When you have Fibromyalgia or any other chronic illness it’s really important to eat healthy, but cooking from scratch often seems like a daunting task. Some days it’s too tiring to stand, some days your hands are too stiff to cooperate, some days your pain levels are too high, and some days you are just too exhausted. That leaves a lot of days where you don’t have the energy to make yourself a fresh meal. I’ve shared my favorite chronic illness kitchen tools previously, but I also have a few tips and tricks I use in the kitchen that don’t involve tools.
1. Simplify ingredients
One of my new favorite tricks is to buy rotisserie chicken from the grocery store. I can peel off the chicken while I’m sitting down, then I throw the carcass into a stockpot with some vegetables, and two hours later I have homemade chicken broth. It’s a little easier than cooking up my own chicken, and having homemade chicken broth is a lot healthier than the stuff from the store.
Another thing that can make a big difference is buying pre-cut vegetables. Sometimes the repetitive motion of cutting is too painful, so I’ve learned that sometimes it’s worth it to pay extra to avoid it (I will never shred another carrot as long as live).
2. Utilize a slow cooker as much as possible
Slow cookers are for the people who just want to dump and go. It’s so easy to throw in a couple ingredients, and then come back a few hours later with a finished meal.
Here’s a few of my favorite recipes:
Crockpot Lasagna (this one’s a little more work, but still the easiest lasagna ever)
3. Cook in bulk
Take advantage of your good days cook more than you need. Then throw your extra portions in the freezer to be thawed on your bad days. I’ll be the first to admit that I’m terrible at doing this because it never seems like I have extra energy, but it’s something I’m working on. There are thousands of links on Pinterest dedicated to make ahead meals, for me it’s just a matter of finding the energy to do it.
4. Take breaks while cooking
Don’t push yourself to do everything at once. For example, if you’re waiting for something like rice to finish cooking don’t rush to do the dishes, take a moment to sit down and rest. If you pace yourself you will have more energy in the end.
5. If all else fails…
We all have days where we having nothing in the freezer and cooking is impossible. Give yourself a break and enjoy a precooked meal you bought from the grocery store or some takeout. Yes, they are not the healthiest thing but sometimes you have to do what you have to do. Unless you have special dietary restrictions one unhealthy meal is not going to kill you. Enjoy your meal and try again another day.