Do you find it stressful to make the daily decision on what to eat? Does it feel unrealistic and unattainable to prepare a meal from scratch every single day? Then let's explore some of the benefits meal prepping may offer.
Benefits of Meal Prepping in Recovery
Preparing meals ahead of time offers countless benefits to busy individuals, including time efficiency, financial savings, reduced stress, gentle nutrition, and accountability. It's important to understand that meal prepping is not intended to be used as a form of restriction or dieting behavior.
Instead, it can be a powerful tool for one's recovery. If you or a loved one are currently going through eating disorder treatment, meal-prepping could be a great intention to set.
How to Meal Prep
Meal prepping includes planning, cooking, and scheduling meals in advance to alleviate stress, save time and money, and more! Let's walk through the process together.
Planning: Start by deciding what meals you want to prepare for the upcoming days or week. Consider your nutritional needs, taste buds, skill level, and the number of meals you want to prepare.
Recipes and Ingredients: Once you've chosen your meals, gather recipes and create a shopping list. Check the kitchen to see if you already have some of these ingredients first (you never know!). Creating the list on your phone could be helpful if you often forget the paper list at home. If you experience heightened emotions when grocery shopping in person, consider ordering online to pick up or having it delivered.
Batch Cooking: Spend a dedicated block of time (usually on a weekend or another convenient day) to cook large quantities of food. This is key to meal prepping because it allows the individual to save time in the long run by preparing the majority at once. Maybe a Sunday afternoon sounds ideal to batch cook chicken for the week. One idea may be preparing a large quantity of chicken to use for various dishes.
Storage: After cooking, place meals into individual containers. Use airtight containers to keep food fresh, and consider labeling containers with the date to help with rotation and freshness.
Refrigeration or Freezing: Refrigerate meals that will be consumed within a few days, and freeze those that are intended for later in the week in freezer bags. This helps prevent spoilage and ensures the food stays safe to eat.
Reheating: When it's time to eat, simply reheat your prepped meal. This is often done in a microwave, oven, or stovetop, depending on the type of food. If you're looking to cut down on dishes, use a glass container that can be stored and reheated!
Small Steps Make a Difference
So, you're interested in meal prepping to aid in your eating disorder recovery journey! Where do you start? If you're working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, this could be a great conversation to continue with them.
Are there any meals that seem safe and satisfying to you? Maybe a chicken caesar salad sounds ideal for the week. Starting small with a prepared rotisserie chicken and packaged caesar salad mix could be a great option!
This could be a realistic option when getting started with meal prepping. Another idea could be batch-cooking salmon for the week. Let's say salmon bowls and teriyaki salmon bites sound ideal to your taste buds.
Cooking the salmon with half seasoned in teriyaki sauce and the other half seasoned in a garlic herb allows for a yummy variety! Once finished, the teriyaki salmon can go with a bed of rice and veggies while the garlic salmon can be tossed with your favorite grains and veggies.
Small steps really do make a big difference, especially when it comes to meal prepping! There is no need to dive in head first, as this often leads to feeling overwhelmed and burned out on the idea.
If you're interested in working with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to meet your nutrition goals, let's connect! Our in-house RDN, Eden Davis, currently is accepting new clients 16+ in Maryland, DC, Virginia, New Jersey, Florida, and California. Eden also offers complimentary consultation calls to see if the two of you could be a good fit prior to getting started.
With Pearls of Wisdom,
Eden & Kira