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Nutrition and Hydration Week 2024

Are you remembering to drink enough and eat properly? 

As a carer, it is as important for you to ensure that you follow good nutrition and hydration practices to maintain your own health and energy levels as it is to ensure the person you care for has proper nutrition and hydration. After all, where would your loved one be if you were to become unwell? 

11th March sees the start of Nutrition and Hydration Week, an annual event with a shared objective to highlight, promote and celebrate improvements in the provision of nutrition and hydration locally, nationally and globally. 

We don’t need to tell you how demanding a caring role can be and how tired it can make you but did you know that even becoming slightly dehydrated can have a big impact on your energy levels and so can missing meals or making bad food choices. 


When we are busy it is very easy to forget to drink enough. Unless we can’t for a medical reason, we should aim to drink 1.5 to 2 litres of fluid a day, more if we are very active or in hot weather. Water is the best option as it doesn’t contain any unhealthy additives, is free and comes out of a tap! 

Your body can exhibit many signs of dehydration such as tiredness, headaches and poor concentration, not just a dry mouth. Our bodies need water to carry out all sorts of essential functions. Keeping well hydrated also lowers your chance of getting a urinary tract infection. The best indicator of good hydration is pale coloured urine – it should be a pale straw colour. If it is darker this means that you need more fluids. 

We can get necessary fluids from many foods such as fruit, vegetables and soups as well as water. You can include other drinks in your daily total, such as tea, milk and soft drinks but take care to avoid unnecessary additives such as sugar and artificial sweeteners which are themselves detrimental to good health. The Association of UK Dieticians has a useful guide – click here to read The Importance of Hydration. 

If you are concerned that the person you care for may not remember to drink enough water when you aren’t there to remind them, you may be interested in a Droplet Hydration Intelligence Kit (please click the text in bold for further details) and you can talk to Carers Support West Sussex about obtaining one.


When you are busy or tired it is all too easy to grab the nearest snack but this can often be something sugary which won’t help us feel better in the long term. In his book, The Doctors Kitchen, Eat to beat illness, Dr Rupy Aujla stresses that refined carbohydrates, sugars and sweeteners all have a number of links with poor health outcomes.

These food types have a negative effect on our gut microbiome which in turn affects our overall physical and mental health. In recent years research has shown that the trillions of micro-organisms that live in our gut are responsible for numerous processes which help to keep our bodies and minds healthy and they thrive on simple, unprocessed whole foods with fibre being particularly important. Although it may not be easy, it is important to make time to eat regularly and properly. It can helps plan meals a few days ahead so you can decide what to buy or what needs using up. It’s a good idea to batch cook where possible so you have leftovers to freeze for another day or for an easy lunch. Try to start the day with a good breakfast which will keep you going for several hours, reducing the need to snack. This doesn’t need to be a complicated cooked affair – a simple bowl of porridge with some added fruit and seeds is great, or a bowl of sugar-free muesli. Oats are an excellent food to start the day as they are a source of complex carbohydrates meaning that they provide slow-release energy to last several hours. Just in case though, carry some health snacks with you – unsalted nuts or seeds or a banana which comes in its own eco-friendly packaging! 

In her book Eat Yourself Healthy, Dr Megan Rossi tells us that for optimum gut health we should at as many different plant-based foods as we can, in their whole and natural form and to include cost-efficient, nutrient-dense (legumes) beans and pulses which are loaded with the prebiotics and fibre that our gut microbes love. Herbs and spices are also important sources of nutrients. 

If you need some inspiration for healthy meals BBC Good Food has some recipes here - Gut Friendly Recipes which include some healthy breakfast ideas. 

Written By Nicola Coughlin