Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Simplify Life with Migraines & Chronic Illness: Meal Planning


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Planning ahead is essential for migraineurs in general, but especially where food is concerned. Between keeping an eye out for potential triggers, planning for unexpected, but certain to occur attacks, and keeping a regular eating schedule to avoid bringing on an attack, we have our work cut out for us. Not to mention the responsibility of feeding a family if you have one. This is why it is important to have a small repertoire of go to recipes and fake out options ready to put into action at a moment's notice. Meal planning and execution is equally difficult for people with any of a variety of chronic illnesses. This advice is for you, too.

Kid & Spouse Friendly Options. If you're the meal planner and cook for your family, include some options your older kids or spouse can take the lead on in your meal plan. Many husbands, mine included, love to grill. Take advantage of this by planning your meals around the grill. Pair some marinated grilled chicken with a steamed vegetable and rice or potatoes and you're good to go. Real Simple Magazine is a wonderful source of easy, family-friendly, healthy recipes that can be put together with little trouble or effort. Check their website for ideas: Real Simple Magazine. Their Fake It Don't Make It ideas are awesome.

Meal Assembly Stores are a great resource for providing yourself and your family with healthy, ready to heat meals that require very little effort on your part. Some stores ask you to come assemble your meals yourself, while others offer the option of picking up pre-assembled meals. Most of these stores are independent and set their own unique policies, so you'll want to familiarize yourself with each store and pick one that best suits your needs. Visit: Easy Meal Prep Association to find a meal assembly store in your area.

Frozen Dinners. Although they can be extremely high in sodium, there are many tasty, healthy frozen dinners available in grocery stores. There are even some brands that accommodate dietary restrictions and aim to eliminate chemicals and additives, such as Amy's Kitchen. The hardest part can be trying to pick dinners to try by looking at the packages. I recommend searching for recommendations from people who've already tried dinners and reviewed them. Visit: Heat Eat Review for reviews of many popular brands and dinners and the Amy's Kitchen website to familiarize yourself with their products.


Double Your Recipes and freeze half when you feel up to cooking. Most recipes are easily doubled, but it can become confusing to try to remember how much of each ingredient to add while you're in the process of cooking. Make it easier by writing out a list of the doubled amounts of each ingredient so you can refer to that instead of the original recipe while you're working. Eat one portion and freeze the other. Put the food in a freezer-safe, air tight container and label it with the date and name of the food. A Google search for "freezer friendly recipes" will give you an abundance of meal ideas perfect for doubling and freezing for later. The Food Network website has some great ideas: Freezer-Friendly Recipes and the Martha Stewart website offers advice: Tips for Freezing Food

What are your best tips, tricks and suggestions for getting a healthy, satisfying meal on the table when you're dealing with the strain of chronic illness? What do you eat? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Links in this post:

Amy's Kitchen
Easy Meal Prep Association
Food Network: Freezer-Friendly Recipes
Heat Eat Review
Martha Stewart: Tips for Freezing Food
Real Simple Magazine: Fake It Don't Make It
Real Simple Magazine


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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.