Valerie Smith, APRN
10 Meal Prep Tips When Starting an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Updated: Mar 18
Eating an anti-inflammatory diet can feel like an intimidating endeavor, especially when trying to manage an autoimmune disease.
When those stiff and achy joints already get in the way of your daily routine, preparing a home-cooked meal can feel like a near impossible task.
Yet for many patients living with an autoimmune disease, following an anti-inflammatory diet has proven to be an extremely beneficial component to their disease management.
Are you ready to give it a try?
When Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
An anti-inflammatory diet is all about making home cooked meals using fresh ingredients.
So in the beginning, eating an anti-inflammatory diet can take some getting used to, particularly if you are used to warming up pre-prepared meals in the microwave.
But before you get overwhelmed by the thought of incorporating an anti-inflammatory diet into your life, check out these 10 simple tips that other patients have found helpful when cutting out pro-inflammatory foods and eating anti-inflammatory foods instead.
#1 - Choose Easy Recipes
While you might be full of enthusiasm to start eating healthier, try out easy recipes first.
#2 - Make It Manageable
When selecting those easy recipes, look for ones with a manageable list of ingredients. You don’t need a lot of complicated ingredients that are difficult to work with in order to make a tasty meal.
#3 - Map Out Your Meals
With your chosen recipes, plan out what dishes you will eat on which days.
Bonus Tip: Let’s say you have two recipes that use similar ingredients, put those meals next to each other on the calendar. This way you can save time and energy by doing the meal prep for both recipes at the same time. If each recipe calls for a certain chopped up vegetable, you can dice up that fresh veggie all at once and store the additional needed portion.
#4 - Create a Shopping List
With your meal plan in hand, you can now make a shopping list.
#5 - Remember Healthy Snacks
Don’t forget to include anti-inflammatory snack options to your shopping list.
#6 - Plan Your Grocery Store Visits
Shopping trips can be exhausting, so a well-organized shopping list is your ticket to fewer grocery store stops.
#7 - Stock Up on Ingredients
The better prepared you are, the less trips you must make to the grocery store. Consider stocking up on food ingredients that you will use frequently, such as shelf-stable products, canned items, or frozen veggies, fruits, and meats.
#8 - Pick a Day to Batch Cook
Batch cooking takes prior planning, but cooking multiple meals at once can save you on those days when your autoimmune disease is getting the best of you.
Bonus Tip: Meat is one ingredient that requires significant work to prepare, which makes it the perfect ingredient to batch cook. When you are grilling up that fresh chicken, make double or triple the amount and save the leftovers in the freezer to use in a different meal.
#9 - Take Advantage of the Good Days
Once again, you will have those hard days when your body does not want to function and preparing an anti-inflammatory meal will be too much to handle. Find a recipe that saves well in the freezer and make it on one of those days where you feel like you can tackle extra time in the kitchen.
#10 - Keep Trying
Diets can be difficult to stick to 100% of the time. Hang in there!
Cutting out pro-inflammatory foods and eating anti-inflammatory foods requires dedication, commitment, and diligence.
Yes, following an anti-inflammatory diet takes a bit of extra work, and is that extra effort worth it? Absolutely!
Plus, you have our team here at Paducah Rheumatology to cheer you on and provide support.
If you are not a patient of ours, we would love to get to know you. Give us a call today at 270-408-6100 to set up a new patient appointment with a physician’s referral.
And for more information about eating an anti-inflammatory diet, check out our other blogs:
The Ultimate Anti-Inflammatory Diet Shopping List
Foods to AVOID When on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
A Beginner’s Guide to an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
100 Foods You CAN Eat When on an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Foods NOT to Eat When Following an Anti-Inflammatory Diet