Oftentimes individuals are in 1 of 2 categories. When pressed for time or stressed they either don’t make food a priority or they use food as comfort. Both of these behaviors can be linked to stress.
It is true that not all stress is bad, certain types of stress make us better and teach us to adapt. Other types can become harmful when they prevent us from giving our body what it needs to operate smoothly.
How do you plan for your week in your personal, work and home life? Does it feel jam-packed? Do you make decisions at the grocery store knowing that you have a big work meeting coming up or your child has practice two evenings a week? Understanding how your stress (both good and bad) and time availability affect your eating patterns is critical. If we do not understand our tendencies we will not be able to prepare adequately.
Practical Ideas to plan ahead:
Brainstorm your favorite “easy” meals. This could be deli chicken sandwiches, ground beef tacos, sheet pan roasted fish + veggies (cut veggies beforehand or buy a pre cut option). Once you have several go-to easy meals, plan to have those ready on your busy days. During weeks where there are several days in a row you won’t be able to cook, double the recipe and have it for leftovers!
This is so valuable as we make it a priority to eat whole foods, mostly cooked at home. When I look forward to the meal I have prepared at home it curbs the desire to get fast food because really it won’t save me any time and will most likely make me feel worse.
There is no reason to feel the pressure to cook dinner every night of the week and for most people this is impossible. Do what you can to eat less processed foods while also giving yourself the freedom to buy the frozen chicken tenders (still check the ingredient list) when you know that it will save you from a trip to fast food! Pairing some gluten free chicken tenders with roasted broccoli and carrots is still better than what you would order out so let that be a win. Or if you live close to a restaurant that serves whole foods and locally grown items make a busy evening easier by picking food up and supporting locals!
Lastly, another great resource for eating when you are busy is to find a meal prep service that you trust. Most of these services have several options and allow you to customize the amount of food you are getting each week. This is so helpful!
For my people who just “forget to eat” when the days are hectic. Make it a priority to slow down and breathe. Take a two minute pause from your work and let yourself relax and notice sensations in your body. Are you stressed, are you hungry, what do you need? As we learn to listen to what our bodies are telling us our relationship with food will continue to improve!