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4 Resources for Creating a Healthier Relationship with Food

Creator:
Published:
April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024
Learn how to create a healthy relationship with food with these four resources.

For the past 10 years of emerging adulthood, I’ve been feeding myself and my growing family on a tight food budget. At times, we’ve eaten delicious home-cooked meals, but other times (like now, for instance), our diet consists of whatever food I can get on the table. I’ve adjusted from being obsessed with making everything from scratch to letting go of perfection and embracing the busyness of this phase of life, even if that means a frightening amount of canned soup.

All the while, I hope I’ve gotten better at offering myself grace, especially when cooking a meal feels impossible. So, if you’re anything like me and preparing food for yourself feels overwhelming, here’s a short and sweet list of my favorite resources. 

1. Leanne Brown’s Good and Cheap

One of my good friends recommended this book when my family of five was trying to eat on $20 a day. The author wrote it for her thesis in grad school at NYU, but it became so popular she decided to publish it and make it available for free. It’s designed specifically for people who are living on SNAP or food benefits. More than just handing out recipes, she teaches you how to properly stock a pantry and how to prepare a meal, even if you don’t have all the correct ingredients. If you don’t have a lot of money and you need to find a better way to eat, this book is a lifesaver. 

2. Leanne Brown’s Good Enough

Another Leanne Brown book, but this one isn’t targeted toward money saving. She compiled this cookbook after becoming a parent and realizing just how hard it was to feed herself, even as a nutritionist. If “Good and Cheap” is a resource for teaching you how to feed yourself, “Good Enough” reminds you why you should take the time to cook in the first place. Brown’s writing is the compassionate hug that I need, especially when I don’t feel worth it. These recipes range from simple to involved, depending on what you have the bandwidth for. Be sure to check out my personal favorite, the “self-love potion.”

3. Dr. Taylor Arnold’s Growing Intuitive Eaters

Technically, this is a resource for parents of small children, but Dr. Taylor’s tips and meal plans are useful for anyone. I first started following Dr. Taylor’s posts on Instagram to get helpful ideas with my own kids, but I quickly fell in love with her non-judgemental and practical approach to food. Most notably, she recommends including a protein, fat, and fiber with each meal so you feel full until the next meal or snack time. Speaking of snacks, she recommends at least having two out of the three — protein, fat, and fiber — for any snacks in between meals. This is why your afternoon “healthy” snack of apples and carrots isn’t tiding you over until dinner. But, if you pair that apple with peanut butter or cheese, all of a sudden, you’ve paired your fiber with some protein or fat, and you’ll actually feel full. Check her out, or any other intuitive eaters on social media, for food tips without judgment. 

4. Michael Pollan’s Food Rules

I would be remiss if I didn’t also include Michael Pollan. All of Pollan’s writing on food is fascinating, but Food Rules is the quickest to digest. Out of all of his recommendations, it boils down to this: “Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.” I like to think of these as my food “ideals” more than rules. There have been times in my life when I followed these rules like a religion, but I’m thankful I don’t take it that seriously anymore. I still enjoy Pollan’s aspirational approach to eating though, even if that’s not something I want to attain right now. I know I am my healthiest when I’m eating food that nourishes my body and respects the earth, and Pollan makes me excited to do just that.

All of these resources should be fairly accessible, either online or through your local library. Above all, remember that feeding yourself doesn’t need to be overly complicated or expensive. It just needs to suit you and wherever you are right now. In my own life, there are days when the perfect snack is a couple of Oreos and a glass of milk (a great combination of fat and protein), and other times it’s a kale salad with greens from my garden and a homemade caesar dressing. I can appreciate both of these options as appropriate for the specific time and place I need them. Despite being the primary cook for a household of five, I’m still figuring out how to nourish my body; still learning, slowly, that I am worthy of my own time and attention. You are too. 

Creators:
Megan Ulrich
Published:
April 15, 2024
April 15, 2024
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