• Mandy Hendrickson B.A.

Help for Meal Time Stress

Author: Mandy Hendrickson B.A.


Women eating together

Eating disorders are life-threatening mental illnesses, which can impact not just the individual experiencing it, but also the family and friends. With this, meals can often be a difficult and stressful time. Although difficult, it is an important part of recovery. Knowing this, family and friends often ask how they can better support their loved ones during mealtimes. Here are four tips to help improve mealtime stress, and better help your loved ones through their recovery process!


  1. Stay Calm, Cool, and Collected – meal times can and most likely will be stressful, making an individual highly emotional – fostering a calm and predictable environment may alleviate some stress!

  2. Confidence is important – showing the individual that you are confident in your decisions around food will help reassure them throughout the recovery process!

  3. Consistency is key – as with most things, being consistent in recovery means sticking with what has been discussed will enhance confidence and reassure the individual that what they are doing is recovery focused

  4. Understanding – be understanding of the individual; this is a difficult time and supporting them through the difficult times is important.


Additional Tips:

  • Be aware of conversation at mealtime – meals are not intended to be spaces for discussing stressful topics. Easy, and enjoyable topics will help make a stressful mealtime more manageable

  • Movies, books, music

  • Upcoming fun plans

  • Conversation stem cards, etc.

  • Focus on the Positive – this recovery is not about perfection but progress. Supporting loved ones through difficulties may pose barriers, but it’s important to exemplify how far they have come and the beauty in committing to the recovery process!