When it comes to eating healthy, it can be hard for anyone. Figuring out what to eat, when, and what is good for you is hard enough, but when you add to that the stress of being a family caregiver, it can be overwhelming. If you provide care for someone who has a special diet, or will only eat certain things, then it may take more time to plan, shop, and prepare meals. So how do we do this for our loved one, and feed ourselves and our families at the same time? We have some great cooking tips for caregivers to help answer these questions.
It All Starts With a Plan
We can start with buying ingredients that you know are healthy, instead of loading our shopping cart with things that are simple and easy to prepare. We know that we need whole grains such as brown rice, whole grain noodles, barley, oatmeal, and items that support our hearts. We also know that you can’t eat too many vegetables, so when you’re at the grocery store, feel free to load up the cart with as many vegetables as you like. Experiment with different items, just because you didn’t like peas as a child, doesn’t mean you won’t like them today if you prepare them a different way. Make sure you also load up on plenty of lean proteins, such as chicken, and grab items that have plenty of Omega-3 such as salmon and other kinds of fish.
Tips, Tricks, and Replacements
Replace things you know aren’t good for you, such as chips and candy, with alternatives. There are crackers and chips that are crispy and full of whole grains. Dark chocolate is a healthier alternative to snacks and candy. As a matter of fact, try these tips, tricks, and replacements to help you in the kitchen:
- Tired of your veggies going bad in the refrigerator? Minimize this risk by purchasing frozen veggies, then steaming or stir-frying them.
- If you have high blood pressure, swap out your salad dressing for an olive oil and vinegar mix. Olive oil is a healthy fat that is very good for you.
- Plan ahead, make extra of each meal that you can freeze and re-warm when you are low on time.
- Replace salt with herbs and spices, such as lemon, citrus, or chilli for a little extra flavor in your meals. Garlic salt is also a lower sodium option, if you want to reduce instead of eliminate salt in your diet.
- Buy “low sodium” alternatives whenever possible. Examples of this might include broths, canned items, and even chips or crackers.
- Swap out vegetable oil with applesauce in almost any recipe. You may find that this alternative makes your breads, muffins, and baked goods more moist.
- Did you know that it is cheaper and healthier to make your own breakfast bars? Check out recipes online for “no bake” granola bars and experiment with ingredients.
- When you experiment with new recipes, try to find some that always include fruits, veggies, grains, legumes, and nuts.
- When you need a quick snack try a few unsalted nuts, or Greek yogurt.
Don’t forget that at Homewatch CareGivers of Annapolis we’re here to support you with passion and purpose. We can provide a few hours of companionship, temporary post-surgical support, or even 24-hour elder care. The possibilities are endless. Contact us today to learn more about all of the different options there are, and how affordable it can be.