Nutrition and the Caregiver
Are you providing care to a loved one? According to the Caregiver Action Network, more than 65 million people, 29% of the U.S. population, provide care for a chronically ill, disabled or aged family member or friend during any given year and spend an average of 20 hours per week providing care for their loved one.
On an airplane, an oxygen mask descends in front of you. What do you do? As we all know, the first rule is to put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. Only when we first help ourselves can we effectively help others. Caring for yourself is one of the most important—and one of the most often forgotten—things you can do as a caregiver. When your needs are taken care of, the person you care for will benefit, too.
You may wonder what your day-to-day nutritional choices have to do with being a caregiver. The food that you eat affects your moods, overall health and immune system. When you experience the ongoing stress of caregiving, good nutrition becomes critical to maintain your health and well-being.
Here are some tips for making healthy, time efficient meals.
- Make breakfast for dinner i.e. omelets, egg sandwiches, pancakes, waffles or breakfast casserole.
- Microwave potatoes and serve with cheese, broccoli or chili.
- Make or purchase soup and freeze the remainder for future meals.
- Take advantage of the deli in your local supermarket.
- Look for a new array of snacks appearing in supermarkets that are higher amounts of protein and often include healthy ingredients.
- Place an assortment of vegetables like carrots, squash, onion, peppers, and potatoes on a baking sheet and roast in the oven at 425 degrees and check after 25-30 minutes.
- Have some leftover fruit? Freeze and use in smoothies.