Finding the time to make healthy, balanced meals for yourself when you’re a caregiver for a loved one can be tough. But despite the challenges, it’s important that you do so for your well-being and the person in your care. That way, you’ll be at your sharpest mentally and you’ll have optimal energy.
Nutrition plays a vital role in how we feel; while some foods can leave us feeling sluggish and unmotivated, others can fill us with energy, propelling us forward and buoying our mood. With summer just around the corner, now’s the perfect time to hit refresh on your eating habits.
Here are some seasonal cooking and dietary tips for caregivers that incorporate both nutrition and utility — whether you’re cooking just for you or you and your loved one.
Take Time for Breakfast
Breakfast is commonly referred to as the most important meal of the day. Researchers at McMaster University suggest a protein-heavy breakfast that includes 30 grams of protein for a successful day ahead. The team found that meeting this quota can stave off feelings of hunger later in the afternoon; it can also help boost your immunity — ideal for caregivers who’s loved one is immunocompromised.
Don’t automatically reach for greasy eggs or meats, though. Chia seed pudding and overnight oats are both fantastic, protein-rich breakfasts that can be made at the start of the week in individual mason jars or bowls for each day. Mix with protein powder and top with peanut butter and local seasonal berries, like strawberries, for a well-rounded first meal of the day.
Prepare Dishes in Advance
Generally, salad can keep for three to five days in the fridge. At the start of the week, why not take some time to chop seasonal veggies and fruit — like beans, berries, cucumbers, bell peppers and tomatoes — and boil eggs and pasta, air-fry tofu, and prepare any other salad ingredients you enjoy.
Assembling a salad is simple once you have all the washing and chopping done. Further, you can easily adjust salad ingredients between people to suit their needs. Sprinkle salads with seeds and nuts and a twist of zesty lemon for extra flavour, texture, and nutrition.
For main meals, consider one-pot recipes. Summer dish ideas include tomato and basil pasta, lemon-baked chicken, or salmon with seasonal vegetables like asparagus and green beans, and stir-fries laden with snow peas, zucchini, and eggplant.
Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
If your meals, nutrition, and other factors contributing to your overall health are starting to slip, don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. Whether you ask another family member to step in on certain days, or you look to secure individualized help from reputable Home Care Companies like Integracare Home Care, you’re doing the right thing for the person in your charge, and for you.
Home Care Companies like these offer live-in care and other types of person-centred home care, which means relief for you and your loved one. Here, highly trained caregivers and certified Personal Support Workers can help with feeding, dressing, bathing, meal preparation, grocery shopping, companionship and much more — giving you peace of mind, and a moment to regroup for yourself.
Schedule Food Delivery
The average person spends two hours a week shopping for groceries. Save this valuable time and consider food delivery from grocery stores, local farms, and nearby farmers’ markets. With a good food delivery service, you can set up a pre-standing order and have items delivered straight to your door or dropped at a convenient pick-up location.
By preparing meals for the week ahead and leaning into one-pot meals filled with fresh and seasonal ingredients, it is possible to maintain a nutritious and balanced diet for you and your loved one. But remember, snack time is very real too! Try to keep some chopped fruit and nuts nearby when hunger strikes between meals to avoid reaching for a bag of chips.