Inconsistent hours; long shifts; high-stress environments: taking care of yourself is not easy when taking care of others. But even with your hectic schedule, you shouldn’t fall into a routine of just snacking on any available food. Eating healthy will not only help your body, but it will help your mind.
Here are five healthy eating tips to help any overstressed caregivers:
- Plan ahead – Want to avoid making a trip to the store every day and just picking up what looks tasty, but not necessarily healthy? Keep a running shopping list on your phone. This will cut down on last-minute decisions that lead to unhealthy meals. Make sure the meals/snacks you plan are nutritious and something you don’t mind spending the time to cook. Then do all your shopping for the week at once, and you’re set.
- Prep food in advance – Especially for breakfast and dinner, preparing food in advance can help cut down on the time and the stress. Making seven jars of the dry ingredients for overnight oats means you only need to add the milk the night before and you have a nutritious breakfast. Making a big batch of veggie chili and then freezing individual containers will keep you fed even when you don’t want to cook.
- During the day, eat smaller, more frequent foods – Don’t wait all day and then stuff yourself at mealtime. Make sure to consciously snack during the day to keep your energy and blood sugar up. Psst, those 100 calorie snack packs are a great way to keep track of your caloric intake.
- Stay Hydrated – It’s hard to stay healthy if you’re not staying hydrated. Especially if you are running around all day taking care of people. Make sure to quench your thirst with water.
- Frozen Dinners: Choose Wisely – Sometimes, we just don’t have time, but we still want to eat healthy. If you must choose a frozen dinner, pay attention to a few factors: lower sodium levels, higher protein and fiber content, and make sure there is a variety of healthy ingredients. Also keeping frozen, nuke-in-bag veggies on hand can help add extra nutrients to your microwave dinner.
If you’re unsure about your diet or you need a hand, it’s always good to consult a professional. Stat Staff encourages all of its caregivers to eat healthy and take care of themselves while they take care of others. We even offer services to connect you with nutritionists through our Work-Life EAP program. Reach out to our benefits department to find out more.