Having the energy and time to cook a healthy meal can be challenging for anyone, especially someone with a chronic lung disease.
Learning about preparing meals ahead of time and meal size can help you have more energy to enjoy your favorite activities. Also, healthy recipes for lung disease can help you keep fit and feel better.
Smart Food Prep
Preparing your meals in advance will cut down on the time and energy it takes to cook. Think ahead, and plan the meals you want to cook on certain days.
Try buying as many groceries as possible at the beginning of the week. Then you can prep your meals for the whole week at once. Try cutting up portions and freezing them until the day you need them.
Look for meals that can be made using whole vegetables or meats. If cutting food is difficult for you, ask friends or family to help you prepare meals ahead of time.
It’s healthier to eat smaller meals more often than a few large meals daily. This may seem like more work, but the benefits outweigh the small amount of additional prep time.
Large meals tend to cause your belly to expand too much and apply pressure on your diaphragm, which is the muscle that regulates your breath. When this happens, it can become more difficult to breathe.
Difficulty breathing is a common symptom for people with a chronic lung disease, so finding ways to breathe easier is important. Although eating more often might take some additional organization, prepping meals in advance will take minimal effort.
Healthy Recipes for Lung Disease
A good lung disease diet includes lots of fresh vegetables and lean meats. However, you will want to stay away from bloating foods like cabbage, beans, broccoli, dairy and fried or otherwise greasy food.
These add extra pressure to your abdomen. Limit red meats, especially those with a higher fat content like ground beef and pork.
Here is a great grilled chicken recipe that is tasty and will not worsen your lung disease symptoms:
Chicken and Rice for Healthy Lungs – Serves 2
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken filets
- ¼ cup of chopped tomatoes (canned works great)
- 10 carrot sticks (the kind that are pre-cut for snacking)
- 1 ½ cups of long grain brown rice
- Lime juice
- Grill or bake the chicken breasts seasoned only with ground black pepper.
- Boil the rice according to the instructions on the bag (boil in bag rice is a great time saver).
- Steam the carrots for around 10 minutes, either diced or cut into sticks.
- Dice tomatoes (or use canned diced tomatoes).
- Toss the brown rice with the tomatoes and carrots (if you diced them), and sprinkle with lime juice.
- Serve rice and chicken, or freeze it for a future meal.
A lung disease like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), pulmonary fibrosis or chronic bronchitis does not mean that you are limited to microwaved dinners and fast food. If you spend a little time planning meals in advance, you can eat healthy, delicious meals every day.
If you or a loved one has COPD or another chronic lung disease, then planning out your treatment plan as well as your meals could be very beneficial.
Christine Kingsley, APRN is the Health and Wellness Director at the Lung Institute where she focuses on providing helpful online resources for people looking for information on various lung diseases, breathing exercises, and healthy lifestyle choices. She advocates for holistic care that involves working with your doctor to explore all options including traditional and alternative care while focusing on diet and exercise as proactive measures.