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COVID-19 patients: How to Make Nutritious Meal Boxes

Due to the rise in COVID-19 infections in India, a rising group of restaurants, home chefs, cooks, supportive neighbours, and Good Samaritans are promising to feed COVID-19 patients and their caregivers in home isolation and hospitals. Many people began by sending homecooked tiffins to their sick neighbours, but after receiving calls from all over the country, they soon found themselves cooking several meals a day.

Thousands of COVID-19 patients and their families are consuming nutritious meals thanks to these individuals, and they have one less thing to think about. However, as more people try to help by providing homemade food, we spoke with physicians, nutritionists, and health experts about basic things to remember while preparing meals for COVID patients.

Fried and spicy foods are strictly forbidden.

Experts advise people to avoid spicy and fried foods because they can exacerbate health risks in COVID patients. “Avoid spicy and stomach-irritating foods because they can cause nausea and gastric problems, which can occur with COVID-19 on occasion. So keep this in mind while preparing a meal kit,” says Dr Ravindra Mehta, Ahmedabad’s director of pulmonary and critical care medicine.

“Patients should specifically avoid junk, dried, and canned food because of the presence of preservatives,” says nutritionist Arooshi Aggarwal. Consume sufficiently probiotics and fermented foods such as idli, dosa, yoghurt, and buttermilk.”

‘Keep it fresh, hydrating, non-spicy, and healthy when preparing a meal for COVID-19 patients.’

Most notably, COVID patients’ meals should be freshly made. “Fresh produce should always be used,” says wellness expert Dr. Varun Katyal. During the preparation of the food, all proper hygiene measures should be strictly followed. Since many COVID patients have trouble swallowing during their recovery, soft foods and liquid diets are a good place to start. Small meals should be eaten often, particularly at first, as consuming large portions can be difficult for the patient.”

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Good meals are available for covid patients from home cooks, restaurants, and neighbours.

Although some have free meals, others charge a small fee for a meal of daal, rice, vegetables, and chapatis. “We are providing special tiffins, containing light and healthy Indian vegetarian meals for COVID patients and their families,” says Bharti Sanghai, founder of an artisanal food restaurant that curates meals for COVID patients. There is no set menu; they can order whatever they want, whenever they want. Our simple meals, on the other hand, are 300 rupees and include daal, chapati, sabzi, and rice.”

From the last few weeks, Devender Chadha and his wife, residents of Sector 48 in Gurgaon, have been providing new, home-cooked meals to those who have been placed under home isolation. They claim to be able to take up to 20 orders a day and have a set menu that includes soups, fruits, and leafy vegetables. “We have a family of dieticians who were consulted before we decided on our menu. Since food is such an important part of the recovery process, we wanted to make sure that we not only provided fresh, homecooked meals, but that they were also protein-rich and nutritious,” says Chadha.

Expert opinion

“Meals should be a good source of protein, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C, zinc, and selenium,” says Himanshu Rai, a dietitian and nutritionist. These aid in a quicker recovery. Turmeric powder (rich in iron), mustard seeds (rich in iron & zinc), almonds (rich in zinc), mint leaves (rich in iron, selenium, vitamin C, beta carotene), and coriander leaves (rich in iron, vitamin C) can all be used in meals as immune-boosting ingredients. Mango, muskmelon, papaya, and watermelon can also be included on a daily basis.”

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Chef Saransh Goila, the creator of a website that matches food volunteers with patients, offers the following advice:

Don’t be fooled by WhatsApp forwards or online diet plans. There is no one-size-fits-all diet. Take advice from a doctor and a nutritionist if you have any problems such as diabetes. Eat low-oil foods and vegetables with high water content such as lauki, tori, and cucumber. Avoid packaged sweets or snacks. Over the next 14 days, don’t just eat khichdi (unless it’s packed with a dozen veggies); pair it with a bowl of veggies or a salad. If you’re ordering in any of your meals, try and keep it mostly vegetarian.

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