Meal Planning as Self Care

If there’s one thing that I’m bad at, and I openly admit it off the bat, it’s self care.

I’m a Hufflepuff, okay? I take care of everyone and everything else above myself. I sometimes even find myself thinking of my cat’s comfort before my own (let’s be honest, that’s obviously how it should be, but some people don’t get that). When my self care starts to fall down lower on the Priority List of Life, it’s often doing so in kind of a.. sneaky manner.  I can still be working out 2-6 times a week (yes, that’s a wide margin, but c’mon, it’s WORKING OUT). I can still be bringing packed lunches that are evenly healthy to work every day. I can be going to bed at 10:30 at night.

But I’m also not putting much effort into my lunches, and eating them is a chore because I’m not really thrilled about it. Getting my tasks finished so I can go to bed early makes me feel bad if I choose not to do something – like putting away laundry completely – to accomplish it. I can be doing the workouts as a feeling of obligation, and they don’t really benefit me physically because I’m just going through the half hearted motions.

When I am on the ball? My meal planning is the best part. I can know that I have not only my lunches for the week packed up with single serve portions, but I’ll have dinner parts ready too, all ready to just throw together and eat.

Here’s what I have on the docket for the week:

Shrimp and Veggie Bowls with Ginger Dressing

3 oz of cooked shrimp, roasted broccoli and carrots, cauliflower rice and ginger dressing to make it extra delicious.

2% or full fat Greek Yogurt, in 1/2 cup portions

Protein and fat are your friends in keep you from getting hangry in the office and throwing things.  Or maybe that last part is just me? Either way – greek yogurt is a powerhouse, but full or some fat makes it seriously delicious and gives it the real staying power. Your body needs fat in moderate amounts to function properly

I wasn’t a cherry person for 99% of my life. Then I went to Michigan last fall for a training, and, my word, cherries. There’s nothing like actually getting cherries from Traverse City, the Cherry City itself. I grabbed cherries from one of the road side fruit stands (that operated on the honor system!) when I was in Empire and haven’t looked back since. I guess my thing was more that I didn’t like cherry flavoring like the stuff you get in medicine as a kid.. but real cherries? Gimme. Gimme all of them. Costco had them for a great deal and I grabbed a container to have as my lunch dessert all week.

Egg Cups with Bacon, Spinach and sliced turkey
I love these. I pop two of them in the microwave for a minute, make my coffee, pack my lunch, and I’m out the door to eat them (they’re so portable) as I drive to work.

Knowing I have everything taken care of (on top of extra bacon and some protein pancakes prepped for quick dinners), I know that the bulk of what I eat this week is ready to go. It takes a load off my shoulders. I’ve gotten better about not buying extra groceries, because I know how much I need for the meals I’m making.

All of that? Leads to less stress. Less anxiety. Better food prepared for me. I plan, I execute, I enjoy the benefits.

That’s how meal planning acts as self care, because it helps me get the major points of my life in line for a week at a time. I spent most of this weekend deep cleaning my apartment and getting my physical space in order as a way to take care of my mental space. I’ll leave you with the super pretty flowers that I bought myself as a reward for getting it all done: