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Anyone for hummus?

August 11, 2014
by Kathleen Mears
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Many years ago, I stopped eating beef and pork. Both meats were expensive, and to me they did not taste very good. So I ate chicken, fish or turkey instead.

When I first moved to a nursing home, lunch and dinner entrées featured beef and pork. Consequently, I had to return to eating beef and pork to get enough protein. Although I love turkey, that facility served a processed turkey that was salty and had a gelatinous texture. I called it "slab turkey," and although it was not my favorite food, I learned to eat it.

The daily food budget per resident at my current facility is less than $5. I searched online for menus for that budgeted amount and could find virtually nothing.

Our portion sizes are adequate for the amount of physical movement we do. Some days, the lunch or dinner menu has little or no protein. I know our meals have to be economical, but protein keeps blood sugar up and makes us feel full.

Our major sources of protein are beef and pork, which can cause inflammation, which worsens gastrointestinal tract diseases and arthritis. Although I know residents here do not want to become vegetarians, nursing homes might want to rethink their menus.

One day last week, the lunch menu offered scalloped potatoes with ham chunks and cauliflower. Macaroni and cheese with cooked cabbage was the substitute. I was frustrated because I did not want either one. But because there was no other option, I ate scalloped potatoes and ham. I would have preferred a protein-rich substitute, such as tuna salad or a veggie burger.

One food item I like but never get is hummus. To the unfamiliar, hummus is a spread made from puréed chickpeas, olive or canola oil, garlic and herbs. It is low in fat and protein-rich with a buttery consistency. It can be quite filling spread on pita bread, low-carb crackers or fresh vegetables. There are even some spicy hummus recipes. I think hummus could be served as a snack food—a pleasant change from peanut butter. I think it would be a unique addition to our menu.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...