Eating for SIBO can be stressful and overwhelming at times. You have a lot of things going on - with your treatment, taking medications and managing your symptoms, it can be challenging to wrap your head around your new way of eating.
During the start of my SIBO journey, I felt overwhelmed by the thought of not being able to consume the typical meals I used to eat. But since I love cooking and creating recipes, this empowered me to look for the best way to make my journey a little bit easier. One thing I found really helpful was meal planning.
Meal planning is the act of planning and listing down meals you can eat ahead of time. It helps you stick to your SIBO diet and makes the process of preparing food a lot less daunting.
Importance of meal planning
When you have SIBO, there are a lot of foods you may need to avoid. By planning ahead, you will never be left wondering what to eat as you already know what meal you should prepare. It saves time, prevents you from making last-minute shopping trips and reduces decision fatigue.
If you have a busy lifestyle, meal planning is also very beneficial. When we’re too busy with work or other commitments, we tend to eat the same food repeatedly. With successful meal planning, you can make sure that you are eating a wide range of foods included in your SIBO diet protocol.
Strategies for successful meal planning
If you want to try meal planning and don’t know where to start, don’t worry. I’m here to help you. Here are my tried and tested strategies that will help you navigate your new way of eating.
Before heading to the store, create a list of meals you’ll eat for a week. You can start by browsing SIBO-friendly recipes online or reading SIBO cookbooks for inspiration. Once you have your final list of dishes, prepare a shopping list with the ingredients and other things you need to create these meals.
Tip: Avoid overbuying by checking what you already have in your fridge, and buy only the ingredients you will use. It’s also worth asking yourself if there are specific ingredients in your pantry you need to consume immediately. You might want to incorporate them into your plan to avoid spoilage.
Prepare ingredients beforehand
Prep the ingredients required for your weekly meals ahead of time to reduce cooking time in the kitchen. You can chop up vegetables and store them in containers so you already have them ready when you’re cooking. But before starting your meal prep, read all the recipes first in your weekly plan to see if there are similar ingredients in your meals. For instance, if two or more meals need chopped carrots, prepare the total quantity required at once to save more time.
Tip: When storing ingredients, make sure to use airtight canisters for ready-to-cook ingredients. These types of food containers are great for keeping ingredients fresh.
Cook large portions
Spend a day batch cooking dishes included in your meal plan for easy meals during the week. Cooking large quantities saves you time as you get to prepare food that you can save for later. When you’re ready to serve, all you need to do is cook up some vegetables or other side dishes to go with the main dish. This is a huge time saver especially during your workweek.
Tip: Once you’re done batch cooking meals, your fridge and freezer will have a lot of containers in them. Adding labels to your individually packed meals with the name of the dish and the date it was made, will help you keep track of what you have and when you need to consume them.
Use your leftovers creatively
Think outside the box and plan what other dishes you can make using your leftover meals. For example, if you cook my lemon and thyme roasted chicken for dinner, you can use the leftovers for your lunch by making a chicken and roasted vegetable salad. To make the dish complete, all you need to do is add some fresh salad leaves and a dressing of your choice. Doing this will reduce the hassle of preparing your food each day.
Tip: If you have leftover vegetables that you served as a side dish, don’t throw them away. You can puree those veggies and add some broth to make a yummy and delicious soup for the next day. Using your dinner leftovers for lunch the following day is an excellent way to save time and keep out of the kitchen.
These are some of the strategies you can implement to make your SIBO journey healthier and tastier. If you need help with meal planning for SIBO, my Monthly SIBO Meal Plans are perfect for you.
They have an entire month’s worth of SIBO-friendly recipes based on Phase 1, Restricted Phase of the SIBO Bi Phasic Diet by Dr Nirala Jacobi. All recipes are 100% gluten-free, grain-free, soy-free, corn-free, sugar-free, and dairy-free.
You also get shopping lists that will make your grocery shopping easier. Plus, bonus snacks, drinks and dessert menus. And you can choose from a Spring/Summer or Fall/Winter meal plan.
Click here to learn more.