Sadly, we are what we eat…

I’ve spent a lot of time this summer thinking about how to make food preparation easier, more convenient and healthier – all at once. Lately, I’ve been confronting the sad truth that my lust for convenience will often over-ride my good judgment and lead me to make selections that are anything but healthy.

Photo of many types of baked bread.
I’m particularly prone to buy (and then, of course, consume) what are called Ultra-Processed Foods (UPFs) a category which includes products like:
  • Pastries & baked goods
  • Frozen meals
  • Soft drinks
  • Processed meats (hot dogs, bacon, deli meats)
  • Boxed cereals
  • Ice cream
  • Potato chips
  • Candy (bars, bites, etc.)
  • Anything with refined grains (whiter breads, most pastas & bagels)
These poor purchasing habits and long-standing patterns of less-than-healthy choices are not easy to overcome in my old-age, but I have some strong motivation to change my ways and explore fresh alternatives. I suspect if you’re a picky eater, or perhaps a foodie, who prefers to have something new, interesting and probably photographable for your meal, your choices either start to cost more OR your meal preparation time starts to fill much more of your day. And, if you serve meals to a family of picky eaters, that complicates it even further – you can begin to feel like you’re everyone’s short-order cook.
Self-care is every conscious action you take that feeds your soul, nourishes your body, nurtures your spirit, or replenishes your relationship with yourself!
Without either of these complications in my life, I have both factors working in my favor to help me in this transition to better eating. I’m not opposed to eating the same thing repeatedly. In other words, I don’t mind having the same breakfast 4 or 5 days each week. The secondly my husband doesn’t eat much at all these days and he’s a very simple eater – so I don’t need to fuss about what I make or serve to him – he’s like Mikey, he’ll eat nearly anything! So, if I make healthier choices, we both eat better! It’s that simple.
I have learned that convenience is my most important value when it comes to food preparation. If it isn’t easy, I’m likely to avoid doing it. This is true even if, in a moment of nostalgic weakness, I pull out an old family recipe with 15 ingredients, purchase them all and put them in my pantry. The truth is that my best laid plans rarely come to fruition because I just don’t want to work that hard to cook most days of the week!
This quest is just starting for me, but I’ve discovered several shopping and food preparation ideas that have begun to serve me well. I’ll share them here with you, in case you should have needs (or bad habits) similar to mine:
  • Shop online & avoid the impulse buys! Your grocery store puts the candy near the check-out lane for a reason, you’ll be tempted to make an impulse buy while you wait your turn. That’s why the coffee shop shows you all their baked-goods while you wait to order your latte!
  • Cook once, eat several times! This works for big batches of anything you routinely make – soups, stews, casseroles (or in Minnesota, Hot Dishes), and almost anything you can cook in your crock-pot.
  • Don’t cook, eat several times! For me, this has become the habit of prepping 6 small jars of overnight oats (several good recipes online) to help me make better breakfast choices AND prepping 4 big jars of Mason-Jar-Salads with a host of ingredients that can marinade in the dressing (at the bottom of the jar) and serve as a healthy lunch most days of the week!
  • Simple beats complex! For me, this means having several choices of pre-cooked proteins portions (pork, chicken, fish, etc.) that I’ve batch-cooked and frozen, to serve with any vegetable choices that make sense at the time (either seasonally fresh or convenience-driven).
  • Sometimes it’s worth having someone else as my prep-chef! Which means I’m not always starting from scratch. I use canned or grocery-store-prepped vegetables for my salads, rotisserie chickens for my protein portions or already-cooked shrimp (sold frozen) ready to thaw and serve!
More to come! You will probably find me writing more about convenient and healthy choices as I work to restructure my habits over time. I hope you’ll enjoy my discoveries and perhaps send me some of yours!
Whether you’re working toward attaining a healthier weight, or getting unnecessary chemicals out of your diet, or simply choosing foods that can provide you with the fuel you genuinely need for living – our eating habits matter, and even modest change can lead to a healthier lifestyle!

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About Paula

I help other caregivers – both professionals and family caregivers – acknowledge their pain and learn to practice the many small skills of self-care that can sustain them through the challenges of wholeheartedly caring for others.

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How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.

How Can I Help You?

Through Co-Create 4 Life, you will learn a range of well-being strategies from skillfully implementing self-care to holistic approaches to well-being, rebuilding resilience, and battling burnout. Book a free consultation call today to discuss your options.