There are few things I find as supportive of my health and well being as making a meal plan each week. Sure it can be a pain in my butt when I sit down on Sunday to actually do it, but when Thursday rolls around and I’m don’t get home from work until 8, I can’t tell you how much easier it makes my life to know that I have all the ingredients to make a great meal already at hand. Additionally, when I find myself resisting meal planning I tend to eat foods that don’t make me feel as great and that leave me feeling bloated or drained. Who wants to feel like that all the time?
Meal planning helps with recovery. When I was recovering from my own eating disorder knowing what I was going to eat made me less overwhelmed because I didn’t have to think about it and just had to do it. It isn’t to say that eating is always the easiest for those that restrict but the less complicated you can make the whole process the more manageable eating can be.
For those that emotionally eat, meal planning decreases the likelihood of you bingeing because it means less stops at the grocery store. It also means you can plan ahead for how you want to eat and only have to focus on getting yourself home and following through with making the meals you shopped for. This isn’t always easy but if you commit to it you get to feel better and feel successful which I think we all need to feel a little more of when we are struggling with something as challenging as an eating disorder
So what is the trick that I think makes meal-planning go from painful and dreadful to your best friend? A meal plan list! Instead of each week having to sit down and think of new ideas I recommend people make a hardcopy list on their computer of all their favorite meal ideas and recipes. Doing this will probably take you anywhere from 60-90 minutes but it will be a lifesaver going forward.
So what does this look like?
- Pull up a word document on your computer and save it as Meal Plan Ideas
- Spend some time thinking back to some of your most favorite meals and/or the meals you have had recently. If you tend to go out to eat think of your favorite meals at restaurants and/or your favorite ethnic foods and add them to your list.
- Think of your seasonal favorites. For example, in the fall and winter we tend to crave soups and stews more often whereas in the spring and summer salads tend to be more satisfying.
- Write all of these down in the document as well as the links to where you can find the recipes (if some of them come from online sources).
- Commit to adding at least 1 new item to the list a week.
- Call your family or your friends and ask them to get in on it. If they don’t want to make their own list then maybe they would be willing to think up a few items for you.
- Wake up Sunday morning (or whatever day you grocery shop) relieved that all you have to do is find 1 new recipe to add to your list (the internet has become my best friend for this however you can also look through your cookbooks). Write the necessary ingredients on your shopping list and give yourself a pat on the back for taking your health into your own hands
If you are stuck and looking for ideas send me a message and I will happily attach my meal plan for you to look at (in all it’s unorganized glory!)