Self-Care Sunday: Whip Up Some Soul Food
Food is something that most of us have at least a minimally complicated relationship with. We turn to it in times of duress for comfort, we avoid it and punish ourselves when we feel we’ve had too much. When developing or maintaining a self-care routine, it can be difficult to determine where food fits in.
You might be surprised to learn that preparing and cooking food can reduce stress and sharpen the mind, and integrating food into your self-care routine promotes a healthy relationship with the very thing that provides us sustenance and nourishment. Challenging mental activities and working with your hands are known to improve brain function and mental clarity, not to mention the sense of accomplishment that usually follows the creation of a well-made, healthy meal and importance of nutrition in our lives.
Weekly Meal Prep
You’ve probably heard the phrase used more than once and wondered what all the fuss is about. “Meal Prep” is short for meal preparation and involves cooking a large meal that can be split into smaller containers and stored in the refrigerator and freezer for easy, healthy dishes that are ready to go throughout the week. While this is an activity that can be done on any day of the week, it is especially welcomed on a lazy Sunday that includes all manners of self-care and wellness.
You can choose from a wide variety of recipes that work well for a week full of home-cooked, healthy foods. Weekly meal prep is an excellent way to incorporate food into your self-care routine and works with any diet, from keto to paleo. Start with basic meals that are easy to prepare and include hearty, nutritious options.
Breakfast is one of the easier meals to prep because there are so many incredibly simple options. Try these Bacon-Wrapped Egg Cups or Apple Cinnamon Overnight Oats for a week of easy, delicious meals to start your day right.
Lunch is the ideal mealtime for Sunday meal prep because it can be so tempting to either splurge for easy, often unhealthy options or skip lunch altogether when time is limited. This incredible recipe for Turkey Taco Bowls are sure to satisfy, and this easy recipe for French Dip Sliders will have you skipping the fast food and congratulating yourself on a job well done.
For many working moms, dads and busy professionals, Sunday is the perfect day to prep dinners for the upcoming week. If you have a hectic schedule, it can feel impossible trying to find the time to make dinner on top of appointments, recitals or deadlines. Living life to the fullest should never mean sacrificing a delicious healthy dinner, and feeding your body well is an important part of self-care. Try this delightful recipe for Roasted Chicken and Vegetables or these Honey BBQ Baked Salmon Bowls for
Once you discover how easy it can be to assemble an entire week’s worth of meals, you’ll likely never return to the old days of trying to decide what to make each and every day.
Stressed Out? Try Cooking
There is a system in the brain that involves effort and its rewards, and it effectively reduces stress and increases positivity. The effort-driven rewards system is activated after we’ve used the cognitive and emotional components in our brain to solve a puzzle or complete a task. This applies to trying a new recipe that might have intimidated you up until now, or successfully mastering the perfect batch of brownies. So, when you feel your blood pressure rising, try breaking out the rolling pin and watching dough rise instead.
Creativity in the Kitchen
While it may not be touted as a traditional creative endeavor, the culinary arts are an art form like any other, and being creative has a tendency of lifting our spirits and helping us feel accomplished. It feels even better when we have someone to share the bounty with, so don’t be afraid to bring your creations into work if you live alone – or try throwing a dinner party. A great meal is a connecting social endeavor that brings us closer together while feeding our bodies and our souls.
If you’re new to cooking, you might feel overwhelmed or pressured to start out of the gate with brilliant, culinary masterpieces. It doesn’t matter what you create in the kitchen or how simple it is, the act of cooking – working with your hands, using your intellect, creating something nutritious – is enough to shift your focus and leave you feeling like a pro.
Cooking can be relaxing and invigorating any day of the week, but there is something special about the Sunday meal. Sundays have always felt particularly well-suited for slow-cooking meals that you easily can prepare and go back to a soothing day of self-care. Crock pots are the ideal tool for such meals, and hundreds of available recipes are not only nutritious but totally scrumptious. This Crockpot Chicken Teriyaki Recipe will knock your socks off. Or, impress the whole family with this delicious recipe for Crockpot Chuck Roast that will likely be devoid of leftovers.
With short prep times and a lot of time for relaxation and refreshment, slow cooker meals are perfect for a lazy Sunday.
Everything from Soup to Nuts
Learning to incorporate food and cooking into your self-care routine encourages healthy habits and a motivation to complete tasks. Once you learn to incorporate nutrition into your wellness plan, you’ll see the amazing benefits of home-cooked food and kitchen creativity.
Related Article: Feed Your Body Friday: Healthy Breakfast Donuts