Making fresh lunches every day while working from home sounds wonderful in theory. However, in actuality, it’s a major time and energy waste. Making that extra time or using energy to cook in the middle of your day might add additional stress. If you have dietary allergies or sensitivities, things may be even more challenging.
When you have a long list of foods to avoid, a meal plan can help you feel more confident about cooking. Finding recipes for people with special requirements might take a lot of effort if you don’t have the necessary resources, though. It can be difficult to find the correct cookbooks, websites, or recipes. But everything gets simpler if you find the right scheme. Regardless of your dietary allergies, cooking may still be simple and enjoyable. All you need is the right organization and adequate skills.
What distinguishes a food allergy from a food sensitivity?
Compared to food sensitivities and intolerances, food allergies are less prevalent. The immune system isn’t involved in either.
Your digestive system develops intolerance to food. Here, your body either struggles to properly digest it or responds to a meal you are sensitive to. For instance, lactose intolerance is the inability of your body to metabolize lactose, a sugar included in dairy products.
There are several reasons why you might be allergic or intolerant to a meal. These consist of:
-lack of appropriate enzymes
-reactions to food preservatives or additives such sulfites, MSG, or synthetic colors
-drug-related variables, such as susceptibility to caffeine or other substances
-intolerance to the naturally occurring sugars in some foods, such as onions, broccoli, or sprouts.
Food sensitivity symptoms can vary. But every intolerance sign has to do with the digestive system. These may consist of:
- bloating and gas
Your body’s defense against pathogens. Such as bacteria, fungi, or the common cold virus is your immune system. When your immune system perceives a protein in your diet as an invader and responds by creating antibodies to combat it, you have a food allergy.
Unlike food intolerance or sensitivity, food allergies have the potential to be lethal. In extreme circumstances, consuming or even touching a small amount of the allergen might result in a serious reaction.
A food allergy manifests as:
skin symptoms, such as hives, swelling, and itching anaphylaxis, which includes breathing problems, wheezing, lightheadedness, and even death, digestive symptoms.
Milk, eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat, and soybeans are the eight foods that cause the majority of allergy reactions.
How to start prep meals when you have food allergies?
Regardless of your food allergies, cooking can be fun. First, make a list of what you should avoid, or what you are allergic to. Next, make a short list of your favorite foods. Also, pay attention to whether you have a special diet plan. Whether you are plant-based, keto, or vegetarian – recipes can always be adjusted. Below I bring you a few more ideas on how to start planning your meals.
1. Find motivation
Without the desire to do something, it is challenging to develop a new habit. Consider the reasons for the importance of meal planning.
What would your daily routine entail if you weren’t rushing to prepare meals at the last minute?
Would you prefer food more?
Would you increase your dietary diversity and nutritional quality if you could?
These are a few of the benefits of meal planning.
You are more likely to have balanced meals if you have a plan. You need to think carefully about making up for the nutrients you may be lacking while on a restricted diet. Making a plan makes it easier to make sure you’re consuming the right amount of food.
You may save money by making a strategy. How often do you buy produce that ends up going bad in the fridge because you didn’t have a strategy for it? When you have a plan, you only buy what you need and consume it before it expires.
A plan helps you avoid unnecessary time and tension. When it’s time to eat, it can be difficult to decide what to eat. You may suddenly find yourself standing in the kitchen looking at the ingredients. And you have no idea how to combine them into some kind of meal. You know you’re in a hurry because the lunch break is almost over and you’re already hungry. So, what to do? When you have a plan, you already have the things you need and use much less mental energy to prepare that dinner!
2. Look for recipes that are suitable for people with allergies
Have you ever thought, “With food allergies, what can I eat?”. It’s not just you! When trying to adhere to any specific diet, people’s top request is for recipes.
Cooking requires a lot of time and effort, especially if you have food allergies or intolerances. Therefore, it would be good to learn to cook with different ingredients. Also to learn alternative cooking techniques. Make sure to find useful recipes that can eliminate the assumption.
3. Make a list of recipes
Writing recipes on a sheet of paper can be very useful! If typing is more your style, you can make a recipe-specific spreadsheet. For example, you can make columns that contain recipes with meat, vegetables, soups and so on.
Once you create your allergy recipe list, make sure it’s easy to access and update as you make new recipes!
It’s time to make your grocery list now that you’ve scheduled your meals. Make an effort to list your needs in the same order as you would find them in a store.
Make a note of all the ingredients you’ll need to prepare the meals on your menu while making your grocery list. Do not forget to provide all the necessary ingredients, as well as spices, oils, seasonings, etc.
4. Prepare once for several days
Consider a few recipes that use some of the same ingredients when you are planning allergy-free meals for the upcoming week.
For instance, if you bought a piece of meat, you can cook it immediately. On that same day, you can eat one portion of meat with a side dish, and leave the rest in the freezer. When you decide to eat the rest, there will be no need to cook, you will only need to reheat it.
This also applies to cutting vegetables. If you won’t be using these “pre-prepared” items straight away, you may also freeze them.
By preparing a dinner in two separate batches, you can also save some time.
5. Reduce your grocery costs
Check out the grocery store ad or your shopping app before planning your meals for the week. Some of your favorite and suitable ingredients may be on sale. You might use this as motivation to come up with meals as well!
If you clip coupons, get them out when you’re planning to see if any of them can be applied to the meals you’re thinking about having. Save money anywhere you can because food allergies can make eating more expensive!
The best approach to handling any kind of food allergy is through knowing what exactly you are allergic to and what food contains it. Many online meal prep services allow you to customize your meals based on your dietary needs and preferences. You can choose the ingredients you want to include and exclude, and they will deliver the meals to your doorstep.
Cookbooks that are allergy-friendly and other online resources are both very helpful. You can change a recipe to suit your needs if it contains allergens by making substitutes.
At first, it may all seem complicated. But once you get a routine, this will make your life and your work from home easier and more balanced. There will be no more need to spend hours in the kitchen, without an idea of “what to eat today”.