One thing caregivers often neglect is themselves.
When focusing on caring for someone else, your own needs often get pushed to the back. And when every minute of the day and night seems filled with caregiving, you may not have even a moment to think about what to eat.
Let alone figuring out healthy eating because . . .
Grabbing what’s handy . . .fast . . .or easy may seem like your only alternative.
When her mother needed around-the-clock care, Mary often stood in the kitchen trying to figure out what to eat.
As her mother’s primary caregiver, Mary cared for her and supervised the other caregivers.
She found herself exhausted at times. Sometimes she couldn’t even clearly think about what was in the house to eat.
What she needed were healthy meals made with fresh foods—foods nourishing her body and soul in a difficult time.
Thankfully her sister stepped in to help.
She saw that Mary had food in the house. Food that was healthy and comforting. And on the worst days she even brought whole meals so Mary didn’t have to cook.
Maybe you have a relative who can help you. And even if you don’t, I’m going to share in future posts on CaregvingWithPurpose.com secrets of healthy eating . . .
Tips and resources you can use to make sure you feed your body—and your soul.
To start here are some tips Mary found helpful. . .
How can you eat healthy while caregiving?
- Eat regularly. Feeding your body is important. Eating regularly helps all your organs work better — including your brain. If you have to, set a timer or have someone call you to remind you to eat.
- Drink plenty of water. Keeping yourself well-hydrated also helps each of your organs. Did you know confusion is a sign of dehydration? And as a caregiver you need to be able to think clearly.
- Avoid fast food. Fast food while convenient is often not healthy. And you need to feed your body with healthy food!
- Eat anti-oxidant foods. Anti-oxidant foods support your immune system. When you’re under stress like caregiver stress your immune system needs support. With the stresses of caregiving, you’re at increased risk for infections and other diseases caused by an immune system not working optimally.
- Enlist family members. While you may be the primary caregiver, your family may be available to help you. Maybe they don’t see you need help, so ask. Let them give you some TLC. You deserve it!
- Avoid highly processed foods. Highly processed foods are notoriously full of additives. And even the processing like high temperatures can destroy good nutrients. Whenever possible opt for fresh food.
- Feed your inner child with comfort foods. When you can, choose healthier versions. Maybe adding vegetables to a favorite dish. Or choosing sprouted grains.
- Make as many healthy eating choices as you can. Sometimes you have to make choices. When you can, choose healthy. There are times when you have no other options and in that case . . .
- Be kind to yourself. No one is perfect. Loving and forgiving yourself is as important or more so than loving and forgiving the ones you care for. Sometimes you’re the only one who can care for yourself.
It can be hard to follow all the steps towards healthy eating. As long as you’re making one small step at a time, you are moving forward.
Maybe changing your entire diet is too big a step. Okay. How about making one change today? And make another change tomorrow . . .and keep going.
How about making a sauce that includes veggies? And instead of using regular pasta, substitute spaghetti squash . . .buckwheat or rice noodles . . .or spaghetti made from sprouted grains.
Here’s an easy spaghetti sauce recipe from Mary’s sister. It allows you much versatility in your choices of ingredients. . .
Easy Spaghetti Sauce Recipe (With Meat and Meatless Options)
In heavy soup pot, brown ground meat (Grass-Fed Ground Beef is a healthy option). Drain excess fat if abundant.
If making meatless option, then heat oil (coconut oil or butter healthier options).
- Chopped onion
- Green pepper
- Fresh/frozen spinach or chard or grated fresh cabbage
- Grated or chopped or sliced carrot
- Optional crushed garlic
- Other vegetables of your choice—chopped green beans, peas, turnips, etc.
Cook until tender.
- Canned, frozen or fresh chopped tomatoes.
- Tomato puree or sauce. (Tomato puree often has fewer additives and may be a healthier choice to canned spaghetti sauce. Plus you can add your own spices and seasonings of choice.)
Turn heat down to medium or medium low after adding tomatoes. They have a tendency to scorch on higher heats.
Simmer for about a half an hour. Add water if too thick.
Taste and add your flavorings of choice, including possibly sea salt . . .oregano . . .or other seasonings.
Want a printable copy of this recipe?
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Keep knitting to your heart’s delight — or someone else’s,
Ina Gilmore M.D. (ret.)
“The Knitting Dr.”
Founder, CaregivingWithPurpose.com and TheKnittingYarn.com
The information on this website is for educational purposes only. It does not replace information or recommendations from your own physician or other health care provider. This site does not advocate medical or other health-related self-care, and encourages you to obtain advice from your own personal physician or other health care provider.
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