Fighting Fatigue with Food

If you are a caregiver who is feeling fatigued, your diet may be part of the problem. Learn more here.

A woman eating vegetable salad and drinking fresh juice at home

Before an airplane takes off, a flight attendant instructs passengers on safety procedures. One of those is that in the unlikely event the plane loses cabin pressure, it is important to put your own oxygen mask on before trying to help others. The same principle holds true for caregivers: you must care for yourself to be able to support your senior loved one.

This includes wellness activities such as exercise, sleep, and stress management. It also means eating a well-balanced diet, even when you are on the run. For weary caregivers, eating well has an added benefit: lower fatigue.

What foods provide energy and improve overall well-being?

Here are a few to explore and include to your menu planning.

5 Fatigue-Fighting Foods for Busy Caregivers

1. Quinoa

When under stress, many people crave comfort foods. Unfortunately, few of them are very healthy. You can get the same sense of comfort from a healthier grain alternative: quinoa. Add it to an overnight oatmeal recipe or as a side to your favorite lean protein, such as chicken or fish.

Nutritionists refer to quinoa as a supergrain because it is considered a complete protein. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids and is packed full of iron. It’s a combination that keeps red blood cells healthy while providing lasting energy.

2. Peanut butter

When you need a mid-morning or late afternoon snack, peanut butter can be a quick solution. Low in carbs and high in healthy fats, it’s a tasty treat when added to carrots, apple slices, celery, or whole wheat bread.

Peanut butter provides long-lasting energy that can help stabilize blood sugar. That keeps you from feeling hungry again shortly after you’ve eaten. When you feel full, you’ll be much less likely to reach for sugary, processed foods.

3. Bananas

Apples aren’t the only fruit that keeps the doctor away. Bananas are packed with potassium. In fact, a banana contains as many electrolytes as a sports drink—without the added sugar. They are also rich in vitamins C and B6, as well as magnesium and fiber.

For a caregiver experiencing digestive issues—a common struggle for those caring for a loved one—bananas can aid in healing the gut. The electrolytes and fiber can then help keep the digestive tract running more smoothly.

4. Nuts

Nuts have gotten a bad reputation over the years. While they can be high in fat, most actually contain healthy unsaturated fats. These portable snacks also have omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, fiber, plant sterols, and L-arginine. That heart-smart combination is believed to help lower cholesterol and keep artery walls flexible.

Just keep in mind that nuts are high in calories. A handful a day should be the limit for most people. If you are wondering which types of nuts are best, experts say walnuts, almonds, cashews, and pistachios are good choices.

5. Dark chocolate

If you just can’t live without chocolate, the good news is you don’t have to try. Dark chocolate, especially if it contains at least 75% natural cacao, is a powerful antioxidant. It provides just enough caffeine to make you more alert, while also boosting the endorphins that aid in lifting mood.

Drink Water and Stay Hydrated

Caregivers who are feeling fatigued may also be dehydrated. When you are always on the go, it’s easy to overlook how much water you are—or aren’t—drinking. Dehydration can make you tired and sluggish.

The general recommendation is to drink eight glasses of water each day. If you aren’t wild about water, try adding lemon, berries, or cucumber to enhance the taste.

Learn More About Senior Living

If you are struggling to keep an older family member safe at home, it might be time to begin exploring senior living communities. One of our experienced team members can walk you through the different types of care offered at The Wesley Community and answer any questions you have. Call us at (518) 587-3600 today!