"Maintaining one’s health through active meal preparation can help you make better food choices."
For individuals going through the divorce process, it can feel like there is very little that one can control or plan for in their day to day life. Everything can feel like it is in a constant state of changing, and you, as someone going through the experience, is just on the ride.
However, it is important to control what you can during the divorce process, and from a day-to-day wellness perspective, that starts with food.
Understanding meal prep
For those who have never attempted it or do not know anything about it, meal planning is a great way to start to improve your food choices. It allows for leftovers and the ability to budget the amount being spent on each meal, as opposed to seeking quick fixes through the drive-thru.
Part of meal planning during the divorce experience is about knowing portion sizes and the amount of food being consumed. That starts with figuring out how many people are being fed. For parents of divorce with children, keeping their nutrition in mind can strengthen a custody case, not to mention help your child’s growth and development in the long run.
Portions can be important. For many individuals facing a divorce, an unhealthy relationship can develop between your food and yourself. Eating disorders can develop for both men and women during and after the divorce process, causing all sorts of health risks. Stress and anxiety from a divorce or custody battle can produce binge eating or overeating, lending itself to either continued weight gain or extreme weight loss.
Maintaining one’s health through active meal preparation can help you make better food choices. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends listing your favorite meals or your children’s favorite meals. In examining the recipes and ways to go about preparing the meals, calories can be cut through creative and inventive methods, which will improve your family’s overall health and wellness during this difficult and arduous process.
The CDC also states that individuals get full by the amount food we consume, rather than the number of calories we take in, is what we get full from. This can result in an adjustment period, which will require time for your body and those that you are feeding to get used to what makes it full. It also means that the low calorie meals might not occur as often as you may like, but the portions will allow for a healthier outcome regardless.
Meal planning also creates the opportunity to better understand how much you are spending on food during the course of a given week. Through seeking alternatives to going to restaurants or ordering take-out, you can better gauge the money being outputted during a time when funds can often feel tighter than ever.
It also gives you the opportunity to better schedule your week, in order to include grocery shopping. Much of the excuses regarding one’s inability to meal plan have to do with the inability to fit grocery shopping into our already-busy lives. In “The Optimist’s Guide to Divorce,” Suzanne Riss and Jill Sockwell detail the simple task of creating grocery lists, in order to achieve a simple goal of having a plan by 6 p.m. for dinner.
Through setting aside that time, it gives you the ability to better understand the products that you are buying, allowing you to make healthier choices in your purchases. However, this also means that parents and children need to be able to share meals, and that can be challenging, in of itself.
Meals and children
Meal planning can have some negative consequences during the adjustment period. Children may not have as much willingness to these new opportunities to get healthier and improve one’s wellness and health. It can cause rifts within your relationships during a time where emotions already are running high.
One of the best ways to navigate this situation is to cook with the children involved. Teaching a child how to cook their own meals is a great bonding experience, and the final meal provides the child involved with a sense of accomplishment, boosting their self-esteem during a very challenging time in their lives.
This also gives children of divorce an opportunity to bond with you. So much of getting a child to let down their guard and open up about their own feelings is based around trust, and through creating a shared and fun activity, children become more willing to share their daily lives and daily interactions at school. During a time of uncertainty, learning more about how a child feels during their day-to-day and through their eyes gives divorced parents a better understanding of how they are coping with their changing environment.
Even for divorced parents who work night shifts, meal planning is a great way of making sure you and your children utilize the time that you have together efficiently, through bonding and getting what needs to be done, done. In uncertain times, meal prep can be a therapeutic experience, allowing you the opportunity to take control of your life.