Multiple containers filled with the same bulk meals are prepared and placed on a kitchen table.

Meal Prepping With Lupus

One of the things that I have learned to be really helpful for my mom, living with lupus, is having certain types of foods or meals pre-planned or prepared in advance. There are a number of reasons for this, but anecdotally my mom has expressed that it has been tremendously helpful for her.

Having lupus can bring with it certain sensitivities that may not have been there before. Also, it is important to monitor your time and energy expenditure with lupus. The more that can be done in advance to save time and energy, the better.

Growing closer to my mom through meal prep

My mom and I have grown quite a bit closer as I have helped her with meal prepping. I know that she does not really like preparing and cooking meat (at least not as much as I do) so I will ask her what sorts of meats she wants to eat throughout the week. Because I know that with lupus, inflammation and water retention are major symptoms that she experiences, the amount of sodium and the types of meats she eats is important. I use different methods to cook (like sous vide for the meats) which don’t require much salt or other sodium-based seasonings to taste great! So one of the major benefits here is that we have a great deal of control over the types of foods that she is eating. Eating from restaurants, or even canned or processed foods can come with a lot of additives or preservatives which may not be the best for her lupus.

Meal prepping saves my mom time and energy

Secondly, when I have the opportunity to help with meal prep for her, we have also learned that it helps with saving her time. We know that time and energy are often the limiting factors when it comes to lupus. There are times when I know that she will order takeout or eat certain pre-prepared foods because it is convenient to do so. She would prefer to eat healthier foods, or foods that are more controlled, where we know what’s in them. But she does not always have the time to cook meals during the week. So when we have the opportunity to meal prep, we are able to make sure that she has the foods that she likes when she needs them.

Research for meal prepping

Interestingly, when we would start to prepare meals, there would be a certain amount of research that we would sometimes do. Are there specific foods that cause more of an inflammatory response? What about the types of carbohydrates she’s eating: Will these cause an insulin spike and a subsequent crash which would lead to the extremely fatigued feeling? We know that being tired is already something that comes with lupus, we want to be sure that we are not perpetuating that problem with her diet.

Meal-prepping has been something that has proven to be beneficial for her. But I have also gained a lot from the experience as well. More time with my mom, learning more about the disease and how to use foods to ease some symptoms, and even experimenting to see what foods make her feel the best.

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