cheese sauce, ($1.00), pudding or jello cups for dessert ($1.00 for 4). Total meal for 4 $4.97 about $1.25 each person. If you're single you have 4 healthy meals for $1.25 each. My food budget is about $25 a week and I eat a fairly good diet. When it comes to food shopping I look for sales and don't buy anything not on my list. Even on a low budget you can eat well it just takes knowing where to shop and eliminate all the junk food, like chips, candy, fast food, takeout and delivery. Following is a sample of the type food I eat.
A sample of what I eat:
Bacon, egg and cheese cooked on a toaster English muffin. I have a round microwaveable dish made for this purpose. I take the precooked bacon put in on the bottom, then the egg, (I break the yoke), then the cheese, close the cover, cook in microwave for 1 min, and it's done, put on buttered English muffin. I have it with coffee or a small glass of juice. Other things I eat for breakfast are, bagels and cream cheese, small breakfast burrito, sausage and French toast, oatmeal or grits. All (but the burrito and bagel) are brought from the store individually packaged or pre-cooked, microwavable and takes less than 5 minutes to prepare and cook. It takes me about 10 min to do the burrito, as I make my own filling in a fry pan. One thing I want to let you know is that I eat very small portions. You breathe much better if you don't over eat.
I drink either water, juice, (sometimes with Vodka) and one of the following; hot pockets, individual pizza, soup, salad, ravioli, chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese, salad or a sandwich. All of the above except the salad and sandwich come in individual microwavable servings. Again they take less than 5 min to make. I often go out for lunch, when I do I never can eat all I get so I have the leftovers for dinner. Sometimes I have enough for the next day too. My grandsons always laugh at how little I eat when we go out and tell me I won't have to cook for days, I'll just be eating the leftovers.
I also drink either water or caffeine free soda and portions are small. Last night I had Au gratin potatoes, boneless rib eye steak, and broccoli and cheese sauce. This meal took me 15 minutes to cook, the Au gratin potatoes and broccoli were done in microwave and steak in the toaster oven. I also eat things like chicken Cordon Bleu, chicken stuffed with cheese broccoli, chicken stuffed with brie cheese and mushroom, breaded boneless pork chops, pot roast, meat loaf, roast pork and turkey. All of these I have just mentioned are pre-made. Some are ready to throw in my toaster oven, in 15 to 25 minutes they're already. Some, like the pork chops, pot roast, meat loaf, roast pork and turkey are precooked and come with vegetables in the same pan and can be microwaved in 5 to 10 minutes.
If I'm going to cook the meat in my toaster oven I will cook some vegetables in the oven at the same time, like baked sweet potatoes. Most of my veggies are done in my microwave. I get them pre-seasoned, with cheese sauce, cream sauce, or just spices. I even get ready-made precooked loaded potatoes for the microwave that are ready in five minutes. There are many other microwavable foods than the ones I mentioned. Pre-made casseroles, precooked shrimp, beef and chicken all can be found in the meat department of most stores. No matter what your taste I'm sure you'll find something you like.
I drink water throughout the day and keep a fresh glass in every room. I eat snacks throughout the day things like a banana, Jell-O cup, pudding, fruit and grain bar, fruit cocktail, doughnut sticks, ice cream, grapes, prunes and sometimes popcorn. Most of these snacks are soft, easy to chew, swallow, and they will not overfill, bloat, or interfere with your breathing.
Recently one of my stepdaughters moved in with me. She has visitation with her sons and my great granddaughter. On their last visit the youngest helped me make Taco Pie. All my grandkids love my Taco Pie and take turns helping me make it. I browned and seasoned the ground turkey, then we sat at my table and Nikolaus helped me do the rest. We used round tortilla chips, refried beans, seasoned ground turkey, pack of Mexican three cheeses blend, and green salsa. We put refried beans on each chip and lined bottom and sides on baking dish. Then we put a layer of the meat, sprinkle with salsa and cover with cheese. Then we did another layer till the dish was full. I then crumble a few chips and sprinkle over the cheesy top. Cooked for 30 minutes, served with sour cream, salsa and a small salad.
Renee (my stepdaughter) forgot to take a picture of Taco Pie before putting in oven and of everyone enjoying a great dinner.
Finished Taco pie! Nikolaus was a big help - everyone loved it.
The cost of the meal with salad was $1.05 a person and I had enough for 6 people. Fruit punch to drink and pudding adding another $.50 bring the cost to $1.55 for a home made, nutritionally balanced dinner. With a little trying you too can find some inexpensive, healthy, easy to cook and eat meals. Don't let a small budget stop you from getting the nutrition and energy you need to live the best COPD life you can. Bon Appetit. Breathe deep & easy
Editor’s Note: We are extremely saddened to say that on March 2, 2018, Mary Ultes passed away. Mary was an engaged advocate for the COPD community who strived to help people live fulfilling lives. She is deeply missed.
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