Are you the Carer? How do you eat when stressed or tired?

Eat to flourish and nourish

Simone Austin BSc MND, Advanced Sports Dietitian

Food is an enjoyable, important and of course essential part of our lives. Our food choices can be influenced by our emotional and physical state; mad, sad, excited, happy, content, trapped, guilty, hungry, hangry and exhaustion.  How can we can take control of this and harness the goodness of food to nourish and then flourish? This will help you as a carer to care for others as well as ourselve.

  1. Firstly, find freedom in eating and make friends with food. Skip the rules, the dieting and restrictions that result in cravings, guilt, binging and hunger.

Start focusing on what you can eat rather than what not. What’s already awesome about your eating habits? There are probably many things (do you eat fruit each day, drink mostly water?), trust and encourage yourself to build on them.

Ask yourself what foods will fuel me, recharge my batteries and benefit my health? Yes YOUR health, it is important to care for yourself.  Ask yourself questions, be inquisitive about what food you choose when and why.

  1. Surround yourself with nourishing, easy to prepare foods

Focus on minimally processed wholefoods; vegetables, fruit, lean meat, fish, nuts, legumes, seeds, wholegrains (e.g. wholegrain bread/crackers, quinoa, brown rice) and dairy. This is good in theory but how does this happen when you have a lot on?

Use strategies to save time and reduce the food preparation work load

  • A mix of frozen, fresh and canned vegetables- these are all nourishing and great for when some vegetables are not in season
  • Canned legumes or dried lentils
  • Cook extra for later and freeze
  • Prepare a fruit and vegetables platter at the start of the day for everyone to snack on throughout the day
  • Have a regular shopping staple list that you add to before shopping
  • Share the work load- younger children can wash salads, peel vegetables, chop up fruit and vegetables
  • Soup (not the instant cup variety) makes a great meal or snack. A bowl in the afternoon will hydrate and fill you, boosting your vegetables intake
  • Extra rice (brown) and pasta can be frozen to use later. Wholemeal cous cous is quick and easy, simply add boiling water
  • Flavour with herbs and spices and less salt.
  • Roast an extra tray of vegetables to add to salads, sandwiches and meals when cooking a roast e.g. capsicum, mushrooms, beetroot, zucchini, tomatoes
  • An omelette with a handful of spinach and mushrooms or a can of baked beans will always be more nourishing than the drive through and probably quicker!

Like athletes we can fuel our bodies to perform at their best. Caring for your body with healthy food choices doesn’t have to be complicated, costly or take lots of time.  It will help your mind and body get through the day!