One of the biggest struggles that most people face today is a hectic schedule. We’re so busy that it makes eating healthy a real challenge. Quick and convenient foods end up taking the place of healthy, nourishing foods when we’re on the go, go, go all the time. These less-than-ideal food choices put us on the vicious cycle of experiencing low energy, weight gain, and potential health problems.
What if I told you it didn’t have to be this way? You don’t have to be guided your schedule and resort to fast food or processed foods on a regular basis. It is possible to healthy, even with a jam-packed schedule. It just requires a little pre-planning to ensure success. When you start fueling your body with healthier choices, you’ll probably notice increased energy, improved concentration, and better mood. Who doesn’t want that? You might also find that you don’t have that 3 PM slump or require an afternoon caffeine boost. These are a few benefits many of my clients experience, and they’re always pleasantly surprised.
There are plenty of circumstances that will take you away from home and make it more challenging to eat well. Taking the time to plan ahead will allow you to relax knowing that you won’t be derailing your healthy living efforts by consuming empty calories that only make you hungry again a short time later. With the goal of healthier eating in mind, let’s consider situations we often find ourselves in, and how we can make better choices.
Time Saver Tips:
A busy day doesn’t mean you have to forgo a healthy dinner. With a little forethought, you can have a home-cooked meal ready when you walk in the door. There are countless nutrient-dense crock-pot meal ideas available online, so why not try a few out. When you prep everything the night before (if time doesn’t allow in the morning), you can come home to a delicious meal that is ready to serve. When you do have time to cook, make the most of your minutes by batch cooking and planning for leftovers. Simply double your favorite recipe(s) and freeze in meal-size portions. When you know you’ll be pressed for time, make an extra large dinner and refrigerate the leftovers for lunch or dinner the next day. In doing so, you’ll have saved time later in the week.
Daily Errands and/or Kid’s Activities:
Most of us spend several hours in our vehicles every week running errands, stuck in traffic or shuttling kids back and forth between activities. If we don’t plan ahead, it is easy to fall into the trap of circling through the closest drive through when hunger strikes. Don’t wait until the point that you’re famished to make good food choices, as this will almost always lead to bad decisions. Instead, plan ahead. Pack easy to carry healthy snacks (listed below) and keep them in your purse, gym bag, or vehicle. This way you always have healthy choices right at your fingertips.
Just because you’re on the road for a few days doesn’t mean you have to take a total hiatus from your health goals. You can still eat well by packing nutritious foods to enjoy en route. If you’re planning on stopping at rest areas along the way, prepare a cooler for a satisfying picnic lunch to eat before you head back out on the next leg of your trip.
Airports and Airplanes:
Even though you can’t board the plane with liquids in your carry-on bag, there are still plenty of options for what you can bring. Whole food snack bars, nuts, seeds, or pieces of fruit are permitted in your personal items bag. With a little creative planning, you can stay on track, and save yourself a bundle of money you would have otherwise spent on pricey, high calorie, and often unhealthy airport food and snacks.
Foods That Are Easy to Pack:
The following items are easy to prepare, and convenient to take on the go. Remember to keep any perishable foods in a cooler or use an ice pack.
- Carrot and cucumber sticks with hummus or other healthy dip
- Sliced apples with nut/seed butter
- Fruit such as orange sections, grapes, or sliced pears
- Trail mix or nutritious energy bars (preferably homemade)
- Pumpkin seeds, walnuts, or almonds
- Sandwiches or wraps
- Cooked chicken or hard boiled eggs
In conclusion, it takes very little extra effort to make healthy eating strategies work, and even with a busy schedule, you can still make sure that you’re staying on track. With a bit of planning, you can enjoy nutritious meals that support your lifestyle and your health goals.
This is Janice, inspiring change
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