Families and caregivers are the Veteran’s support system. They help to prevent or manage chronic illness with healthy eating at mealtime. So whether you find yourself brand new in that caregiver role, or have been doing it for the last 15 years, we want to support you!
Want to know the number one thing to remember when you are a caregiver? Self-care! You have to take care of you first.
Listen in on Fresh Focus episode 33 where Amanda Settle, RDN, provides five tips for taking care of you while you’re taking care of your Veteran loved one.
Those tips include:
- Keep on your mealtime schedule. Planning ahead is key. Have some fruits and veggies washed and cut up ahead of time to throw in for a snack. Or have some leftovers on hand to quickly reheat.
- Batch cook: Get out those crock pots and Instant Pots to make double or triple batches of meals that freeze well, like chilis and soups. VA’s Healthy Teaching Kitchen YouTube page is a great resource for new recipe ideas.
- Hydration: Keep a larger water bottle on hand to sip from all day.
- Take breaks and walks. Don’t forget your own exercise, which helps with stress management. It may be possible to exercise with your loved one, too!
- Take time for yourself. Try mindful mediation or stretching, and make sure you’re getting adequate sleep.
Reach out to your VA dietitians for more meal planning and preparation ideas. If you think you may need more assistance, please reach out to find out more about the VA Caregiver Support Program and other programs that may be able to offer relief for you.
Amanda Settle, RDN, is a certified Diabetes Care and Education specialist from the Marion VA Health Care System.