My dad is very poorly and malnourished, weak etc. He is coming out of hospital today and I need meal ideas that will help him put on weight and are full of nutrienta. He needs plenty of iron but cannot tolerate red meat at the moment. Any ideas appreciated!
For weight-gain your dad is going to need energy-dense (calorie-rich) foods in a 'little and often' pattern. He probably won't be able to face large meals for a time so a series of small meals and snacks throughout the day are a good way to improve appetite and build strength. Fats are particularly useful.... seeds, nuts and nut butters, full-fat dairy, vegetable oils, avocados, oily fish, eggs. Good quality carbohydrates such as beans, wholegrains, dense fruits (bananas, dried fruit) and starchy vegetables are other great choices. High calorie drinks are often a good way to take in energy between meals... smoothies, full-fat milk, fresh juices and build-up shakes are good choices. Light exercise can help convert the extra energy into muscle
As well as iron-rich foods I think he'll be prescribed iron supplements at least short term to get his iron stores up. As others said, these need to be taken with plenty of vitamin C... kiwifruit, citrus, cranberry juices... so that they can be absorbed. Also, because iron tablets can cause constipation, he needs plenty of fluids and a good fibre content in his food.
I looked into iron sources and why we need it in relation to a vegetarian diet. I summarised what I found here: information about iron I found out about sources that were a surprise to me (date syrup or blackstrap molasses!). Like Cognito says, nut butters are good and vitamin c is helpful to aid absorption. Hope it is helpful to you and your dad soon gets his strength back.
He likes peanut butter and I saw some in his cupboard. Will get him some floradix. He said he hasn't opened his bowels since sat so probably anything thats going to make that worse should be avoided! Interesting to know about the caffeine, thank you. May secretly swap his teabags and coffee for decaf hehe. What is spatone?
If he's struggling with constipation already, I really do recommend a couple of kiwifruit a day alongside plenty of fluids... probably more than he's used to...and other fruit, veg and other high-fibre foods. Kiwis have really excellent laxative properties plus the Vitamin C content helps iron-absorption.