How to incorporate meal prep into your pain management routine
When I’m sick, the last thing I want to do is spend time standing over a hot stove. Nonetheless, it’s important to eat well during flare-ups. Endometriosis patients often struggle with heavy bleeding, diarrhea, or other stomach problems. Eating full meals can help me prevent dehydration and keep my iron levels regulated.
Life can get really busy, and I don’t always have the time to intentionally curate a meal-prep menu ahead of time. But I can hack the meals I’m already making. When I cook, I make one or two extra portions. I store these leftovers in the freezer. Weeks later, I can microwave the pre-prepared meals whenever I’m feeling tired or crampy. Many meals can last for several months in the freezer, so this method is an effortless way to always have a ready meal on hand.
Here’s one of my favorite, freezer-friendly recipes. Feel free to substitute ingredients to add your favorite beans and spices.
Hearty Slow-Cooker Chili
- 1 can of pinto beans
- 1 can of chickpeas
- 1 can of lima beans or cannellini beans
- 1 can of kidney beans
- 1 jar of pasta sauce
- 1 can of drained spinach
- A sliced bell pepper
- A diced onion, medium or large depending on your preference
- A drizzle of olive oil
- (Optional) A dash of garlic salt
- (Optional) A dash of cumin
- (Optional) A dash of cayenne pepper
- (Optional) A dash of Old Bay spice
- (Optional) A dash of black pepper
- (Optional) Several shakes of red pepper flake
- (Optional) Two chopped jalapeno peppers
- (Optional) ½ - 1 cup of veggie or chicken stock, depending on how thick you like your chili
- (Optional) A dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt
Step 1: Open the cans of beans, drain them, and rinse them. Place the beans into your slow-cooker.
Step 2: Open the can of spinach, drain it, and rinse it. Add the spinach to the slow-cooker.
Step 3: Pour the jar of pasta sauce in the slow-cooker.
Step 4: Slice your bell pepper and dice your onion, and add the vegetables to the slow-cooker.
Step 5: If you want a spicier chili, chop your jalapeno peppers. The more seeds you add to your chili, the spicier it will be.
Step 6: Avoid touching your face! Spicy peppers and your eyes are not BFFs. Wash your hands after you chop your jalapenos.
Step 7: Add in your red pepper flake, garlic salt, and other spices to taste. Drizzle in the olive oil, and then stir the chili to incorporate the ingredients.
Step 8: Cook the chili for at least two hours, stirring occasionally. As the chili cooks, you may want to add some of the stock if you prefer a soup-like consistency.
Step 9: Serve hot with a dollop of sour cream or plain Greek yogurt.
If you want to freeze some of your chili, dole out single servings into your Tupperware. You can freeze larger portions, but it takes much longer to defrost a pot of chili than it does to microwave a single serving. Trust me, your future self will thank you when you can reach into the freezer and grab out individual frozen meals. Let the chili cool before you store it in the freezer. Make sure to note the date that you made the chili, and eat the chili before three months elapses. If you’re curious about how long your food will safely last in your freezer, consult your doctor and read over this handy guide from FoodSafety.gov. (1)
1 = https://www.foodsafety.gov/food-safety-charts/cold-food-storage-charts
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