Raise your hand if you’re so stubborn that you’ve prioritized healthy eating over your actual health and well-being. *sheepishly raising my own hand*
Okay, now raise your hand if you’ve made yourself feel sick and exhausted by eating only junk food because you were too sick and exhausted to cook. *sheepishly raising my own hand AGAIN*
Yes, I do see the self-defeating nature of these tactics. I’m sure you do, too. But what other choice is there? Well ladies, I’m here to promise you that you can ROCK healthy eating with a chronic illness. You won’t even need any special powders, pills, or potions to make it happen. All you need is a bit of common sense and creativity!
This post contains affiliate links. If you have any questions about my policies you can read them here.
Keep It Simple, Sweetie
My 6th grade art teacher passed a piece of wisdom onto our class on the first day of school that has stuck with me all these years. He told us, “Keep it simple, Sweetie!” Right now, as you learn to manage life with a chronic illness, it is time to keep it SIMPLE! This isn’t the time to try out complex recipes. No matter how good they look on Pinterest!
One of the best way tot keep it simple and healthy is to stick to limited ingredient dishes. Cook some pork chops with your favorite pasta sauce. Bake some potatoes and cook up some frozen green beans on the stove and you have a balanced meal! Put some chicken in the slow cooker with barbecue sauce, put it on a whole grain bun, and serve it with a salad. Get a bagged salad, a bag of shredded carrots, and boil some eggs. Then just top it with a healthy premade dressing like ones by Annie’s Naturals or Botlhouse Farms. Simple meals that meet your nutritional needs are key.
Don’t Dismiss Premade Food
Premade foods have gotten an unfairly bad reputation. They have all been lumped together as ‘unhealthy’, but it isn’t all ‘junk food’. There’s a huge difference between picking up fried chicken at the drive-thru and using simple, premade foods. While a diet filled with chips and fast food isn’t great, there are lots of other options today! Remember what we said about rocking motherhood with a chronic illness. Don’t try to be Supermom!
What foods can you buy that will help you with healthy eating AND simplifying your life? Rotisserie chicken and frozen burger patties are great options. Cook up some brown rice in a rice pot. It takes almost no effort. Then combine it with a fresh veggie like baby carrots. Just like that you have a balanced meal with almost no effort! You’ve covered protein, starch, and vegetables! Remember, you don’t have to get every food group at every meal to be healthy. Spread it out over meals and snacks throughout the day.
Thinking outside the box a bit will help, too. There are no real rules about what gets eaten for which meal. That rotisserie chicken can make a good source of protein for breakfast. At the end of a rough day scrambled eggs and fruit can make an easy and filling meal. One of my favorite breakfasts is scrambled eggs with a side of leftover roasted veggies. You might have to get a bit creative and let go of the ‘meal time’ hang ups many of us have, but you’ll be healthier for it!
Paper Goods Are Your Friends
Do you know what one of my favorite gifts for a new mom is? A giant collection of paper goods! I give them Costco-sized packages of paper plates, bowls, and cups, and plastic silverware. They always LOVE it! When you have a limited amount of energy, spending it standing over the sink to wash makes no sense! I know everyone from your Aunt Suzie to your neighbor down the street says that it’s AWFUL to use disposable things. Ignore them! I get that there are environmental issues. Don’t think I’m saying not to care. What I’m saying is that you can’t prioritize the environment over your ability to care for your family in the here and now. Tell your well-meaning friends that you’ll take their thoughts under consideration, then do what you need to do. After all, they aren’t volunteering to come do your dishes!
The reality is, your healthy eating efforts can be easily thwarted by using up your energy on the wrong things. Food eaten off of paper plates will be just as tasty as food eaten off of fine china. Paper products also won’t make the food any less nourishing for your body. So, save your energy and use the paper goods! You can even save yourself the effort of going to the store if you order it on Amazon. I mean, let’s face it, sometimes loading kids in the car and going to the store requires more energy than we have!
Don’t Be A Healthy Eating Extremist
We all know that eating nothing but junk food won’t help you get better. When you are battling chronic illness your body NEEDS good food. Even so, pushing yourself to the point of exhaustion in order to cook healthy food won’t help you get better, either! Don’t live in either of those extremist camps. There is another way! You can balance your healthy eating with rest. With a little creativity and common sense you can stay on track without pushing yourself so hard that you can’t do anything!