When you are a family caregiver for your aging parent, taking care of yourself and your own needs is paramount. Paying close attention to your own personal needs, and protecting your health and well-being is essential not just for your ongoing quality of life, but also for the quality of care you’re able to give your parent, and to others who rely on you. There are many ways for you to take care of yourself while caring for your parent, but one of the most important is making sure you eat a healthy diet. What you eat makes a tremendous impact on your physical and mental functioning. Eating well helps you to maintain a healthy weight, have energy and resilience, fight off illness and infection, and maintain a clear mind. Eating healthy can seem daunting when you are managing all of the needs of caring for an aging adult as well as the other obligations in your life. Fortunately, there are ways you can make eating a healthy diet simpler and more accessible.
Use these tips to help you eat a healthy diet during your caregiver journey:
Use meal planning to take the stress and wonder out of what to eat each day. Planning ahead, and even doing some preparation in advance, lets you know what you’re going to eat each day, simplify decision-making, and schedule your day around preparation that needs to be made.
- Stock your freezer with healthy meals to make it easier and faster to put nourishing, satisfying meals on the table when you don’t have time to cook from scratch.
- Give yourself access to healthy snacks you can bring along with you when caring for your aging parent. Having fruit and cheese, nuts, plain popcorn, raw veggies, or sandwiches on whole grain bread with you helps you to ward off hunger pangs so you don’t reach for convenience foods, or wait too long between eating.
- Pack a smoothie with protein powder, greens, fiber powder, a fruit, and bring it along with you for a nutrient-dense snack you can sip on throughout the day.
- Focus on hydration. Often thirst is misinterpreted as hunger, so make sure you are drinking water throughout the day to keep this thirst at bay.
- Take time for yourself to eat. Rather than always eating when you are in the car or on the run, sit down and make eating an “event” during the day. Eat with your parent or the rest of your family, or make it a peaceful, quiet time to yourself. This lets you focus on what you are eating, take your time, and avoid the mindless eating that can happen when you aren’t paying attention.
Eating a healthy diet is extremely important for your aging parent as well. It can be difficult to ensure your senior gets the nutrition they need, but home care can help. An in-home senior care services provider can offer your aging parent transportation to the grocery store so they can choose healthy foods for their home, help them to research recipes for foods that they will enjoy but that also fit in with any dietary restrictions they have, and even help with meal preparation. This allows your parent to feel more independent and autonomous regarding their eating, while also getting the healthy meals and snacks they need to support their physical functioning.
If You Or An Aging Loved One Are Considering Hiring Caregivers in South Pasadena, FL, Please Contact The Caring Staff At Assisting Hands Home Care Today! 727-748-4211.