You’ve had surgery, you’ve successfully completed post-hospital rehab and now you’re heading home.
What are you planning on making for dinner?
Returning home means returning to your normal routine. If you’ll be cooking for yourself, or if you have someone cooking for you after rehab, give these easy and healthy recipes a try. We’ve also thrown in some healthy eating tips and menu planning resources. Dig in!
Meals and Menus For Someone Coming Home From Post-Hospital Rehab
Quick and Easy Recipes
Here’s an easy recipe for each meal of the day that you can try after you’ve returned home from inpatient rehab. First up, breakfast.
Breakfast: Skinny Omelet with Ham and Cheese
This healthy omelet recipe comes to us from AARP food expert Pam Anderson.
- 1 teaspoon oil
- 1/2 cup egg substitute, such as Egg Beaters
- Ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons each: chopped fresh parsley and thinly sliced scallions
- 1 slice (3/4 ounce) reduced-fat Swiss cheese, cut into small dice
- 1 ounce (scant 1/4 cup) extra-lean ham, cut into small dice
Directions: Heat oil in an 8-inch nonstick skillet over low heat while preparing ingredients. Beat egg substitute with pepper, parsley and scallions.
A couple of minutes before cooking, increase temperature under skillet to medium-high. When wisps of smoke start to rise from the pan, swirl oil around to completely coat.
Add egg mixture to the skillet and let stand for 10 to 15 seconds for bottom to set. Using a plastic or wooden spatula to push back the eggs that have set every several seconds, tilt pan so that the uncooked egg substitute runs into the empty portion of the skillet. Continue pushing back cooked eggs and tilting pan until omelet top is wet, but not runny. Turn heat to low and sprinkle on cheese and ham. Fold one-half of the egg mixture over the other; let stand a few minutes to warm through. Serve.
Lunch: Turkey Wrap
Try this light turkey wrap from the Mayo Clinic.
- 12 ounces sliced deli turkey (low-sodium)
- 1/4 cup avocado
- 1/4 cup salsa
- 2 whole-wheat tortillas (12-inch diameter)
- 1 cup shredded green cabbage
- 1/2 cup thin sliced carrots
- 1/2 cup sliced tomatoes
Directions: Mash avocado with salsa, mix well and set aside. Spread avocado salsa evenly over two tortillas. Evenly distribute cabbage, carrots, tomato slices and turkey between the two tortillas. Pile the ingredients in the center, running the full length of the tortilla.
Fold closest side of tortilla up toward you. Next, fold sides over and roll up, leaving seam on the bottom. Cut each tortilla in half. Serve.
Dinner: Creamy Tomato Fettuccini
The American Heart Association shares this tasty and heart-healthy pasta recipe. Serves four.
- 8 oz. uncooked, 100%, whole-wheat fettuccine (or spaghetti or angel-hair pasta)
- nonstick cooking spray
- 2 clove fresh, minced garlic
- 1/3 cup chopped onion (white or yellow, approximately 1 small)
- 2/3 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
- 2 Tbsp. chopped, fresh basil
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1/8 tsp. pepper
- 1 oz canned, low-sodium, diced tomatoes (undrained)
Directions: Cook pasta according to package directions. Spray 3-quart saucepan with cooking spray and heat to medium-high heat. Cook onion and garlic, stirring occasionally, until onion begins to turn translucent (crisp-tender).
Stir in remaining ingredients, breaking up tomatoes with a spoon. Heat to a boil, reduce to low-heat and simmer uncovered 8 minutes, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. Add pasta to sauce and toss.
More Healthy Recipes to Try After Surgery
There are a lot of great resources online for quick and easy recipes that are also healthy. If you’d like some more ideas, try searching on these popular sites that feature quick and healthy meals:
Menu Planning Resources
Home cooks everywhere know that sometimes the most challenging thing is coming up with a menu. If you’re struggling to come up with menu ideas, try these sample menus, grocery lists and recipes from ChooseMyPlate, a healthy eating program from the United States Department of Agriculture.
You can also find more sample menus for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks here, courtesy of the National Institute on Aging.
Healthy Eating Tips for Older Adults
Older adults have different nutritional needs than younger adults. Here are some quick and easy tips for older adults to improve your diet from ChooseMyPlate:
- To avoid too much sodium in your diet, add flavor to your food with spices and herbs instead of salt.
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables by slicing them up at the beginning of the week and adding them to your meal and snack routines. You can even buy pre-sliced fruits to save time.
- Talk to your doctor to make sure you’re avoiding any foods that will interfere with your medications. You may also want to ask about medication side effects if you’re experiencing an unusual change in your appetite.
- Try to drink 3 cups of fat-free or low-fat milk each day. For those of you who don’t like milk or unable to drink it, yogurt, buttermilk or hard cheeses can be good alternatives.
- Cut out sugary drinks and stick to water instead.
- Eat plenty of vitamin B12, which you can find in foods such as fortified cereals, seafood (mussels, oysters, salmon, tuna, crab, sardines and trout are great), beef, eggs and dairy products.
More Post-Hospital Rehab Tips
Do you have more questions about post-hospital rehab? You might like our Guide to Post-Hospital Rehab and Recovery. It’ll explain the post-hospital rehab process and answer some of your pressing questions about what to expect.