5–11 June is Carers Week. As all carers know, the 'week' is more realistically every week all year round. However, having a week does bring a focus to all the hard work, skill, dedication and love it takes to be a carer.
Caring for someone you love, whether a parent or partner, can bring many challenges and hopefully laughter too. If you are not connected to your local carers’ support group it can also be isolating. Many national and local groups exist to offer help and advice, as well as to meet up with other carers in a similar position. Groups can offer practical help including money matters and caring best practice and also a chance to talk to people in the same position.
As a carer you don’t need me to tell you how demanding your role can be. Taking a little time for yourself and eating well will help to recharge your batteries and the person you care for.
If you are vegetarian or caring for someone vegetarian, homemade soups are a great way to use up what you have in the fridge as well as creating something tasty, nutritious and inexpensive. Generally, you can make a soup from almost anything. Adding lentils or split peas to your recipe will add protein and fibre too. This recipe for borscht soup, a vibrant beetroot soup, is packed full of vitamins. I recommend using fresh beets over pre-cooked ones for a richer colour and fuller flavour.
Pasta and rice salads are a good option too. If you are making a dish with rice or pasta then cook a little extra. The next day add chopped onion, tomatoes, peppers, peas, celery, grated carrot – basically any salad stuff you may have in. Add a little French dressing and you will have a simple lunch or light tea.
For something with a little spice, our mushroom and chickpea curry is easy to make and if you liked the idea of rice salad it can afford the opportunity to cook a little extra rice. If you are not a fan of mushrooms try swapping them for chunks of aubergine or sweet potato.
If you have a sweet tooth try making this sticky toffee pudding recipe. When I do a cookery demonstration it always goes down a storm, even with those who would not normally eat cake. Made with or without the sauce it really is delicious. It freezes well too.
Or, if you fancy something a little simpler try our flapjack recipe. The flapjack has chopped apricots added, for a little extra flavour and texture. I have added prunes, cherries and sultanas in the past. All add a nice flavour and sweetness.
Other resources you may want to look at:
This is our latest publication, aimed at those needing a texture modified diet. Following the guidelines set down by IDSSI the guide has a range of delicious recipes and information on testing to the correct consistency. For more information on texture modified diet visit https://iddsi.org/
If you are looking for ideas to add fortification to your meals this is the one for you. The guide has lots of recipes with simple modifications – particularly useful if caring for someone with a small appetite.
Getting the balance right is important for everyone, but especially as we get older. This guide not only has information on what foods we should be eating but also ideas on how to stimulate appetites, finger foods and a suggested menu plan.
These and all of the publications we have can be found here.
If you are involved with a carers group you may be interested in a training session and cookery demonstration. These are always geared for the needs of the group and can include samples depending on numbers. For more information don’t hesitate to get in touch.