Many parents or carers put their health and wellbeing aside in order to put their family first. I see many mothers who are so concerned about ensuring their children are eating and being taken care of that they neglect their own basic needs. The same goes for individuals who are caring for their unwell parents. As a result, they are missing out on important nutrients, feel fatigued and often gain weight.
How you can make little changes that will make a big difference
Listed below are just five changes you can make that will really benefit your health in a big way. Taking care of yourself now can prevent poorer quality of life further down the track.
- Don’t eat your children’s leftovers for dinner! (Or as well as dinner.) Many parents fall in to the trap of finishing off sausages, fish fingers, potato gems and mash potato. This can lead to weight gain if you then have a regular dinner on top picking at your kids dinner. Alternatively, if it acts as a substitute to dinner then you will be missing out on many important nutrients.
- Cook just one nutritious meal for the whole family. Children should be eating the exact same thing as their parents. Many parents cook separate meals according to their families preferences. This then leaves them exhausted and once again, picking at the scraps. Just cooking the one healthy meal will be best for everyone and the rest of the family should be understanding of this.
- In some cases, carers may need to cook slightly separate meals. As an example, some elderly people require high protein and high energy diets. This means bulking up meals with a lot of calories and sometimes fat which will be great for weight maintenance or weight gain in the person you are caring for, but not ideal for yourself. Take a little bit of extra time and separate your potions from their portions, before adding extra butters, creams and so on.
- Don’t fall back on takeaway! It can be easy to do when you are rushing around after those people dependent on you but regularly grabbing takeaway on the go is not going to give you adequate fuel to run your errands nor will it be good for your weight, heart health and so on.
- Keep a bottle of water on you. Carry around water with you at all times and drink from it regularly. Once again, water can be easily neglected when you’re on the go but it makes a big difference to the way your body functions!
The above points may take some extra time out of your day but not a significant amount. By making simple changes you can make a big difference to your health and ensure your future self is healthy too. Taking care of yourself is the best thing you can do for your children or the person you are caring for.
Contact us for results focused nutritional advice
This article was written by our dietitian Belinda Elwin who is a Dietitians Association of Australia member and Accredited Practicing Dietitian and Nutritionist. If you have questions about healthy eating, make an appointment. We‘ll provide you with a simple and effective routine targeted to your concerns. Contact us today!