“I don’t have time to eat healthy” is one of the most frequent excuses dietitians hear. No time for breakfast so you grab a free donut at the office meeting, no time for lunch so you stop and get fast food, and dinner ends up equaling a frozen dinner when you, like most Americans, are on the go.
I probably don’t have to tell you how bad that donut or fast food is for you, or that even a “healthy” frozen dinner will give you’re your week’s worth of salt in one serving! You are smart enough to know all that, but most of us feel that we can’t help but eat like this, in order to have the career, the house, the car, the kids, we sacrifice our health. But we don’t have to, there is a way to live our busy lives and eat health. Eating healthy on the go is all about two things: preparation and good choices.
Making the Right Choices
“We continue to see a really strong link between what we eat and being well,” says Sue Moores, MSRD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association (ADA). “The better we do on our part to choose good foods and eat healthfully, the more effect it has on helping us stay well, feel good, and enjoy life.” Food choice is very important when we are on the go, foods like donuts or burgers not on give us empty calories, but the satisfaction from them does not last long, and before you know it you need to eat again. Eat food that a pull of protein and vitamins, so you stay fuller longer. Nuts are full of protein and can help curb your appetite. Keep handy snacks around, such as fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, trail mix, carrot or celery sticks, wraps, and sandwiches; don’t wait until you are starving to eat or you will end up over eating, when you are on the go it is best to eat serve small portions throughout the day. Eating out is always a challenge, whether on the go or not, so avoid eating out if possible, but if you are forced to, choose baked and broiled instead of fried, and ask for a lunch portion rather than a dinner portion (or take some home with you instead of eating it all in one sitting).
The solution isn’t to find more time, but to work with the schedule you have. The minutes spent perusing fast-food or vending machine options could be used toward preparing a healthy option for yourself. The biggest part of eating healthy on the go is planning, take a few extra minutes on the weekend to grocery shop and plan out you meals for the week, buy enough food for the entire week so you do not have to waste time returning to the grocery store. Cook a large batch of food on the weekend, enough for some lunches and dinners during the week, refrigerate or freeze these foods so you can quickly reheat them. Breakfast is a very important part of the day, although a lot of us skip it! Store cereal in zip lock bags so you can take it on the go, fill a water bottle with orange juice the night before so you can grab it on your way out the door. Cut up fresh fruit and vegetables on the weekend so you have quick snacks during the week, portion out food into zip lock containers/bags so you can just grab it and go. Making an effort to eat healthy does not mean abandoning our lives. Find a few minutes to think about a small nutrition goal, how you think you can reach it, and what can prevent you from success. Then devise a plan.
Some tips for Eating Healthy on the Go:
1. Cook a bigger batch of food on the weekends, and refrigerate or freeze for weekday consumption.
2. Set an alarm for mealtimes. Even if you’re buried in a project, don’t skip meals; designate a time to eat.
3. Try not to do anything else while eating. Mindless consumption prevents the enjoyment of food. When that happens, people tend to eat more and eat unhealthy alternatives.
4. Put fresh or dried fruit where you can see it to remind yourself of your goal to eat healthy. Bananas, grapes, and apples make handy and nutritious snack items.
5. If at a restaurant, turn down the supersize option, and choose baked and broiled instead of fried.
6. Order the lunch portion at dinnertime, and hold off on fatty condiments.
7. Keep handy snacks around, such as fruits, dried fruits, nuts, seeds, trail mix, carrot or celery sticks, wraps, and sandwiches.
Author: K. Cossaboon