In this section:
> Food for energy
> Less salt
> Lower cholesterol
> Healthy Snacks
> Coping with guilt
> Be more assertive
> Boost your immune system
> Tempt your elderly or frail relatives outdoors
> Avoiding back pain
> Getting the most from your GP
> Advice on prescribed drugs
> Difficult conversations
> Moving the person you care for
> Relaxation tips
> Laughter therapy
Christina Merryfield, Lead Dietitian, Bupa Cromwell Hospital
As a carer, it’s essential that you eat a healthy, balanced diet to give you the energy you need to help you through your busy days.
Carbohydrates provide your body with the fuel and energy it needs for physical activity, as well as helping your organs function properly. Starchy foods such as bread, pasta, cereals, rice and potatoes contain energy in the form of carbohydrates and release this energy slowly to keep you going throughout the day. Other sources of carbohydrates include fruit and vegetables, beans, whole grains and foods containing added sugars, such as cakes and sugary drinks.
‘Healthier’ carbohydrates are ones that provide dietary fibre, such as whole grains, and those that don’t contain added sugars. Wholegrain or wholemeal varieties of pasta, bread, cereals and rice are great choices, as they are particularly high in fibre.
Don’t skip or cut back on carbohydrates, even if you want to lose excess weight. Easily digested carbohydrates from foods such as white bread, white rice, pastries or sugary drinks are quickly digested and can contribute to weight gain if eaten excessively, particularly if you aren’t exercising. Processed foods that contain carbohydrates, such as cakes and biscuits, are often high in fat and calories too. However, complex carbohydrates (which take longer to be digested), such as whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables, do the exact opposite and are essential for good health. This is because they make you feel fuller for longer and you may be less tempted to snack.
A system called the glycemic index (GI) classifies carbohydrates based on how quickly and how high they raise your blood sugar levels. Foods that have a high GI, such as white bread or white pasta, cause your blood sugar levels to rise rapidly. And foods that have a low GI, such as whole oats, are digested more slowly, helping to maintain steady blood sugar levels.
Do you plan what you eat to include high energy foods to keep you going through the day. See what other carers eat and add your own tips in the forum.
Too much salt in your diet? Read Christina's tips on eating less salt.
Produced in collaboration with Bupa’s Health Information Team, August 2012
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