Most of us don’t equate the words organized nutrition with anything fun. But we’re going to dispel that belief here and now. Meal planning and meal prep, when done correctly, does involve a process of organization. Think of it as front-loading mealtime plans for the long term. And the benefits are many.
Good Nutrition is About Finding A Delicate Balance
The body and the mind may be separate but work collectively to create our best self. Once a person has gone through addiction treatment to remove toxic chemicals and toxic behaviors from ongoing alcohol, drug or prescription medication dependence, bodily systems continue to work toward a healthy balance. It’s a process that every human in recovery experiences, whether giving it any conscious thought or not.
But for anyone who has gone through a health crisis, the need to realize and sustain a healthy equilibrium emotionally and physically is essential. Those working past addiction know that recovery is a day-to-day work in progress.
So what can a person do to strengthen their future, in the moment, without adding stress? The answer simply lies in the food we eat.
A Dash of Color and a Sprinkling of Spice: Eating Real Food
The food people consume directly affects our health. When we choose to ingest fast food or the last-minute, ready-to-eat-after-90-seconds in the microwave fare, we don’t really know what’s going into our bodies. Sure, there’s the menu that might list the calories, sugar, and fat content, or we can read the packaging label, but what does it say about how the body and mind will respond? Unless you know how food can be your best friend or worst nightmare, you’ve probably never give it a second thought. Until now.
Traditional and holistic methodologies behind nutrition and diet (not weight loss) have not always seen eye-to-eye on which foods, singularly and combined, will provide a person the most healthful benefits, until recently.
More research findings are pointing to the merits of sticking to a plant-based diet for the foundation of our daily sustenance. Fruits and vegetables, by nature, encapsulate nutrient-rich ingredients from farm-to-table, so to speak. In fact, they don’t require a lot of forethought to make them taste good. Nothing dresses up a dinner plate prettier than an ensemble of these red, green, orange, yellow and purple goodies.
Accent this rainbow of deliciousness with a fist-size of lean protein, a few whole grain options, and a drizzle of healthy fat (yes, there is such a thing) and you’ve given your mind and body the perfect meal. The recommended ratio is 10 to 35 percent of your calories derived from protein, 45 to 65% from carbohydrates (remember, fruit and vegetables count), and 20 to 35% from healthy fat. These are called the Acceptable Macronutrient Distribution Ranges (AMDR), which are provided by the Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine. Of course, your total number of calories needed per day will depend on your body type and whether you are attempting to lose weight or maintain it.
You might be thinking, “Who has time for that?” or “That costs more than I can afford.” Consider how a small shift in perspective can pull a person out of chaos and into a positive light. Healthy living, through organized nutrition, will do the same.
Meal Prep Offers More Time to Do What You Love
One of the biggest complaints many of us echo on a weekly basis is that we don’t have enough time to meet our obligations or just breathe, theoretically. With a solid meal prep process, you set aside a specific time each week (either a few hours once a week or broken into two different days) to focus on what to purchase at the supermarket (or local farmer’s market) to use throughout the week. But that’s only a part of it. In addition, you will choose healthy foods that support optimal brain and body function.
Now here’s where the fun comes in. Pick and choose different food items and create dishes you’ll look forward to eating. Explore new flavors and textures, as well as cooking methods. Make more than you need for a single meal and either save the rest for later in the week or package it and store in the freezer for another day or month.
As you continue with this process, it will free up time each week so you can work less. Meal prep provides opportunities for you to uncover your inner foodie and share with family and friends. Who knows…it could be the beginning of a new hobby or career change.
Good Nutrition Actually Puts More Money in Your Pocket
By taking time out each week to create a food shopping list (and corresponding meal ideas) it forces you to own what you eat, in a sense. While nuts, seeds and fresh produce can be eaten as purchased, lean beef, turkey, chicken and fish must be refrigerated and cooked, or it’s money spent gone down the drain.
When you take meal prep and meal planning to task, it covers many meals. So you don’t waste time and money buying foods that aren’t good for you or your pocketbook.
Here’s an example:
Cost of a Fast Food Cheeseburger: 670 calories; 330 fat calories – 1 Serving – $5.00 (includes white bun, slice of tomato, 3 pickles slices, one slice of cheese, meager lettuce leaf) – Serves 1
Cost of grocery store purchase for the same items as above:
- 1 pound of 96% lean ground beef, serves 4, $7.49… $1.87/serving
- 1 bag (8 servings) whole wheat buns, serves 8, $3.79… $0.43/serving
- 1 tomatoes, serves 2, $.19… $0.10/serving
- 1 small jar of pickles, serves 10, $2.69… $0.27/serving
- 1 package (16 servings) of cheese, serves 12, $3.39… $0.28/serving
- 1 green leaf lettuce (multiple servings), serves 8, $1.99…$0.25/serving
1 Serving – $ 3.20
As you can see by the example above, avoiding the fast food line and planning your meals is a more cost-effective approach to personal menus.
Taking Control of Your Health Through Organized Nutrition
One of the crucial aspects of successful addiction recovery is the ability to establish healthy behavioral patterns, easily set in motion through consistent routine. Meal planning and meal prepping each week aligns with this process and includes another beneficial factor.
Organized nutrition allows the mind to focus on doing something creative while you engage in healthy eating habits. Are you hungry yet?
Here’s your chance to add this to your way of life.