Trust me; I have been there. I know it takes a lot of energy to plan meals, shop for ingredients, cook the meals, and clean up. You have to consider not only your condition, but the schedules of your family members, and their food preferences. So I have come up with a short list here with some hints for keeping it simple at this stage:
- Make IC menu planning a family affair. Consulting with other family members about menu choices can increase their understanding of your condition and the foods you can and cannot have.
- Consider including foods that might be triggers for you, but that your family can eat. It was nearly a year before I realized that I had not been buying strawberries for my family just because I couldn’t have them!
- Stick to your grocery list. Often people walk through the grocery store waiting for inspiration to strike. A list insures that you have all the ingredients that you need for the week and helps prevent impulse buying, which can be tough on the wallet.
- Recycle your weekly meal plans like institutions do. Hospitals, schools, and nursing homes use “cycle menus” to simplify planning. Once you have developed a few weeks of menus that you and your family enjoy, go ahead and reuse them. Save the grocery lists, too.
- Do your grocery shopping from your computer. For a small charge, many stores now allow you to send a grocery order to a professional shopper who brings your order directly to your car or even to your house. This can be a great time and energy saver.
- Make two batches of a meal and freeze one for later. Everyone has days when they are too busy or too tired to cook. It is nice to have something available that you can quickly reheat.
- Involve everyone in mealtime activities. Establish this as a special time to spend with individual family members. Assign days when each person has a chance to help with breakfast or dinner. Have all the ingredients out for people to pack their own lunches. Even small children can help to set the table, measure ingredients or stir batter.
For more tricks and tips on how to implement the IC diet, see Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet: A Confident Choices® Book.
- Simplify cleanup. Use disposable plates and utensils on days when symptoms flare or energy is limited. Line baking dishes with aluminum foil or bake food in foil pockets. Use a slow cooker to bake a one pot, complete meal of meat, potatoes, and vegetables.
PS: Thank you so much to all of you who are making your Amazon purchases though the Confident Choices links. Here are some of the purchases people have made that help support this newsletter and other projects of ours!
Author, Speaker, Patient Advocate
For step by step guidance for creating your own personal interstitial cystitis meal plan, see: Confident Choices®: Customizing the Interstitial Cystitis Diet.
For some basic, family-style, IC bladder-friendly recipes, see: Confident Choices®: A Cookbook for Interstitial Cystitis and Overactive BladderFor health care workers: Interstitial Cystitis: A Guide for Nutrition Educators