Okay, so “change your life” might seem dramatic, but meal planning can help with more than you can imagine. Today, we are going to learn how this can be!
But first… I want to say Happy Holidays!! Both for the upcoming Christmas celebration and also for Chanukah, a holiday near and dear to my heart.
Chanukah starts tonight, and for those of you who don’t know its symbolism, in a nutshell — Chanukah is about celebrating Jewish physical and cultural survival in the face of oppression.
This 8-day Jewish holiday also involves an ancient miracle involving oil. Two things people do to celebrate Chanukah are to light candles and eat fried foods such as latkes and donuts.
I love latkes and if you have never eaten them, might I suggest you try and imagine the crispiest French fry you have ever had but so much better! I have a recipe at the bottom of this article.
Now that I have you thinking about yummy food and meals, let’s get back to that topic of how meal planning can change your life!
Meal planning and preparing is a topic that might come up when you switch from tracking and managing everything you eat, to being a more intuitive eater.
Many people don’t realize it, but meal planning can be Intuitive. Just because you are listening to your body more and focusing on your needs with intuitive eating, doesn’t mean you can’t also plan ahead!
Let’s look at some ways that Meal Planning can help you…
Plan Your Meals, Don’t Control Them
The key here is to focus on planning ideas for meals in the upcoming week, but not controlling them too much. What’s the difference?
If you are dieting or trying to control your food, your meal plan consists only of foods that fit within that diet. When you are being intuitive, it includes a wide range of foods. This might be a subtle difference between getting egg whites and full eggs, adding a few convenience snacks instead of just yogurt and fruit, or allowing yourself to add items not on your list because they look good.
Make a Meal Plan with a List of Foods That Sound Good
As you would with any other week of meal planning, start with a list of foods or meals that sound good to you. This can be foods you eat every week, something new, or something you haven’t had in a while. Maybe you were watching TV and saw someone eating a bagel, and that sounds really good, or this week you are in the mood to make your favorite chicken casserole or chicken pot pie. (Here’s a great recipe for chicken pot pie too!)
You don’t necessarily need to get everything on your meal planning list, but just start with the types of foods that sound good right now.
Use Foods You Have to Create Your Meal Plan
Go through your refrigerator and cabinets to see what ingredients you already have that could work with meals. This is going to save you money and help give you some inspiration. So many times, you find a random ingredient you forgot you had, like apricot jam, and suddenly you realize you have a recipe you can make with it that also sounds good.
Allow Your Cravings to Guide You
Sometimes, you just have a new craving, and that will help with your meal plan. Remember you are being intuitive, not overly indulgent or binging on anything and everything. You might not get every single thing you have a craving for, but it can guide you towards meals and snacks that will work good for the coming week.
Meal planning can be a part of your Intuitive Eating journey because it will help you along the way and give you some added benefits like working WITH your cravings, saving money, and helping you kick diets to the curb! All of this can also help with emotional eating and stress, which may of us are dealing with right now.
Try it out for a week or two and let me know how it goes!
Here is a GREAT Recipe for Potato Pancakes (Latkes)
Body Positive and Anti-Diet Gift Ideas
Looking for some gift ideas different gift ideas for the non-dieter in your life! And ones that are Body Positive too? You can check out my list of Body Positive Gift ideas that will support your loved one’s authentic health in the new year.
NEW in time for the holidays!
When you are recovering from chaotic or disordered eating or eating disorders, planning for your success is critical to your recovery. Flexible meal planning, as well as experimentation with different meals and snacks, is one of the top methods my clients work on to heal and recover; learning to view food as a path to nourishment, pleasure, and connection rather than one of stress!
My colleague and fellow dietitian, Diana Ushay, and I created the Recipes for Recovery Cookbook to help you challenge the eating disorder voice and take back control of your life. Recipes for Recovery is a cookbook to inspire you to try new flavors, to feel more comfortable in the kitchen and find satisfaction with your food.
Following the Recipes for Recovery Cookbook will help you:
- Reconnect with positive eating experiences you had before the eating disorder
- Explore new flavors, colors, textures and aromas that connect your senses
- Experiment with previously forbidden foods that bring awareness to the present moment
- Challenge and let go of food restrictions and rigid rules to rekindle a healthy and fulfilling pattern of eating
- See success as you continue to discover food freedom
Are you ready to move forward on your Recovery Journey with more food freedom?
Click here to purchase your Recipes for Recovery Cookbook now!
Erica Leon is a Registered Dietitian and practices from a Health at Every Size (HAES®) lens. She and her team of eating disorder specialists and Anti-Diet Dietitians provide insurance-based care for eating disorders, disordered eating, chronic dieting, or other health conditions in a safe and non-judgmental space for healing.
We work virtually with our clients from our offices in Westchester County in New York as well as the tri-state areas of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, along with Florida, California, Wisconsin, Iowa, Texas, and Vermont. We are in-network with the following insurance companies: Aetna, Cigna, and United Healthcare; including Oxford, UMR, and The Empire Plan (NYSHIP).
We take the time to learn where you or your family are in the pursuit of health. Respectful of your individual needs and lifestyle, Erica will provide an honest assessment of whether or not you are a good fit to work together. Click here to schedule a 15-minute Discovery Call with Erica to let us know about your needs, and to see which of our Dietitians is the best fit for you!