At some point (maybe daily) we all wonder, "what the heck will I make for dinner tonight?" For someone struggling with an eating disorder there may seem to be no acceptable answer. To reduce the anxiety around making a food choice when you haven’t planned the meal I recommend you keep a list of essentials that you always have stocked in the house. (Yes, we want you to have variety in your meals but having the essentials on-hand will decrease any in-the-moment stress when deciding what to eat.)
Here are some essentials that Ashley, Liz, and I keep on hand at any given time as examples:
Ashley-Rotisserie chicken, rice, boxes of quinoa or cous cous, canned beans, eggs, bread, peanuts, peanut butter, gaucomole, kind bars
Liz- Canned chickpeas and beans, rice, canned vegetables and tomatoes, frozen spinach, frozen fish, and frozen veggie-stuffed pastas like spinach ravioli or butternut squash ravioli.
Melissa- Frozen shrimp, canned tuna, black beans, bread, tortillas, broccoli, frozen veggies, milk, cheese, pasta noodles, apple sauce, and avocados.
You'll notice we try to have a couple options from each food group (starch, protein, vegetable, fruit, dairy, and fat) so all of our nutrient needs will be met. For example, I could make a black bean burrito with cheese, avocado, and a side of broccoli almost any day of the year because I always have those ingredients on-hand. Of course, I'll buy other items at the grocery store for when I want to make burgers, a casserole, chicken curry, etc. but having those staples in the fridge and pantry helps when I haven't planned a meal.
Liz shared, “Typically, I can defrost a piece of frozen fish quickly in cool water then just saute with spinach and serve over rice with a side of fruit or veggies. Frozen veggie stuffed pastas are a crowd pleaser if I'm cooking for the whole family. In 15 minutes or less, I can get the ravioli, a steamed frozen vegetable, and some bread on the table and everyone is happy.”
For someone struggling with an eating disorder we understand there may be difficult choices to make, but that's why your dietitian is here to encourage you, challenge you, and help you overcome your eating disorder.
Contact the Mood Balance Nutrition team for individualized help stocking your fridge, grocery shopping, and meal planning!