Trauma and mental illness take a physical toll as well as a psychological one, and taking care of your body can really help with healing. But eating healthy is really tough, especially for survivors. Here are some ideas to make it a little easier.
- Plan out your meals ahead of time. Before you go grocery shopping, think about what breakfasts, lunches, and dinners you want for the week. That way you’ll have everything on hand and stick to your plan. At least plan them out the night before, so you’re not deciding what to eat in the moment when you’re more likely to pick something unhealthy.
- Notice your snacking habits. For me, when I’m doing work at my computer, I’ll absent-mindedly eat whatever is in front of me, whether it’s carrots or doritos. So I try to stick healthy things in front of me.
- Notice your drinking habits. Try to drink more water and cut back on sugary drinks. Watch your caffeine intake, too. It will interfere with healthy sleep if you’re drinking too much caffeine.
- Try healthier versions of your favorite things. Search pinterest for things like “healthy mac and cheese,” “healthy chicken nuggets,” “healthy banana bread,” etc. Also, make a note of your favorite healthy foods (like your favorite fruits and vegetables) and look up recipes that include them as ingredients.
- If you have a hectic morning schedule, make your breakfast and lunch ahead of time. Breakfast wraps and breakfast sandwiches can be made in bulk and frozen. If you’re a fan of smoothies, you can put together the ingredients for a week’s worth and keep them frozen in sandwich bags. Or just go for quick breakfasts, like (healthy!) cereal or a banana and toast. And having your lunch packed and waiting in the fridge can keep the stress down too.
- Do what you can with your time, energy, and budget. Eating healthy isn’t easy, and it’s okay if you’re not perfect. Be kind to yourself, and remember that this is just one part of self-care.