With all of your other responsibilities, eating healthy may be slipping by the wayside. Even though your intentions are good, you argue that you’re too tired to cook a balanced meal or you’re too busy to be bothered with eating healthy. Although the increasing availability of fast food and convenience items makes it seem like these are your only options, eating healthy doesn’t have to be out of reach.
Plan to Succeed
When it comes to eating healthy on the go, planning ahead is your best friend. It’s more difficult to slip up and sink your teeth into chicken nuggets when you have a healthy meal packed away in your lunchbox. Spend an hour or two on a weekend planning out your meals and snacks for the entire week. Once you’ve got your meal plan down, make a shopping list and hit the stores where you can purchase items in bulk. Doing so is not only time-effective, it’s usually cost-effective, too. Schedule a few hours on a Sunday night preparing meals for the next three days or the entire week. It may seem time-consuming at first, but planning ahead will actually save you time in the long run.
Don't Skip Breakfast
Your mother wasn’t lying when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Eating breakfast provides you with the energy you need to get through your day and leads to increased concentration. When you eat a satisfying breakfast, you’re also less likely to overeat throughout the day. Smoothies are a quick, accessible option when you’re on the go. Avoid smoothies from commercial chains, which are often loaded with sugar and calories, and make your own. Start with frozen fruit, add some almond milk, a handful of spinach and a scoop of all-natural peanut butter or almond butter. Sprinkle in some chia seeds or flaxseed for a boost of fiber and pour it into a to-go mug as you run out the door.
Always Have Snacks
Snacks are key to eating healthy when you’re busy. Having one or two healthy snacks a day can curb your hunger and help prevent bingeing on unhealthy options at the last minute. Keep a bag of raw almonds or cashews and some dried fruit in your car or your desk drawer. Throw an apple or a banana into your purse or briefcase on your way out the door. Keep your refrigerator stocked with cut-up veggies and small plastic containers of hummus or all-natural nut butters for dipping.
Let's Be Real
No matter how hard you try, having a busy lifestyle means there’s probably going to be a day when you just can’t avoid ordering takeout, but getting a meal on the run doesn’t mean you have to eat unhealthy. Stay away from value meals and tailor your choices to your lifestyle. Ask for a burger with no cheese or mayo and a salad or vegetables on the side instead of french fries. Request that your chicken be grilled instead of fried, and ask for a side of steamed vegetables or fruit. Hit your local grocery store and grab a piece of fruit and a premade sandwich from the deli. Look for turkey on whole-wheat bread with lots of veggies and no mayo.
- Stanford Medicine: Stanford Nutritionist Offers Guidelines for Eating Healthy on the Go
- Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health: Why You Should Eat a Healthy Breakfast
- Complete Performance Solutions: Eating Healthy Within a Busy Lifestyle
- Government of Alberta: Eating on the Run: Healthy Eating for a Hectic Lifestyle
- Blue Shield: How to Eat Healthy on the Go
- USDA Food and Nutrition Service: Menu Planning Tips