It’s Carers Week, and we’re sharing our top tips for making sure you and the person you care for enjoy a balanced diet. Being a carer for a loved one comes with a whole host of challenges – particularly when it comes to mealtimes. Whether because of illness, disability or becoming less active, many people can find it difficult to eat or find that their dietary needs or appetite have changed. Here a few ways to make mealtimes easier, and help the person you care for get the nutrients they need: 1. Plan ahead It can help to plan menus a few days, or even a week in advance. This means you’ll have all the right ingredients to hand – and avoid the hassle and worry of having to decide what to cook each day. 2. Stock up on easy to prepare meals Everyone has days when they don’t have the time or energy to cook meals from scratch. And if you’re a carer, having a stock of quick-to-prepare meals can mean less time in the kitchen and more time with the person you’re caring for – or an all-important moment to yourself. At Oakhouse, we have a wide range of home delivered ready meals that are a real help to carers. Each one is made using good quality ingredients and contains no artificial colours or flavourings, so you get a real home-cooked taste – without the effort. 3. Prepare smaller portions Large meals can be daunting for people who find it difficult to eat, which may cause them stress and further affect their appetite. Eating smaller, more frequent meals can be a useful way of making sure the person you care for still gets the energy and nutrients they need from their food. If you’re looking for some inspiration, we have a wide range of Mini Meals designed specially for people with smaller appetites. So even if they can’t eat as much as before, they needn’t miss out on favourite dishes. 4. Serve hearty soups A big challenge for carers is that it’s quite easy for people with complex dietary needs or illnesses to become malnourished – perhaps because symptoms such as weight loss are more difficult to spot when there’s a wider health problem to manage. If someone has become underweight and lost their appetite, cooking Hearty Soups full of wholesome ingredients, such as our Tomato and Basil or Minestrone, can be a great way to help them put weight back on. A warming soup is often easier to manage than other meals, and simple to prepare. 5. Make sure you eat what’s right for you If you care for a loved one who requires a specific diet, it can change the way you eat as well. And sometimes, this can mean you end up eating more or less than is right for you – or missing out on favourite dishes. With our huge choice of home delivered ready meals, you can have what you fancy for dinner, without the time and effort of preparing yourself a separate meal from scratch. And our new dietary tool means it's now even easier to find the meals that suit you both. Find out more about our home meals service or order your choice of ready meals here If you’d like to talk to us in person please just give us a call on 0333 370 6700.