What we eat is a huge part of our health. If all we consume is junk, we won’t be very healthy. Healthy eating is about variety and moderation. And in the case of chronic pain patients, what you eat can affect pain symptoms; processed foods, non-healthy fats, and greasy food can actually exacerbate pain symptoms. Some food sensitivities can also cause inflammation and increase pain, so it’s important to know what may cause a flare-up.
One of our goals this year is to help patients eat healthier to help ease pain symptoms. Eating healthy can be a challenge, but here are some tips for making healthy eating easier and budget friendly. There are also some flare-up day friendly hacks included.
Online Ordering & Pick-up Services
By ordering online you can eliminate distractions and get only what you. So you can buy all the good for your fruits, veggies, and whole foods without getting distracted in the cookie and chip aisles. And if you’re experiencing a flare-up the groceries can be delivered directly to your care with pick-up services, instead of having to walk around the store.
Make a List
Plan ahead for the meals you’re making during the week and make a list of what you’ll need. With a list you’re less likely to deviate from your plan with spontaneous purchases, and stick to your budget.
Another thing that can help limit the buying of processed, high-in-sugar foods is sticking to the perimeter of the store. Most grocery stores are set up with whole foods like fruits, vegetables, meats, diary, and fresh breads on the outer aisles of the stores and processed foods in the interior ones.
This is my favorite timesaving, and effort friendly hacks. Admittedly sometimes I can be lazy and don’t want to cook, so I buy rotisserie chicken because it’s already cooked for me. This way I have a one ready-made meal, and I can use any leftover chicken for another one; like chicken enchiladas because now I only have to shred the it. (*Bonus hack: put the chicken in a food processor or blender and let it shred for you)
Planning what you’re going to cook thru the week is a great way to make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, on top of helping your plan your shopping trips. This also helps with meal fatigue, so you’re not eating the same chicken and veggies five nights a week (unless that’s your thing).
Leftovers are Essential
I don’t know about you, but one of my favorite things ever is leftovers. Leftovers are so versatile, eat them for lunch the next day or freeze them and save them for a flare-up day down the road when you don’t have the energy to cook. Another great “leftover” hack is when you’re making a casserole or lasagna make two, one to eat that day and one to freeze for another.
The Freezer = Best Friend
I’m serious, not only do I use it to save my leftovers, and meal prepped food. But it allows my to buy fruits and vegetables, and meat in bulk and not worry about wasting food because it spoiled. My freezer has helped with healthy eating as a way to plan my meals ahead of time.
These tips and many more can help you eat healthier without spending a fortune. We’ll share more tips throughout the year for sticking to healthier meals, as well as ways make it easier during a pain flare-up. If I missed a tip please let me know so I can share it with everyone!