Caregiving and Eating Healthily

Caregiving and Eating Healthily

Caregiving and Eating Healthily

Family caregivers are often very busy people. On top of caring for an aging loved one, many family caregivers work fulltime or part-time, have spouses, have children, social obligations, and a plethora of other things on their plate. It is natural to see some elements of overall health take the backburner, like eating well. In the United States, there are now myriad choices for fast, convenient, and pre-packaged food.

While this can meet certain needs in terms of cost and convenience, it is not ideal to rely largely on this kind of diet because it can lead to poor nutrition and obesity. On the other hand, sometimes people lose weight because of stress or do not eat enough when they are feeling busy and overwhelmed, and this can lead undernourishment. In this blog, we want to talk about some strategies you can use to eat as healthy as possible given the conditions and constraints at hand.

Follow These Tips and Strategies

Take Stock of the Time you Have: Start with this step by sitting down and thinking for a moment about how your days and weeks normally look. Create a schedule, if you don’t already, and get a good idea of what time you have. Organizing your days and weeks into timed tasks can even help create more free time. Getting an overall understanding of your day-to-day schedule is an important step for any dieting, cooking, or health regime.

Meal Prep: One of the ways to ensure proper nutrition is to cook hearty meals. Not only is this a cost-effective way to eat, it can also be more convenient in the long run if you cook large batches. For example, pick a meal you love that is relatively easy to make, and make a lot of it over the weekend. Then, you will not have to worry about cooking during the week. This saves you time and money since you don’t have to go out and buy meals at restaurants. One way to approach this is to come up with weekly or monthly menus and change up the meals every now and then.[1]

Manage Stress: One of the biggest killers of overall mental, emotional, and physical health is stress. Not only can stress lead to weight loss or weight gain, it can even negatively impact sleep quality, which can also impact weigh loss/gain, causing a vicious cycle. To manage stress, you should maintain ties with people you love, socialize when possible, and exercise if you can. Do not take out stress doing unhealthy things, like smoking, drinking alcohol, and overeating. And, if you can, talk to your employer about taking paid or unpaid leave. Taking some time off of work can be a huge stress relief, especially when so many other things are going on in your life.

Use an Electric Cooker: One of the great things about these kinds of cookers is that you can assemble ingredients in one and then leave it alone until the end of the day. Not only are they convenient, they can also make a lot of portions if you are cooking with a relatively big electric cooker.

Stay away from processed foods: This is easier said than done, considering that ultra-processed foods—like sodas, candies, lunch meats, etc.—account for 60% of the calories and 90% of the added sugar Americans eat.[2] Of course, eating some junk food here and there is okay, it is important to try and not make this the majority of your calorie intake. If possible, try to cook with fresh vegetables, meats, and whole grains.

If you have any other questions, then please call ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.

[1] Source: https://www.fivestarseniorliving.com/blog/dining-nutrition/tips-for-eating-healthy-when-you-are-a-caregiver-on-the-go
[2] Source: https://www.forbes.com/sites/nancyhuehnergarth/2016/03/14/study-finds-nearly-60-of-calories-in-the-american-diet-are-from-ultra-processed-foods/#12ce2874173b

 

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