We all know the struggle. We only have a few minutes between obligations and we need to get some food, and while many of us like the idea of eating healthy, we still often go for what’s easy – and most of the time that means fast food. But there are ways that we can eat healthier on-the-go without sacrificing our health. Here are a few tips to eating healthy on-the-go -without the excuses!
Remember those days in high school when we packed a lunch? This is probably the most important step you can take towards a healthy diet. Meal preparation is everything, but it doesn’t have to swallow your time and money.
To make this happen, plan for each week. Decide ahead of time what you want to eat during the week, and spend an open afternoon cooking up as much of this food as you can in advance.
A lot of times, I will take a package of bulk chicken breasts, grill them up on a Sunday night, and separate them into healthy portions in Tupperware containers and use them throughout the week in different dishes. I use some of the chicken in a salad, and the rest in a rice dish -I can use it any way I want! But, the biggest key is to have a plan and stick to it. If you can do this, you won’t have to cave into that fast food craving!
Make a Grocery List, Try to Stick to the Outer Aisles
A key part of meal preparation is making a grocery list – and sticking to it! Wandering through the grocery store without a list (especially when hungry!) is a surefire way to end up with a cart full of foods that your waist line will regret.
When making a grocery list, try to stick to buying items from the outer aisles, because these are most likely going to be the healthiest and most fresh foods. Much of the foods that are in the center aisles have been highly processed and contain higher levels of fat. Generally, if it comes in a box or a package, it has been processed in some way, shape, or form. If you can keep to the outer aisles as a general rule of thumb, you’ll definitely be on the right track!
Buy Pre-Prepped Fruits and Vegetables
If you’re like me, the most hated part of your meal preparation process is the cleaning and chopping of your fruits and vegetables, as this can be both tedious and time consuming. Luckily for us, most supermarkets now carry pre-cut fruits and vegetables, ready to be consumed or placed into a recipe.
This shortcut is extremely useful for those like me who are often short on time when it comes to cooking. Although these items are generally pricier than their fresh-from-the-garden counterparts, the time you save meal-prepping will make it worth it!
Buy Frozen or Canned Fruits and Vegetables
Another shortcut to make meal prep easier is to buy fruits and vegetables either canned or frozen. Generally, you can still get as many nutrients out of these as you would from their fresh counterparts.
Most vegetables stored in cans are preserved in a liquid that is generally quite high in sodium, so be sure to rinse before using them!
One of my favorite things to do, especially during the cold winter months, is to make a healthy chicken and vegetable soup in my slow cooker. Simply place frozen chicken and vegetables in the crock pot with your choice of water, broth, or tomato sauce and seasonings and let it cook for at least 4 hours on high, or 8 hours on low, and voila, you have healthy lunches for a few days!
Click here to find more five minute healthy recipes!
Do you do a lot of traveling for your job and find yourself needing something to tide you over from place to place? Instead of stopping somewhere for a bite to eat, spend a few minutes in the morning blending a smoothie or two before your day starts, and take them with you on the go! So, if you’re feeling hungry on-the-go, you can drink one of the smoothies, and instantly take care of that hunger fix – and get some vital nutrients to keep you energized throughout your day!
For some good smoothie inspiration, check out Greatist’s list of 54 healthy smoothie recipes and start making smoothies today!
Make it a Priority
As with anything in life, if it isn’t a priority, it probably won’t happen. So, don’t just talk about making changes to your diet, prioritize it and do it! Pull out the calendar, find a time during your week or weekend where you have a couple of free hours and schedule a meal preparation session. You can do it! Set yourself a reminder, and stick to it as if it was an important business meeting or a job interview. I promise – you will be happy you did it later on.
-Mike Z, Fitness and Wellness Director