Caregiving and Meal Preparation
As a caregiver, you probably feel like there isn’t enough time in the day to do all you want. The thought of adding some additional task can seem preposterous. Perhaps you watch the morning news and see a segment devoted to self-care. You sigh and think to yourself “Who has time for that!”
At ElderCare at Home, we understand and appreciate the constant strain and pressure family caregivers are under. We also believe that self-care does not have to be an added stressor to your already long list of “to do” items. Today, we want to go over one form of self-care that is meant to help SAVE you time: meal preparation.
What is meal preparation?
Meal preparation is exactly what it sounds like: preparing a meal. It is better to ask: What is it for? Meal preparation is essentially preparing meals in advance so you do not have to devote more time during the week on cooking, going out, or planning recipes. According to Healthline, it is a great method for people who are busy to save time, as well as meet dietary and nutrition goals. Meal preparation can enable people to stay on track with their dietary and nutrition goals because planning meals ahead helps you portion, as well as determine what goes into your meals.
How to meal prep?
There are various ways to practice meal preparation, and you should choose what is the best method that works for you. Below we will go over the materials you will need and the various methods you can use to meal prep.
First, you want to invest in high-quality food storage containers that you can store away and use in the microwave. These can be plastic or glass, but they just must be durable, transportable, and safe to eat out of. If you use plastic, look for containers that are BPA-free and microwave safe. Some containers are also stackable and can be organized in the pantry or fridge easily.
Next, choose your method of meal preparation:
- Batch cooking: This form of meal preparation entails that you cook a huge portion of something (sometimes multiple meals) and store it away in separate containers for future use. For example, you can make a big batch of chili and pasta, store portions in individual plastic containers, and put these containers in the freezer. Then, you can take a container out of the freezer the day before or morning of and eat the chili for lunch. This can provide meals for weeks.
- Make a meal ahead of time: Sometimes, you may find yourself with a window of opportunity to cook a meal or two before mealtime. You can then save this meal for the days ahead, like for dinner.
- Preparing ingredients: Another great way to meal prep is to just plan and use time wisely. Often, preparing the ingredients for a meal is the most time-consuming part, like chopping vegetables and measuring out spices. For example, if you know you want to make spaghetti sauce tomorrow, try cutting the onions and garlic ahead of time and store them in the fridge. You can also measure out the spices you need and put them in a water-proof container.
Call ElderCare for questions
Meal preparation technically takes work, but it is also meant to save you a lot of work in the long run. As a family caregiver, you are likely a busy individual. Meal prepping can be a great way to manage your time wisely and to help save time in the long run. If you have any questions, then please call us at ElderCare at Home at 888-285-0093 or visit our website.