Caregivers lead very busy lives. While caring for the needs of a senior loved one, caregivers frequently work full- or part-time and have children of their own. It’s a juggling act that often requires setting priorities so everything that needs to be done in a day is accomplished.
When the schedule is hectic, one thing that is frequently sacrificed is a healthy diet. A caregiver might rely on convenience foods or a trip to the drive through window at a local fast food restaurant. While that may make life a little easier, an unhealthy diet can take a toll on a caregiver’s health.
Fast food is generally higher in saturated fat, sodium, and overall calories. An unhealthy diet can lead to weight gain, high blood pressure, and even Type 2 diabetes. That’s why it’s important for caregivers to learn how to eat healthy on the go.
Healthy Diet Tips for Busy Caregivers
Here are a few tips you might be find useful:
- Meal planning and prep: Create a few months of menu plans that you can rotate through. Include all three meals and healthy snacks. Sites like Cooking Light and Eating Well have pre-planned menus you can use to save time. Next, pick one or two days a month to prep meals and freeze them. This is a project the kids can play a role in. It will help them develop healthy eating habits for when they are on their own.
- Home delivered meals: Don’t overlook home-delivered meals. It might be a meal prep service such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron where the ingredients are ready for you to cook or a local meal delivery service. You could review restaurant menus and nutrition counts online and identify healthy options. Then use a service like GrubHub or Uber Eats to have them delivered to your home.
- Pre-packed snack bags: If you live life on the go, grabbing a quick snack might give you the boost you need. Instead of hitting the vending machine or a fast food counter, keep your car and your pantry stocked with pre-packaged, healthy snacks. It can be ones you create yourself or ones you buy. Almonds, walnuts, fresh veggies and hummus, kale chips, dried fruit, and yogurt are a few to consider.
- Smoothies and protein shakes: Make and freeze individual cups of smoothies and plant-based protein shakes. They are an easy grab and go meal for breakfast or lunch or an afternoon snack. Both provide you with a quick way to pump up the number of fruits and vegetables you are consuming too.
- Healthiest fast food options: For those times when you absolutely have no other choice than to hit the drive through window, knowing which fast food meals are the healthiest can help. McDonald’s Bacon Ranch Grilled Chicken salad is one of the best fast food salad options in terms of sugar, fat, calories, and nutrition. Wendy’s grilled chicken wrap is another healthy choice.
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