We all have to eat.

apple fruit healthy food

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Just like laundry and dishes, meal preparation is also a necessity of life.  For those of us with CI, it is extremely important for us to eat healthy, well-balanced meals within the plan either laid out by your medical professional or a plan that is a result of  your own research as to what is best for your body’s special needs.  Personally, I do a combination of both of these.

Through the years of raising kiddos and being ill, I have discovered just a few tricks to make it a bit easier for me, because no matter how you do it, meal preparation takes a lot energy.

First, I keep it simple.  Yep, I love looking through magazines with beautiful pictures of healthy foods laid out on the glossy pages and for a split second I think………..maybe I could try that.  Ha!  if it has more than 6 ingredients, it isn’t worth my energy to even rip the page out of my magazine and save for later because realistically it just won’t happen.  I must keep each meal as simple as possible; a combination of protein and carbs and a healthy fat……..heavy on the complex carbs if at all possible.

Two, as I have mentioned in a previous post, if  I am making something that can be frozen, I make two and save one for later.  Foods such as stir-fry, meatloaf, burritos, and meatballs can be easily frozen and ready to eat at another time.  On bad days, who doesn’t love knowing there is home-cooked food in the freezer for your next meal.

Three, I am drinking more smoothies for breakfast.  Simple, fast, nutritious and everyone in my family loves them.

Four, I do not have a weekly/monthly meal plan.  I gave it the good ‘ol college try and realized it maybe be helpful for some people but it just wasn’t for me. It was another one of my attempts to follow what works for others resulting in me feeling like a failure because I couldn’t keep a simple meal plan.  Sometimes I just didn’t feel like eating what was on the menu that week and some days I felt so poorly that food in general just made me ill.  That is when I established number five.

Five, I keep several meals worth of  pre-packaged frozen food in my freezer.  I attempt to buy as healthful as possible, but these are there in case I just can’t do it – you know the days.

And last but not least is number six.  I purchase a much fresh produce as my budget will allow.  That way there are apples, bananas, carrots, celery, cucumbers……….you get the picture, to eat when family members are hungry.

That’s it.  We all need to eat and the healthier the better.  But, remember, you can only do what you can do.  There are days when I look upon a drive thru as the 8th wonder of the world.

Until next time…………….YOU are a super hero, no matter what you eat!

one in the freezer

supermarket refrigerators

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I usually don’t post two days in a row but I wanted to add on to what I posted yesterday regarding putting meals in the freezer for later use.

This afternoon I taught my youngest daughter how to make meatloaf.  I already had ground beef thawing in the fridge and knew I had to do something with it soon.  So, I used this meat as a wonderful opportunity to teach my daughter and to put an extra “meal” in our freezer.  I had my daughter prepare all the meat which fit into two loaf pans, with some left over.  One loaf was for tonight’s dinner and the other went into the freezer for a later date!

Since there was still meat left over from the meatloaf, we made meatballs and those also went into the freezer.  Although it took a little more time to prepare the extra meat for the second meatloaf and to make and bake the meatballs, it was much faster then if I had to start the process from scratch.

I have to admit, I am super tired tonight after spending 3 hours in the kitchen teaching my daughter to cook an entire meal which consisted of baked potatoes and green beans and she just had to make cupcakes…..but…..we were able to get goodies in the freezer (including cupcakes) and enjoy a healthy dinner.

So, I am encouraging you, if/when you are able, to plan ahead while grocery shopping and purchase extra ingredients so you too can put some food away in the freezer for your less than decent days!

 

You can’t live on bread alone.

photography of sliced bread

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……..and some of us can’t have bread at all!

Food, it is the bane of my existence!  You have to shop for it,  put it away, store it, drag it out and prepare it and then clean up the mess you made while preparing it!  Unless you are fabulously wealthy, you too have to deal with the entire food prep system that starts at the grocery store (or your backyard if you are able to homestead) and ends up on your counters.  This whole process can be exhausting, especially for those of us with chronic illnesses.  For me, just going to the grocery store is tiring………driving, walking into the store, walking through the store with those god forsaken prison lights above, moving around people, bending over to look for items, trying to find my list in my purse to realize I left the list on the counter, again.  Then you have to wait in line, load the vehicle and then unload at the house……….then after all that is done NOW it is time to make dinner!?  Seriously?

So, how can we make this whole arduous process easier for ourselves?  I will be discussing different aspects of food gathering and prep in posts to come, but for today I want to discuss freezer cooking.  I have read many books that tout cook for a day eat for a month, or cook one day for a week’s worth of meals.  Many of these books were well written and provided good information, but they were obviously not geared toward those who are chronically ill.  I know, right now you are thinking there is NO WAY I have the energy to spend an entire weekend cooking from sun up to sun down just to put food in my freezer, and I completely agree.  But there are things we can do to make life easier and healthy for ourselves.  We all know the drive thru is WAY easier and saves so much energy, but the food quality tends to be poor and it gets expensive, so eating home prepared meals are better for our health and our pocketbook.

When you have the energy to cook a meal, make two.  I know this will take some planning ahead but if you have to be in the kitchen you might as well get the most out of it as possible.

Let me give you an example, this morning I was happy to wake up and realize I could prepare breakfast for others.  So, I toasted English muffins, fried eggs and ham and made as many egg and ham muffins as I had ingredients.  I assembled the muffins, let them cool, put them in individual sandwich bags and then into a gallon zip lock bag.  I then went on to toast lots of slices of bread and made pb and j sandwiches, again let the bread cool and placed each sandwich in individual plastic bags and then into a gallon size zip lock bag.  Now when my kids are “starving” there are sandwiches waiting in the freezer.

Earlier this week I made burritos, again, I made as many burritos as I had ingredients and wrapped each extra burrito in a small amount of waxed paper and put into a gallon zip lock bag……….I was able to fill two bags.  Although I was tired after making the extra burritos, it was worth the extra 30 minutes in order to have food in my freezer.

Eventually I will post all the items that I make ahead because, for me, they save me time and energy in the long run.  I have not found this true for many freeze ahead meal recipes as they required too many ingredients, too much prep time and/or cooking time.  My motto is to keep meals as simple as possible and you can too!