My lupus-health goals this year include a diet that supports improving health. Since there is no recommended “lupus diet,” my aim is a better heart-healthy balanced diet. My own solution requires lupus-friendly mornings, so fixing breakfast and lunch must involve minimum effort and thought, and includes a daytime meal plan that makes healthy eating easy.
My lupus-related diet goal is to consistently eat healthy meals. Lupus attacks many cells in the body, causing early cell death (apoptosis) and stresses body metabolism as it repairs damaged connective tissues. My diet goal is providing ample nutrients my body needs daily to repair itself from lupus-related attacks.
Since my husband has also been told by his doctor to eat a lean heart-healthy diet, we both try to eat the same meals. This really makes life a lot simpler, which really matters to any lupus patient!
We just don’t try to count calories, since that never seems to really work for us anyway. It is just too much trouble to really follow through on that type of math and detailed tracking. We are too busy for that to happen!
Instead, we focus now on plenty of healthy whole foods we both like. So, home-prepared breakfasts and lunches with lean meats, fruits & veggies, and excluding empty calories and eliminating junk food are critical to our healthy-eating success.
To make our lupus-friendly daytime eating plan work and prevent boredom, we break the rules once each week. We allow ourselves to go out to lunch or dinner and have 1 high calorie or junk food meal per week. I did the math and can live with the damage of this planned “diet disobedience!”
One “less-healthy” meal each week still means we are eating really healthy meals 95% of the time! Since that’s much better than we did overall last year, we think that’s a reasonable compromise. This limited food-splurging help ensure we can stick with it without feeling “deprived”of our favorite not-so-healthy foods.
We have to start with getting the food into our kitchen! So, a weekly Saturday shopping trip is where we begin.
Most of the healthy foods seem to be located around the perimeter of my grocery store, so most items on my shopping list are found in the produce, meat, deli, or dairy sections. There are a few short dashes into the center aisles for frozen veggies or an occasional canned or packaged food item. Shopping is mostly done in a big circle around the outside of the store.
Here’s the simple basics for my lupus-healthy breakfast and lunch plan:
Fruit (strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, or blueberries, bananas) or juice, granola, milk, whole grain bagel, olive oil margarine, oatmeal, coffee and (don’t want to drink coffee without…) flavored creamer.
Each morning we usually eat one or two types of fruit, granola or bagel and coffee.
Lean sliced meats from the deli for roll ups (no bread), low fat cheese slices, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, baby carrots, grape tomatoes, celery pieces, radishes, grapes, apple wedges, orange wedges, strawberries/raspberries/blackberries in season, bananas.
All the produce gets rinshed and meticulously air dried in a strainer or on paper towels, and then sliced. My favorite trick is to use hot water to release and reduce the bacteria and speed the air drying. Even lettuce briefly rinsed in hot water does not wilt, which amazes me. Dirt seems to be released more easily from the surface of root vegetables with hot tap water, also.
Then all the chopped produce is layered on half-sheet paper towels inside food storage containers for the fridge. I use fresh pieces of waxed paper on the cutting surface for each type of produce. I rinse and paper-towel dry my knife when switching between foods. Only the apples and bananas wait until the morning they are packed to be washed and sliced. Citrus gets washed and sliced in wedges every 2-3 days for adding to lunches, drinking water and tea.
Prepped this way produce always seems to stay fresh for a week or more, and even the bell pepper, cucumber slices and berries won’t get “hairy” or “slimy” if, during preparation, all the cutting surfaces, knives, hands, etc. are kept very clean and the storage moisture is controlled.
I sometimes like to think that I am preparing foods like it would be done in a commercial kitchen, and try very hard to exercise the care that would satisfy the strictest health-department codes! This attention to cleanliness and detail seens to make my produce last longer and delay spoilage. My produce usually stays fresh until it is all gone.
All the food stacked attractively in matching see-through containers makes the waiting lunch foods look very inviting! Shopping, washing and cutting up the fruits and veggies on Saturday gets everything ready for the whole week with minimum effort each day when it’s time to pack lunch.
We really enjoy the varied flavors of fruits and veggies at lunch, and don’t seem to miss the omitted sandwich bread. Co-workers constantly drool over our attractive noon meals, and my husband is the subject of some serious “lunch envy” at work, where everyone seems to think I am royally spoiling him. He loves it!
Healthy evening meals seem to be easier to accomplish than breakfast and lunch for me, using a time-efficient approach developed over 25 years as a working wife and mother. More about my “quick healthy dinners for two” sounds like another discussion.
Eating a healthy breakfast and lunch is my biggest challenge to maintaining a lupus-friendly diet. Once-a-week preparation for lunch ingredients is where most of my healthy-eating time and effort is focused.
My solution for lupus-friendly mornings, by fixing breakfast and lunch with minimum effort and thought, really seems to work for me. This daytime meal plan helps ensure that my healthy eating goals are successful.