Each year, more adults face the difficulty of having to take care of their parents in addition to their children all within one household. This is known as the sandwich generation.
How can you meet the varying nutritional needs of everyone without going crazy? Here are some tips.
Maintain hydration. Water is the key to nutrient absorption. It flushes out toxins for the times when convenient meals like pizza “pop up” with your busy schedule. It increases energy and keeps the skin clear too (great for anti-aging and teen acne). Make water fun by infusing it with cucumbers, mint, lemon, lime, or strawberries.
Have a salad a day. Green veggies are so important for the health of all your family members. It’s not too hard to throw together a salad with greens, cucumbers, and tomatoes, and carrots. Great for antioxidants. If the kids don’t like salads, slice up some of the cucumbers and carrots and let them dip them in ranch dressing or hummus. If you use cherry or grape tomatoes in your salads, those are easy for dipping too.
Keep a fruit bowl. Kids, elderly adults, and busy working moms and dads get hungry at different times. Keep a colorful fruit bowl so everyone can help themselves to something healthy between meals. Include apples, bananas, grapes, oranges, and specific seasonal fruits (peaches and nectarines in summer months and pears in fall months).
Don’t skip breakfast. Mornings can be hectic for the sandwich generation. Breakfast is critical for setting the stage for a healthy day (and life really). And kids need breakfast to be able to concentrate in school. Several studies have proven that consistent breakfasts increase children’s academic performance and behavior in school. Keep easy breakfast options on hand. Greek yogurt with fruit and a low-sugar granola is an easy breakfast option. Whole grain toast with banana and nut butter is a yummy option as well.
Keep the meat lean. No offense against our parents’ generation, but many of them favor fatty meats like roasts, chicken thighs, burgers, and such. Get them hooked on lean meats! Use chicken breast and ground turkey often. Try to include fish as much as possible — fish consumption helps with heart health and may also help to combat Alzheimer’s disease. Red meat is okay sometimes — just choose lean cuts like sirloin and with ground beef, your best option is 95/5, which means that 95 percent of the meat is lean.
Have family meals. It’s hard for everyone to eat together with busy schedules. Meals together keep family members connected and that’s so important with so many people under one roof. It lessens the stress and keeps everyone engaged.
Don’t let the sandwich generation stress you out. There are easy ways to stay healthy and happy. Take a deep breath and try implementing some of my suggestions. It will get easier, I promise.
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