When food is too hard: Sometimes making and freezing helps


When you can cook, make more than you need and freeze the excess. Make sure its something super nutritious. Then, when you can’t cook, just unfreeze one of your pre-prepared meals. That way, you can get all the nutrition you need at a much lower cost than a take-away.

Realsocialskills said:

That is an effective strategy for some people, some of the time. Especially when you use paper plates to eat the food.

It’s not completely effective for most people who have this problem, but it can be useful.

Some thoughts on how to do this:

  • Freeze the food in individual portion sizes, not big tupperware containers
  • If you’ve frozen something in a large block, it’s not likely that you’ll be able to eat it when you’re low on spoons
  • One way to do this is to use freezer bags to freeze the food. Put a meal-sized amount in each bag. Then press the air out.
  • Make sure the bags are freezer bags and not storage bags – freezer bags preserve frozen food better.
  • Keep paper plates and plastic silverware on hand

But also keep in mind that this doesn’t work for everyone, and that it’s ok if you need a different strategy, or if you sometimes need a different strategy. Some reasons it might not work:

  • It only works if you are often able to cook. Not everyone *has* a time when they are able to cook.
  • If you can’t reliably recognize homemade frozen food as edible, freezing food ahead of time won’t be reliably helpful
  • Defrosting and heating food might still be too many steps sometimes.
  • It’s not always obvious how long to microwave things for
  • And it can be really hard to figure out how to heat things evenly
  • Freezing food changes the texture in ways that can be a problem for some people

If freezing food works for you, it’s a good strategy. If it doesn’t work for you, or doesn’t always work for you, that’s ok too. It just means you need other strategies.

One thing to try if washing dishes grosses you out

I have a suggestion for when you’re too grossed out by doing dishes – get some rubber dishwashing gloves, maybe in a nice pattern, it makes you feel really insulated from the muck, like you’re in a spacesuit, and you don’t have to touch anything gross
I hadn’t thought to mention that; thank you for pointing it out.
I do want to mention that gloves aren’t a good solution for everyone – some people can’t tolerate the texture of gloves, or the things that can happen if water accidentally splashes into the gloves.
Gloves can be a really great strategy for some people though.

When food is too hard

Related to the remembering food exists thing, do you have any advice for what to do when your depression is making preparing food seem so hard that you’d nearly prefer to just go hungry?
A couple of suggestions:
Order a pizza, or some other form of food that gets delivered to you
  • Hunger feeds on itself and makes everything harder
  • If you’re in a state of mind where preparing food seems too difficult to be bearable, ordering food can often break that cycle
  • So can getting takeout or going to McDonalds
  • This is not a frivolous expense
  • And it’s not necessarily more expensive than preparing your own food. McDonalds has a dollar menu.
  • When you’re starving from not eating, it is not the time to worry about health food. Making sure that you eat comes first. Eating anything (that you’re not allergic to) is healthier than regularly going hungry because you can’t bring yourself to eat.

Keep stuff around that’s easy to eat and doesn’t require any preparation or only need to be microwaved, for instance:

  • A box of cereal
  • Chocolate
  • Granola bars
  • Ice cream
  • Popsickles
  • Protein shakes
  • Rice cakes
  • Peanut butter
  • TV dinners
  • Frozen chicken nuggets
  • It can also help to keep around disposable plates and utensils so the thought of having to wash dishes doesn’t deter you from eating

Get someone else to tell you that you need to eat:

  • Sometimes it’s easier to remember that eating is important if someone else tells you
  • For instance, if you text a friend saying “remind me that I need to eat” and they do, that can sometimes make it more possible

Get someone else to talk you through the steps of making food:

  • If there’s someone you can ask how to find/make food, that can be helpful
  • Sometimes what’s really exhausting is not so much doing the steps, as it is anticipating them, or figuring out what they are
  • If someone can help you through that, it can make it much more possible