By Diane Riccardi, MPH, RD, LDN, Clinical Dietitian
Caring for someone with cancer is a true act of selfless love, but when this responsibility stretches over months or years, it can result in neglecting your own health.
Eating a healthy diet is an important part of self-care. Good nutrition keeps your immune system strong and increases your energy level. How can you think about nutrition when you have so much to do in your caregiving role? Try these strategies:
- Prepare meals for yourself and the person you are caring for at the same time. Planning your own meals can seem like a luxury but cooking healthy meals won’t be as difficult if you combine the effort with your caregiving role. No time to eat with your loved one? Pack your food in a cooler to warm up later.
- Plan ahead for easier food prep when you’re pressed for time. Use a slow cooker while you’re at doctor appointments or try the alternative and speed up cooking at home with a pressure cooker.
- Keep an ongoing shopping list in the kitchen or simply ask Google to create a list on your mobile device. To save time and social distance during the pandemic, grocery shop during off-peak times or use a grocery delivery service.
- Ask for help and accept it. Consider asking family and friends to make dinner one night a week, pick up items at the grocery store or help clean up the kitchen after dinner.
- Still skipping meals and snacking on high-calorie, salty food? Keep on hand pre-cut, fresh fruits and vegetables, or whole-grain crackers and pair with low-fat cheese or hummus.
Choosing nutritious food is one of the most beneficial things you can do to keep yourself healthy. When you take care of yourself, you’ll feel better and can take better care of your loved one.
Learn more about our nutrition services or call 813-745-3609.