Meals and meals services
If you are experiencing health problems you may be struggling to get out to the shops, or be able to prepare meals for yourself at home. There are a number of options which can help you to have a nutritious meal every day. On this page we have provided some suggestions and information on how you can continue to have a healthy, balanced diet, and to enjoy your food, even if you find it hard to get out and about, or are no longer able to prepare a meal for yourself.
If you are struggling to get to the shops, or to prepare food, you may be struggling with other things too. There is information and help on these pages below to help you stay independent and well at home.
There are a whole range of gadgets and devices which have been specially designed to allow people with disabilities and health problems to be more independent in the kitchen. You may find that these can make all the difference in allowing you to prepare food for yourself rather than relying on others to do it for you.
Go to our Equipment to help at home page to see what's available.
If you are finding it difficult to prepare a hot main meal for yourself, and you are able to use an oven or microwave, you could consider buying ready meals. Ready meals are pre-prepared meals which you can buy at your local supermarket or other supplier and simply need heating up in the cooker or microwave. They come chilled or frozen so you’d need to either eat them on the day or have a freezer to store them in. A neighbour, family member or friend might be able to buy them for you if you have difficulty getting out
Ready meals are available for people with all dietary needs. These can include diabetic, low fat, low salt, low sugar, gluten free, vegetarian, and vegan meals.
Although ready meals can be very handy, you should always read the label to make sure you're maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
If you have an allergy or food intolerance, or require a special diet, please make sure you check the ingredients of the meals before buying.
If you are having trouble getting out and about there are ways to ensure that you get the food and other shopping which you need.
Community shopping and other transport services
Many councils run a Community Shopping Service which will help you to get safely to and from the shops.
Help from your supermarket or local store
Many of the big supermarkets will help you shop if you have difficulties - either by escorting you around the supermarket if you are using a wheelchair, or by collecting the products for you. Contact the supermarkets direct to find out more.
And some local food shops will deliver food to your home for a small charge - give them a ring and see what they say.
Internet supermarket shopping
Alternatively, the majority of the large supermarkets now have a home shopping delivery service which you can access on-line:-
- Waitrose *
- Marks and Spencer
- Sainsburys *
(Sainsburys also have their Assisted Shopping service)
- Tesco *
- Asda *
- Morrisons *
* These supermarkets have a delivery subscription offer, where for a set subscription fee per month, as long as you order above their minimum order value the delivery would not be an extra charge (Please check the details of the offer from the individual supermarkets offers as they may have restrictions)
Getting someone else to help
Don't be shy of asking trusted friends or neighbours to collect shopping for you; many will be very happy to help and will be pleased to be asked.
Or you can arrange for someone to go with you to the shops, or to do your shopping for you - see our Support in your home page for information on how to arrange this.
These companies can deliver batches of prepared ready meals to your door. Some are frozen, and some do not require freezing:
- Wiltshire Farm Foods can deliver batches of frozen meals to your home on a regular basis, and provide a wide variety of options for people with different tastes or dietary needs
- COOK can deliver batches of frozen meals to your home and also have stores in London
- Oakhouse Foods can deliver batches of frozen meals to your home and have a range of foods for specialist requirements
- Parsley Box have developed a range of specially packed food which can be stored in a cupboard, without a need for a fridge or freezer, that can be heated in a few minutes in a microwave
- Jamaica on Ice (JOI) provides a frozen Caribbean food range that can be delivered to your address in London with free delivery (subject to minimum purchase amount)
If you have an allergy or food intolerance or require a special diet, please make sure you check the ingredients of the meals before ordering from these companies.