Monthly Archives: September 2015

Gifts for Seniors

senior-lady-smilingMany times, comfort, practicality, and improvement in quality of life may outweigh novelty when picking a gift for an elderly person. Getting seniors a gift can be very challenging. This is because they might have downsized their living spaces or may live in group home with little to no personal space. Thus, house gifts may be out of the question. While gifts of time and companionship can be even more valuable than something tangible, worry not! Below is a list of gift ideas that will still make them feel loved as well as appreciated.

Meal Gifts

Food gifts for the elderly are a brilliant idea because it’s hard for seniors to shop. Also, dietary restrictions may be hard to keep up with. While cooking may be a daunting task, healthy, frozen delivered food gifts are perfect for any senior.’s wonderfully prepared meals are created to ensure that the most important people in your life will receive the best of nutritious delicacies. On the Menu, you’ll be able to find the perfect gifts including home-style healthy meals, main course, meals for one and desserts. The ease of preparation is a great way to ensure that the seniors in your life are perfectly catered for.

Wine Gifts

Wine gifts are the most heart healthy for seniors. A nice bottle of wine can go a long way. This gourmet gift of sophistication and delighting flavors are often loved in varieties of sparkling, reds, French or Italian. Pour up a glass and let the seniors in your life wash it down together with the best delicacies.

Gift Baskets

Filling a basket with everyday items that wouldn’t normally come to mind in regards to seniors is a great gift idea. Gift baskets are simple to create and don’t cost very much. Make a basket of the senior’s favorite cookies, candles, jam, cheese or desserts.

Gift Certificates

Certificates such as Gift certificates are great for last minute gifts. The gift certificates let the senior choose the meals of their choice. The personal greeting included makes it that much more special. Other common gift cards include; shopping gift cards, massage and meal/ restaurant gift cards.

Gifts from the heart are valuable and reflect the care and appreciation you feel for your loved one. Some of the very best presents can’t be wrapped- they are thoughts and gestures that come straight from the heart. Even so, these sentimental love gifts for seniors will show them just how much they mean to you.

For more information on the best gifts for seniors, go to!


It’s Apple Season- The Many Benefits of Apples!

apple-a-dayGo ahead and take a bite of a crisp, ready-to-eat apple. It’s the most common way people eat apples. Canned, baked, and purred into applesauce are popular ways to enjoy apples, too. In the United States, people eat a lot of apples. In fact, the average adult eats 46 pounds of apples a year. And that’s great, because apples are loaded with vitamins and nutrients that can improve your health. Apples can help:

1. Lower Cholesterol

Want to protect your heart? Eat more apples. Apples are a good source of dietary fiber proven to help control “bad” cholesterol, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. The fiber in apples helps prevent your body from absorbing LDL cholesterol that can block your arteries and lead to a heart attack or stroke.

2. Support Weight Management

If you need to lose weight or want to maintain a healthy weight, eating apples can help. When you’re hungry for a snack skip the candy bar (200-plus calories) and have an apple (95 calories). Apples are not only lower in calories than snack foods like candy, chips, and fast food, they also help control hunger and improve metabolism, according to a University of Iowa study.

apple-basket3. Prevent Colds

It’s no secret that getting the flu vaccine and proper hand washing are good ways to avoid catching a cold or the flu. Strengthening your immune system by eating healthy can help too. Apples are a good source of vitamin C your body needs to keep your immune system healthy.

4. Protect Against Cancer

Modern medicine has made it possible to treat many forms of cancer. But it’s still the second leading cause of death in the United States, second only to heart disease. It makes sense to do everything you can to avoid cancer. And one of those things is eating a healthy diet. Several studies have found that chemicals in apples contain compounds that may help prevent colon, liver, and breast cancers.

5. Improve Brain Function

Want to give your brain a boost? Eat more apples. New research suggests that apples contain nutrients that help improve the health of nerve cells in the brain that may help lower the risk for age-related memory loss and Alzheimer’s disease.’s Dutch Apple Pie

Add More Apples to Your Diet

If you want to add more apples to your diet, it’s easy. At this time of year, you’ll kind all kinds of varieties available at the grocery store, farmers markets, and road side stands. At, we’ve also found some tasty, healthy and creative ways to use apples in our Dutch Apple Pie, Apple & Sage Stuffing, and Chicken & Apple Curry with Jasmine Rice & Broccoli.


Keeping Your Heart Healthy on Dialysis

Heart disease is a major health problem in the United States. An estimated 735,000 adults have a heart attack every year, and thousands more struggle with heart-disease-related problems. And if you’re on dialysis, it’s even more important to be proactive about keeping your heart healthy. Here are some things you can do to be heart-healthy:

blood-pressureControl blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes, you already know controlling blood sugar levels is critical to your health. If you don’t have diabetes, do everything you can to avoid developing the disease. Food choices, exercise, and medication can help.

Manage blood pressure

Elevated blood pressure levels can damage your heart. And if you have kidney problems, high blood pressure increases your risk for other problems too. Checking your blood pressure regularly and talk to your healthcare provider about what you can do to lower your blood pressure. Like diabetes, food choices, exercise, and medication can help control blood pressure.

MedicationLower cholesterol

When cholesterol levels get too high, fatty deposits cling to artery walls and make it harder for your heart to pump blood throughout your body. A simple blood test can determine your cholesterol levels. If your cholesterol levels are too high, talk to your doctor about medications and lifestyle changes that can help.

Eat heart-healthy foods

One of the best things you can do to protect your kidneys, your heart, and your health is to eat the right foods. Track the amount of calories and protein you’re eating with a food journal or mobile app. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, and eat more heart-healthy foods like salmon, tuna, trout, and foods made with walnuts, and healthy oils (flaxseed or canola).

Eggplant Parmigiana, a Dialysis Meal
Eggplant Parmigiana, a Dialysis Meal

At, we know how important it is for dialysis patients to eat heart-healthy foods. Take a look at or selection of Dialysis-Friendly Meals, and you’ll find heart-healthy options that are high in protein and also contain a limited amount of sodium, potassium, and phosphorus. Some favorites include Sweet and Sour Chicken with Zucchini & Onion Sauté, Eggplant Parmigiana with Whole Wheat Fettuccini, Baked Tilapia, Brown Rice & Minted Carrots, and many others.

Get regular exercise
Health professionals recommend that adults get at least 30 to 60 minutes of moderate physical activity a day. Go for a walk. Ride a bike. Workout at the gym. Even doing housework or grocery shopping at a brisk pace can elevate your heart rate and help you lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.

Talk to your doctor
When you have kidney disease and are on dialysis, it’s important to talk with your doctor regularly about your health, diet, lifestyle habits, and well-being. Regular check-ups will help your doctor monitor your health for things like anemia, high homocycteine levels, and other problems and take action to protect your health.


Fun Fall Activities for Seniors

Rear View Of Senior Couple Walking Along Autumn PathWhen the seasons change, trees begin to lose their leaves, and temperature drops, you know Mother Nature is ushering in the fall season. But that hardly means it’s time to start thinking about hibernation. There are many fun and enjoyable activities you can do with family and friends in the fall:

Take a trip to see fall colors
Want to see fall colors up close? Take a trip to a favorite hiking trail, forest area, or even an apple orchard. You’ll be surrounded by fall colors, enjoy brisk autumn air, and even get a little exercise by going for a short hike or picking apples.

Carve a pumpkin
Maybe it’s been years since you carved a pumpkin. But think back to your younger years, when you were a kid, or your own children were excited about fall. And you’ll remember how much fun carving a pumpkin can be. You can even cook the seeds and enjoy a healthy snack.

Harvest Time
Visit a farmer’s market. Fall produce and crafts are for sale, and even if you don’t buy, it’s a nice walk with interesting things to look at!

knitting2Teach what you Know
Are you an expert knitter, woodworker, sailor, or craftsperson? Talk to your grand kids, and pass along your knowledge. Alternatively, ask if you can teach an informal class at your local church or community center.

Organize a meal with friends

If you live in an area where fall weather bids farewell to summer with rain and cooler temperatures, you know you’ll be spending more time indoors. That’s a good reason to organize a meal with friends to visit, play games, and catch up. And you don’t have to sweat about what to serve. Our Senior Meals menu has all kinds of healthy and easy-to-prepare foods you and your friends will enjoy.

Visit a craft sale
You might not be thinking about the holidays just yet, but it won’t be long before kids will start sending their wish-lists to Santa. Fall is a great time to visit a craft sale where local artists sell all kinds of interesting and useful hand-made crafts, foods, and other items. It’s also a good place to meet up with friends, and get ideas for crafts you could make on your own.

Root for your favorite football team
Got an alma mater, or a favorite football team (high school, college, or professional)? Fall marks the beginning of football season. Make plans to attend a game or watch your favorite teams play on TV. You could even host a football party and serve a meal or snacks from the Seniors Meal menu.

Fall is a great time of year to celebrate, spend time with family and friends, and of course, enjoy healthy, heart-warming, food.


Portion Control – Basic Cooking Tactics for the Beginner

healthy-meal-prepIf you’re trying to lose weight, or maintain a healthy weight you’ve worked hard to achieve, you know your food choices play a big part in tipping the scale in the right direction. But for a lot of people, making smart choices for meals and snacks isn’t always easy.

You probably don’t have a personal chef, unlimited food budget, or loads of free time to dedicate to eating healthy all the time. But it’s still possible to change your eating habits for the better. Here are some things you can do to make healthier meals:

Keep It Simple

Forget about making gourmet meals with expensive and hard-to-find ingredients. Find healthy and easy-to make recipes that have a few basic ingredients (especially fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, nuts and seeds, and legumes) and common seasonings, herbs, and spices. Here are some excellent healthy recipe websites:,,

Man cooking and woman looking recipe in electronic tabletFollow Directions
Unless you’re a professionally trained chef, leave the experimentation to the experts. When you’re trying to eat healthy and make your own meals, it’s important to follow the recipe’s directions. Your culinary creations are far more likely to turn out right when you use the specified ingredients, and be healthier when you follow directions.

Cooking is a Skill That Requires Practice

If you’ve been used to eating at fast food restaurants on a regular basis instead of cooking at home, you’re going to need to practice cooking healthy meals. At first, the dishes you prepare might not turn out like you expect. And that’s OK. It’s just part of the learning process. Be patient with yourself, learn from your mistakes, and before long making healthy meals at home will be a lot easier. Watching the Food Network will give you some great tips as well!

Have to have fast food? Make the right choices.

Many restaurants have healthy choices,  it’s a matter of being aware what’s good for you and what’s bad for your diet. here are a few good tips:

Have a Backup Plan for Healthy Meals

One of the common pitfalls of adopting healthy eating habits to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, is the lack of a backup plan. When you’re pressed for time, you might not have a lot of time to cook. Without a backup plan, it’s all too easy to turn to fast food loaded with empty calories when it’s time to eat. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Plated Meal- Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from
Plated Meal- Spinach-Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans from

Choose Your Favorite Portion Control Meals
If cooking isn’t your thing, or you know you’re going to be pressed for time, you can still eat healthy. Make Portion Control Meals by your backup plan to stick to your goals. Our professional chefs have prepared dozens of healthy, tasty, and lower-calorie meals like Chicken & Apple Curry With Jasmine RiceBeef Pot Roast with Mushroom Gravy, Brown Rice & Green Beans, Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans, and many others.

Cook healthy meals at home and have a backup plan to eat healthy when you’re extra busy, and you’ll be headed in the right direction to lose weight and maintain a healthy weight.



CKD Patients, Tips to Get Through Winter

When winter weather arrives, many people look forward to snowfall, winter activities like skiing and snowboarding, and the coziness of drinking hot chocolate or coffee by a warm fire indoors. You might enjoy these things too, but when you have renal disease, it’s important to take certain precautions to protect your health during the cold-weather months.

stay-warmStay warm

Cold-weather alone won’t cause you to catch a cold. But frigid temperatures can shrink the size of blood vessels, force your heart to work harder, and increase your blood pressure. If circulation slows, it can have a negative impact on your kidneys. Fortunately, getting too cold is largely avoidable by dressing in layers and wearing warmer clothes. And if you’re worried about catching a cold, make it a point to wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water or use hand sanitizer regularly.

Protect your skin

Just because a typical winter day might be gray and overcast, doesn’t mean the sun’s rays are any less harmful than a hot summer day. In fact, the earth is actually closer to the sun during the winter months, and the sun’s ultraviolet rays are just as harmful. It’s important for everyone to protect their skin from the sun, even in the winter. Those with renal disease or people who recently received a kidney transplant may have a compromised immune system and need extra protection from the sun to prevent skin damage and skin cancer. Cover up and use sunscreen when you’re outdoors, even in the winter.

College friends gathered in group affection love and couples date night buddiesBe happy

The winter months and holiday line-up can lead to depression for many people with renal disease. Too much stress can be harmful to your mental health, physical health, and your immune system. You can beat the blues by planning ahead, organizing your schedule, and letting your family and friends know what your plans are. Enjoying time with people you like, watching funny movies, reading a good book, laughing, and getting regular exercise can also help you be happy, beat the blues, and be healthier.

Manage allergies

You’re coughing and sneezing. You have itchy, watery eyes. And even though it’s winter, you might not have a cold. It could be allergies. One in five people suffer from allergies, and symptoms can often be worse during the winter months. If you’re feeling under the weather, it’s important to strengthen your immune system to protect your kidneys and your health. If you think you have allergies, talk to your doctor about a simple test to find out what you might be allergic to and come up with a plan to treat them.

Renal meal delivered
Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Green Beans- A renal diet meal from

Eat healthy

It’s probably the most important rule to follow for people with renal disease. You already know you need to follow specific diet to protect your kidneys and your health. And it doesn’t have to be hard. Our large selection of Renal Meals will keep you happy, healthy, and well-fed through the winter with foods like Turkey Chili with Brown Rice, Cheesy Vegetable Omelet, Hash Browns and Broccoli, Beef Stew, Carrots & Mashed Potatoes, and many other choices.

Winter doesn’t have to be a worry for people with renal disease. Stay warm, protect your skin, be happy, manage allergies, and eat healthy, and you’ll be happy to have a visit from Old Man Winter.


7 Salt-Slashing Tricks

saltnoEat less salt. You’ve heard the advice before. And it might sound like it’s a sentence to somehow enjoy eating flavorless foods. Fortunately, many foods and dishes still taste great without being loaded with sodium, and there are multiple ways you can lower the amount of sodium in your diet.

Keep Your Hands Off the Salt Shaker

If you’re trying to eat less sodium, an easy place to start is to keep your hands off the salt shaker. For most people, eating processed foods is usually the source of too much sodium. But if you’re a regular salt shaker reading-labelwho seasons foods like tomatoes, corn, mixed vegetables, and even watermelon with salt, putting the salt shaker down can help you cut back on sodium.

Beware of Sauces, Mixes, and Seasonings
It’s easy to overlook, but things like sauces, salad dressings, and mixed seasonings usually contain high levels of sodium. If you’re not sure how much sodium a sauce, mix or seasoning contains, read the food label. Keep in mind that a healthy amount of sodium is 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg a day.

Look for Low-Sodium Options

An estimated 1 in 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Too much sodium in the diet is often a factor. Fortunately, many food manufacturers have made low-sodium versions of soups, cheeses, prepared meals, and other foods to help you cut back on sodium.

Plated Beef Tenderloin Low Sodium Meal

At we’ve created a large selection of Low Sodium Meals that make it easy to cut back on sodium and still enjoy tasty, mouth-watering meals like Zesty Orange Chicken Tenders, Corn and Pepper Medley, and Mixed Greens, Cheese Manicotti & Vegetable Alfredo, Meatballs with Penne Pasta & Broccoli, and many others.

Steer Clear of Fast Food
Fast foods like burgers, fries, pizza, hot dogs, and fried foods are some of the worst offenders when it comes to sodium. These are foods you want to limit or avoid to eat less sodium. If you’re pressed for time, order a salad and go easy on the dressing or eat some fresh fruit. If you do go out to eat, ask for any sauces to be served on the side.

Season Foods with Herbs and Spices
Fresh herbs in mortar
Just because your doctor told you to cut back on sodium, doesn’t mean you have to settle for bland-tasting food. In fact, herbs and spices can add a lot of flavor to your favorite foods (not to mention vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants), without adding sodium to your meal.

Salt-Cravings Change with Time
If you’re trying to cut back on your taste for salty foods, be patient. It takes time to retrain your taste buds and your brain to enjoy food that isn’t loaded with sodium. Gradually reducing the amount of sodium you consume is the best way to make the change.


Top Ten Fall Power Foods for Your Diabetes

When you have diabetes, you’ve got to monitor a number of factors to protect your health. Checking your blood sugar levels a few times a day is one of applethem. Regular exercise and weight management is too. But perhaps the most important factor that influences blood sugar levels is your food choices. If you have diabetes, add these Diabetic-Friendly top 10 fall power foods to your diet:

In a Harvard University study, researchers followed 200,000 people and monitored their blood sugar levels. They found that people who ate five or more servings of apples a week cut their risk of diabetes by 23 percent. Apples can also help you manage diabetes and control blood sugar levels. Try the Chicken & Apple Curry with Jasmine Rice & Broccoli.


This low-starch vegetable contains an antioxidant that helps control blood sugar levels. In a British Journal of Nutrition study, researchers found that people who ate asparagus at least a few times a week were more likely to have stable blood sugar levels and available insulin. Try the Grilled Chicken with Florentine Rice, Asparagus & Carrots.


Beans, also known as legumes, are a good source of fiber and protein for people with diabetes. Research by the American Heart Association shows that eating beans helps control blood sugar levels and lowers blood pressure, which are both important for people who have diabetes. Try the Chicken Cheese Enchilada with Tomatillo Sauce, Rice & Pinto Beans.


When you have diabetes, you have a high risk for other chronic conditions like heart disease. And if you want to prevent it, eat more broccoli. A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating broccoli help cut the risk for heart disease and early death. Try the Spaghetti & Meatballs with Broccoli and Corn.

Buttered Carrots
Buttered Carrots


Carrots may have a sweet taste, but they won’t raise your blood sugar level. In fact, carrots are low in carbohydrates, and a Stanford University study found that carrots may actually help control blood sugar levels and prevent diabetes. Try the Beef Patty with Carrots and Brussels Sprouts.


Eating fish a couple times a week is good for your heart and your health. It’s a recommendation from the Dietary Guidelines for Americans that applies to everyone, including people with diabetes. Fish contains omega-3 fatty acids that provide a long list of protective health benefits. Try the Salmon Caponata with Orzo & Spinach.


It may have a pungent aroma and give your breath a funky smell, but garlic is good for you. It’s a recommended food to include in your diet by the National Diabetes Education Program. Try the Spinach Mushroom Lasagna with Garlic Green Beans.

red-pepperRed peppers

If you’re trying to control calories to watch your weight and manage your diabetes, red peppers should be part of your diet. They’re loaded with antioxidants, help regular blood sugar levels, and eating a whole cup of red peppers is just fine because they’re a low-starch, low-carb vegetable. Try the Breaded Pollock, Peas with Mushrooms, Onions, Red Peppers, Carrots meal.


Eat more leafy greens. It’s what the American Diabetes Association recommended after a study on the effects of fruits and vegetables. Researchers found that eating more leafy greens cut the risk of developing diabetes by 14 percent. And if you already have diabetes, eating spinach can help control blood sugar levels, too. Try the Vegetable Caponata with Orzo & Spinach.

Heirloom Tomatoes
Heirloom Tomatoes


Tomatoes are another food that should be part of everyone’s diet, including people with diabetes. Tomatoes contain high levels of vitamins, nutrients, and antioxidants that protect your health in many ways. But steer clear of canned tomato products, that are often high in sodium. Try the Meatloaf & Tomato Sauce with Brown Rice & Broccoli, Peas & Corn meal.

Need more ideas to help you eat healthier? Check out all of our Diabetic-Friendly Meals.



Eight Glasses of Water per Day? Are You Kidding Me?…Yep!

Was it a cruel joke perpetrated by the bottled water industry? Was it designed, for some unknown reason, (maybe a nefarious government conspiracy) to get us all to pee more? No one is really sure where the 8×8 myth (we MUST drink eight, eight ounce glasses of water every day) came from. Where the myth originated doesn’t really matter, because most doctors and nutritionists now say that “rule” needs to go the way of similar myths, such as the one regarding not swimming after eating or that drinking Coke after eating Pop Rocks is lethal (Little Mikey from the LIFE commercial is still alive, by the way).water-question

There is absolutely no scientific evidence to support the 8×8 claim. Go ahead, conduct your own research and you’ll quickly reach the same conclusion numerous medical professionals have reached. We do NOT need to drink that much water every day. Of course, there are extenuating circumstances when we do require that much water, such as during and after vigorous activity, after sitting in a sauna for three hours, how much water we acquired from the food we’ve eaten (more on this later), or certain medical conditions. But if you’re an average human with an average activity level, research suggests you’ll be fine with half that amount.

This doctor says drinking that much water might actually dehydrate rather than hydrate your body!

Look, our bodies are wonderful, self-regulating mechanisms. And the mechanism that regulates our water intake is…wait for it…thirst! Your body will let you know when to ingest liquids by causing you to be thirsty. It’s as simple as that. Generally speaking, if we sweat or urinate an excessive amount we need to replace that lost liquid and the sensation known as thirst helps us do just that. Hell, some people have taken this myth to the extreme by drinking TOO much water which creates a life threatening condition known as hyponatremia which creates a dangerously low sodium level within the blood.

In fact, if you consume the proper foods, you can get nearly all the water your body needs. And what are “the proper foods?” Why fruits and veggies, of course. The following are comprised of over 90% water…it’s like eating solid water that’s not ice! Topping the list are cucumbers, followed by celery, radishes, tomatoes, bell peppers, cauliflower, watermelon (duh!), spinach, star fruit, strawberries, broccoli, grapefruit, baby carrots, and cantaloupe.

So next time you walk around all day sipping from a bottle of water because you read some article that claims the 8×8 “rule” reduces urinary tract infections, headaches, and fatigue, or helps with weight lose, or improves concentration, just remember that there is little to no scientific evidence to support those claims. The new rule? Drink water (not sugary sodas, juices or alcohol) when you’re thirsty and you’ll be fine.

Steve, blogger


About our President

lakeI recently got together with our busy president, Michelle Tayler, and asked her a few questions.

Q: Where did you grow up?

A: I grew up in Michigan living on a lake.  I enjoyed boating, water skiing and fishing in the summer, and snowmobiling in the winter.

Q: What got you interested in food?

A: I enjoy cooking and I enjoy a variety of types of foods.  I like the creativity of cooking and the feeling of preparing meals for family and friends.  In high school, I worked weekends in a pizza restaurant and pizza is still one of my favorite meals.

Q: What led to the company?

A: My career prior to was in high tech in business to business sales.  My partner and I wanted to start a company that was directly involved with people and making a difference in their lives.  We wanted to start a company that you feel good to be a part of.  Originally we thought people were busy and overall getting older, and the idea was to ease the burden of meal preparation, but then we got so many requests for special diets.  The special diets portion of our company has grown much more than we originally anticipated.

Q: Where do you see the company going?

A: As the country ages and the need for special diets increases, I see an increased demand for our special diet meals delivered to the home.  Providing the proper nutrition to people experiencing diabetes, heart disease, and chronic kidney disease can keep these people in their homes and healthier longer.

Our Thanksgiving Dinner, Available for Delivery
Our Thanksgiving Dinner, Available for Delivery

Q: Do you have a culinary memory to share?

A: When I grew up we never had a traditional thanksgiving meal, we had a themed meal which changed every year.  The most memorable thanksgiving meal was turtle soup…which was not a popular dish with the children at the dinner table!  I really enjoy a traditional thanksgiving meal these days and we make a good one with apple & sage stuffing and a delicious cranberry orange relish.

Q: What’s your most popular product?

A: On the HomeStyle menu, the chicken pot pie is the most popular item.  It comes in both an individual and family size.  On the special diet menu, the low sodium meals are very popular.  

Q: What led you to becoming a registered dietitian nutritionist?

A: The numerous requests we receive for special diets led me to return to school and become a registered dietitian.  I wanted to understand the science behind the medical diets that people are being prescribed by their doctors to better serve our customers.