One of my favorite ways to practice self-care is through nutrition. When I eat well, I feel well, and when I feel well, I do well. It creates an ongoing, positive cycle, that has a domino effect onto many areas of my life. I get a lot out of healthy eating habits, and summer’s seasonal offerings sweeten the appeal for many of us to follow suit.
If I could share one life lesson on nutrition with all of you, it’s to eat whole foods. No, not the store - although feel free to indulge there for healthy food finds if you’d like. But I mean eat actual whole foods that are untouched from processing, and offer you their full nutritional value in their simplest, most natural form.
I learned this lesson in college, when the stress of my hectic schedule caused some tummy troubles. My doctor advised me on a few ways to improve my situation, that worked well together. One of her tidbits of advice: “don’t eat processed food.” In all honesty, I never really thought too much about processed food as necessarily being less healthy. Sure, the obvious choices like fast food and candy made sense, but so many food items came in a nice wrapper labeled with words that validated it as a healthy and smart choice - or so it seemed. Regardless of my new questioning of what truly constitutes healthy food, I was moving on from packaged food.
It was a work in progress, because as a college kid, I knew how to work hard and play hard. Some nights my impaired judgement led me to say yes to those cheesy breadsticks from Gumby’s, or to piling way too many people into one car for a giggly drive-thru order.
Of course I felt the effects of those lapses in following the doctor’s orders, especially because my body was still in major healing mode at that point. However, I actually followed through most of the time, which required some effort on my end. I had to start cooking for myself. Not just sometimes, but for almost every meal. That was the best way to guarantee I wouldn’t end up eating processed food, or end up skipping a meal due to lack of availability.
Fast forward to today, where the advice my doctor gave me is obvious to so many people now. I’m happy about that, and happy to report my “situation” continued to improve to the point that I hardly have any symptoms like I did back then. My experience of eating healthy, whole foods proved to be a practice in preventative health care, which has become one of my biggest proponents of self-care.
So, what is the key to my ongoing dedication to eating minimal processed foods, or to eat as many whole foods as I can? It’s meal prepping! I can’t even say that my schedule is much less hectic than it was in college, which seemed to induce all the tummy traumas of my hayday. Many would argue that a busy schedule poses a time barrier to meal prepping. I argue that this is exactly when you need it most! Think about it. You’re on the go all-day, every-day. Do you really want to stress about where to stop for lunch or a snack whenever you’re hungry? That eats up tons of time. Trust me - I also learned this one the hard way.
We’re fortunate enough now to have options like meal-prepping services, and subscription meals that provide recipes and ingredients. I’ve learned to love the act of cooking, so I tend to do the meal prepping on my own. While I do enjoy it, I’ve learned some shortcuts along the way, and found some great blogs and resources that help make meal prepping whole foods an efficient process. My favorite recipes are listed below for you to explore on your healthy food adventures. Luckily, the absolute easiest time to meal prep whole foods has to be in the summer when an abundance of fruit and vegetables peak. The best part about it all though is that you hardly have to cook in the summer time to whip up healthy, tasty meals. Just chop, season, and maybe cook one or two staple ingredients. Then place into containers, and voila - you’ve just completed your meal prepping!
Here are pictures of some of my go-to meals; click the photos to find the recipes. They’re as delicious and easy as they are colorful.
Now we would love to hear from you!
Now that you’ve heard about meal prepping as the ultimate self-care practice for nutrition, we’d love to see what recipes you try, and hear about your whole food meal prepping experience. Share your pictures and feedback on our Self Care Club Instagram, our public Facebook page, and if you haven't joined yet, our private Facebook group as well. Thank you in advance for reading, commenting and sharing with love, compassion and kindness. You help make our cozy corner of the world wide web an awesome place! There’s more to come from me on the topic of nutrition and the physical aspect of self-care, so let’s keep this conversation going!
Sending love, healing, and self care,