When you’re busy and on the go, it can be easy to skimp on healthy meals and snacks. If you find yourself frequently relying on take-out or the drive-through, planning ahead and keeping some quick and healthy foods on hand will help you stick to a healthy diet and eat well, no matter where you are or how busy your schedule gets.
Rushing through meals, eating junk food or snacking late at night is unfortunately too typical habits of our modern-day existence. An unhealthy diet has serious repercussions and can result in depleted energy, stress, and illness. But being busy doesn't necessarily mean having to forgo healthy eating habits; it just requires some knowledge and organization.
Here are 10 ways to eat well on the go:
1. Pre-Packaged Snacks
In between meals, it’s easy for us to reach into the drawer or open our refrigerator and grab the most convenient and accessible food item. To avoid consuming junk food simply because it’s convenient, stack up on healthy snacks such as on-the-go apples and oranges, snack-size low-fat yogurt, raw nuts, raisins, and other dried fruit to place in sight. This is a great alternative for those who may not have time to pre-make their breakfast or lunch.
2. Drink Water
Soda, sweetened iced tea and lemonades, energy drinks and most juices are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and empty calories. Make H2O the beverage of choice for everyone, and skip the plastic bottles and Styrofoam cups by refilling your own container, like a stainless steel water bottle, with filtered water. Sick of plain water? Try adding a squeeze of lemon or using sparkling spring water instead.
3. Portable Foods Can Be Nutritious
If you’re stuck in the car running to meetings or errands, pack healthy snacks and a sandwich in an insulated lunch bag, so you’re not starving later in the day. Good portable snacks include nuts or trail mix, cut fruit or vegetables, or even a cheese stick with whole-wheat crackers. For the healthiest sandwiches, stick to lean meat from the deli like turkey or chicken breast, load up on vegetables and serve it on whole-wheat bread, wrap or pita.
4. Do Your Best To Consume Nutrient Dense Whole Foods
Processed foods are low in nutrient value and full of chemicals and additives. Even though the packaging might appear to be a convenience, keep in mind that processed foods are a big no-no when it comes to establishing a healthy diet.
5. Brew Your Own Tea or Coffee
Many of us start our day and spend a considerable amount of time waiting in line at our local coffee shop for some caffeine. This daily habit can come out to be costly and consume more time out of our busy schedules. To avoid long lines, and to save time, brew your own tea or coffee before you leave the house, and keep it in an insulated thermos. You can get your caffeine fix on your way to work, or at work, and even enjoy it mildly hot at noon.
6. Make Your Own Freezer Meals
If you’d like to cook—but just know it takes more time and energy than you have after a long day—change up the way you think about meal preparation. Instead of planning to make dinner after work every day (and then caving and just eating a store-bought freezer meal), carve out an hour or two to cook on a Sunday night, and simply scale the recipe up to make several meals at once to enjoy later in the week.
7. Make Substitutions
Don’t be afraid to speak up about the ingredients or preparation of your food if it will make it healthier. Request salsa or mustard, instead of mayonnaise or sugar-filled ketchup for your sandwich. Request sour cream or butter for your baked potato. Ask to have a side salad or fruit instead of fries. Ask for meat to be grilled as “light” as possible. The extent to which servers will go to make you happy might surprise you.
8. Take-Out Rules
Sometimes despite your best efforts to plan, you may find the need to grab a meal out, so do your best to keep it low-fat and balanced. Choose salads with lean protein like chicken or fish, vegetable or grilled chicken wraps, or vegetable- and broth-based soups for the lowest fat and calorie choices. Choose water over high-sugar sodas or sweetened beverages, and skip the burgers and fries or Italian subs, which are high in fat and low in nutrition.
9. Avoid Fast Food Baked Goods for Breakfast
A wholesome-looking muffin for breakfast could seem like a sweet and quick fix to our breakfast woes while we’re on-the-go, but it could wreak havoc on our waistline. Although not all muffins are created equal, some of them could contain about half of the saturated fat for the day. Rather than biting into a muffin, choose a plant-based protein shake, flax and chia cereals, or even whole grain toast with nut butter, and a piece of fruit.
Smoothies are also a healthier alternative when you’re on-the-go. A strawberry-yogurt smoothie can provide you with vitamin C and potassium, high fiber, and keep you full from breakfast to lunch.
10. Don't Skimp on Breakfast
A balanced breakfast provides the energy you'll need for your day, so don’t skip this important meal. To start your day off right, including a good source of protein to keep you full, like eggs, low-fat cottage cheese or Greek yogurt, as well as a serving of fruit and some whole-grain bread or cereal for energy and fuel. If you don’t have time to eat before hitting the road, pack portable foods like low-sugar instant oatmeal packets, hard-boiled eggs, fruit and plain yogurt and eat as soon as you get a chance.
Even with the busy schedule, we should always have good and balanced nutrition. Whether working stationary or you are always on the go, you need to have proper food intake that is full of nutrition. In this post, I shared with you 10 ways to eat well on the go.
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