Patient Referral

Cooking for Comfort: Small Plate, Big Taste

Cooking for Comfort is a Crossroads Hospice blog series designed to bring you ideas for beneficial recipes specifically for aging adults and loved ones dealing with serious illnesses. If you have a request for a recipe idea for a particular illness or need, send us an email.


It’s not uncommon to think about end-of-life eating and visualize the presence of some sort of feeding tube. The truth is, the presence of that feeding tube isn’t always so common. Deciding on whether or not to use a feeding tube is a huge decision for a family or caregiver to make and it’s not a simple black-and-white choice. The decision process takes time.  

In the case that feeding tube is declined, patients are fed orally as tolerated. And, it’s at that point where what you’re feeding your loved one can change the way they experience the end of life. Food has the ability to provide people comfort in many different forms.

Take it from Rebecca Katz, chef, author and nutritionist who specializes in cooking for cancer patients and survivors. Her philosophy is: the way our patients eat can transform their end-of-life experiences:

“Often times, food can be a tremendous comfort to people who are terminally ill, but not the way you may think,” she says.

For this, Katz offered several examples. From one perspective, it’s not always the physical texture of the food that is important. It’s the flavor that provides comfort:

“Do they have a particular craving for a favorite food?” Katz asks. “If so, they may just want a bite or two. I think it’s important to create food that has big taste and flavor — food should be nourishing and an invitation to eat — not a have to.”

Here are some ideas for flavorful plates you can quickly serve to the loved one you’re caregiving. Just remember to serve them in small portions:

Curried Chicken and Grape Salad

This is a delicious deli favorite that everyone enjoys. It’s quick to make and serves five, but you can always dish out smaller portions and save the rest in the refrigerator for later.


What You’ll Need:



-1/2 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

-2 tablespoons lemon juice

-2 to 3 teaspoons curry powder

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-1/4 teaspoon pepper



-3 cups diced deli rotisserie chicken (from 2- to 2 1/2-lb chicken)

-1 cup thinly sliced celery

-1 cup seedless red grapes, halved

-3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted


How to Make it:


-Stir dressing ingredients in a large bowl until well mixed.

-Add chicken, celery and grapes.

-Sprinkle with almonds.


Apple and Raisin Oat Muffins


They’re best hot and straight from the oven, but this recipe make 12 of these tasty treats so you can always box them up as a mid-morning snack as well!


What You’ll Need:


-2 apples

-2 handfuls of raisins

-1 1/2 cups of self-rising flour

-1 cup of oats

-2/3 cup of brown sugar

-1 ½ teaspoon baking powder

-1/2 teaspoon salt

-3/4 cup skim milk

-2 egg whites

-A dash of vanilla extract

-2 tablespoons honey


How to Make it:


-Preheat oven to 180 degrees.

-Combine the flour, oats, sugar, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl.

-Mix milk, egg whites and vanilla extract in separate bowl.

-Combine the two bowls and stir until all the ingredients are mixed.

-Add raisins.

-Grate two apples into mixture and stir until fruit is evenly distributed.

-Line cupcake tray with papers, or grease individually.

-Spoon portions into each holder.

-Bake in preheated oven for roughly 20 minutes, until tops are golden brown.


Comfort food takes on a whole new level of importance when you’re a caregiver.

For more caregiver resources, check out the Caregiver blog.


If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.
Copyright © 2016 Crossroads Hospice. All rights reserved.


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