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Olwen Anderson's Blog

Changing your food strategies when life changes

Saturday, March 31, 2018
I so admire people who can conjure a delicious meal for 20 people at a moment’s notice. As well as those magicians of food who can walk into anyone’s kitchen and create a restaurant quality meal from almost nothing.  If you and I sat down to work out how they do it, we’d probably agree that they’ve had a lot of practice and developed strategies that make it look easy.

When you’re single and first leave home there’s a steep learning curve as you master the skills of home management, ensuring there’s enough food in the pantry, and having a plan for meals so you don’t go hungry – because there’s no longer a parent there to rescue you.

But life changes. Later you might be a parent yourself, who learns how to create a nutritious family dinner while simultaneously supervising homework and listening to stories of the day. Then the children eventually leave home. Suddenly, those huge pots aren’t needed any more, and it takes a while to adjust from cooking for six to cooking for one or two.

The suddenly single face a similar dilemma. There was a reason to cook because their partner was there. Until they were left alone. Now they have to not only re-learn how to cook for one, but to develop strategies to maintain an interest in food. That’s even more challenging when you are grieving the loss of that partner. 

It’s guaranteed – life is going to change. And at each point of change, you know your food strategies have to shift if you’re going to be nourished.  It’s tempting when change happens unexpectedly to toss in the towel on nutrition:  to lean on fast food drive-through as your dinner chef. To settle for instant frozen meals and packaged breakfast cereals instead of chopping vegetables. Or, (a particular danger for the elderly), to stick with tea and toast because that’s all you can muster the energy and interest for.

But if you can accept that you just need to shift strategies, you might find yourself better nourished than ever before. And learning about food can be almost as much fun as eating it. You could attend a cooking workshop, download some pre-prepared meal plans from the internet, or enjoy watching food videos.
Soon, you will find you’ve learnt this new skill, and mastered the change. Then you’ll wonder how you ever managed to cook any other way. Until life changes again.

If you enjoyed this article you might also enjoy "Avoiding the tea & toast syndrome as you age"

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