Am I eating well?
As a carer you need to be as healthy as possible to ensure you are able to continue with your caring role. When you are responding to the needs of another person day to day, it’s easy to forget your own wellbeing. You may rely on quick convenience foods, which are okay in moderation, can be unhealthy if eaten regularly.
Alternatively, sometimes you may be very busy with your caring role and commitments, resulting in you skipping meals entirely, meaning you don’t have the nutrition you need to fuel yourself properly. This can have a significant impact on your physical and mental wellbeing.
How can I improve my diet?
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is vital for maintaining good health for us all. This includes eating foods from all the different food groups. We know that sometimes it can be a struggle to eat the right amounts of certain food groups, but maintaining a diet of three balanced meals a day, with at least five portions of fruit or vegetables, will boost your energy levels, make you feel healthier and help you get through your busy day.
The NHS Eatwell Guide gives a good overview of how to achieve a balanced nutritional diet.
Tips to try and make it more convenient for you:
- If you need to prepare a meal for the person you care for, you could use it as an opportunity to make a healthy meal for you both. You could even sit down and eat together, making it a nice social activity too.
- Try to plan your meals for the week ahead, and then buy the ingredients needed. This can take the stress out of having to decide what to eat every day. Plus, if you know that you already have everything you need for the meal, you are less likely to either skip the meal or order a takeaway.
- Try batch cooking – this is when you prepare food for multiple meals in one go. You could make a big pot of soup, stew, chilli or curry, for instance, then divide it into smaller portions and freeze them. That way you have a meal that is ready to grab and reheat on particularly busy days. This is just as easy as a ready meal but is likely to be much healthier.
- Order your shopping online if you struggle to find the time to visit the supermarket. Alternatively, you can get healthy meals delivered to your door from companies such as ‘Hello Fresh’ and ‘Gousto’ if this is within your budget.
Can I make healthy meals on a budget?
If you are on a budget, there are simple and affordable ways to shop for a healthy, balanced diet. With a little planning, you can definitely eat well on a budget. There are many websites with budget-friendly recipes, such as the BBC Good Food guide.
For factual information about nutrition, you can go to: www.nutrition.org.uk – British Nutrition Foundation
There is some more information specifically for carers below.
Good advice about nutrition here: Nutrition for carers and those they care for with Nutricia – June 2021