We’re so busy that it makes eating healthy a real challenge. Quick and convenient foods end up taking the place of healthy, nourishing food when we’re on the go, go, go all the time. These less-than-ideal food choices put us on the hamster wheel 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 a slave to your schedule and resort to fast food or processed foods on a regular basis.
It’s possible to eat healthy foods, even with a jam-packed schedule. It just requires a little bit of pre-planning to ensure success. You’ll feel better, have more energy, and your waistline will thank you too.
When you start fueling your body with healthier choices, you’ll probably also find that you don’t have that 3 PM slump or need that afternoon caffeine boost. (These are a couple of added benefits many of my clients experience, and they’re always pleasantly surprised).
I’ve included a list of healthy snack ideas to get you started, so keep reading.
Eating Healthy When You’re Not Home
There are plenty of circumstances that will take you away from home, and make it more challenging to eat healthy food. Take the time to plan ahead and you can 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.
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 swinging through the closest drive through when you (or your family) are hungry.
Don’t wait until the point that you’re starving to make food choices, as this will almost always lead to bad decisions. Instead, plan ahead, so you don’t have to rely on your willpower alone to keep you on track. Pack easy to carry healthy snacks, and keep them in either your purse or your vehicle. This way you always have healthy choices right at your fingertips.
Just because you’re on vacation, doesn’t mean you should take a total hiatus from your health goals. You can still live a healthy lifestyle on road trips by packing healthy foods to eat in the car. You can pack a cooler to keep handy so you have easy access to snacks while on the road. If you’re planning on stopping at rest areas along the way, pack a nutritious picnic lunch to eat before you head back out on the next leg of your trip.
Even though you can’t pack liquids in your carry-on bag, there are still plenty of options for what you can bring. You can pack wrapped whole food snack bars, nuts, seeds or even pieces of fruit in your personal items bag. With a little creative planning, you can keep your nutrition on track, and save yourself a bundle of money you would have otherwise spent on pricey (and often unhealthy) airport food and snacks.
Foods That Are Easy to Pack
The following items are all easy to prepare, and convenient to take on the go. Feel free to experiment, and find out which snacks best fit your preference and lifestyle. Mix and match options to see what works for you. Be sure to keep any perishable foods in a cooler or use an ice pack.
Baby carrots and cucumber slices with hummus
Sliced or whole apples with nut butter or sun butter
Clementine or mandarin oranges
Sliced or whole pears
Smoothie (if you plan to drink it within 30 mins or so)
Nuts and raisins (you can make your own trail mix)
Pumpkin seeds (pepitas) and/or sunflower seeds
Whole Food Snack Bars (such as Larabar)
Sandwiches or wraps
String cheese or cheese cubes
High quality beef jerky
Cut-up rotisserie chicken (keep cool with an ice pack)
Hard boiled eggs
Make the Most of Technology
Almost everyone has a smartphone with them at any given time. You can use this readily available technology to your advantage. Keep your food choices healthy when you’re on the go by utilizing apps that make healthy living easier.
“Healthy Out” is a handy app to keep your nutrition on track when eating out. You can search by tags like meals under 500 calories, paleo, heart healthy, and more. Download the app for iOS or Android to find restaurant meals that fit your needs.
If anyone in your family is gluten intolerant, it may be a challenge to find restaurants that serve gluten-free meals. You can use the app called “Find Me Gluten Free” to help find restaurants with gluten free offerings in your vicinity.
Make Midweek Meals Easy
Just because you have had a busy day doesn’t mean you have to resort to fast food or processed foods for dinner. With a little forethought, you can make sure your family has healthy meals ready to go when you walk in the door.
With the advent of Pinterest, you now have thousands of healthy crockpot meal ideas available for free. Do a quick search and see what recipes may interest you and your family. If you prep everything the night before, or even earlier in the morning, you can come home to a delicious home-cooked meal that is ready to serve.
Other helpful website for crockpot recipe ideas is HYPERLINK “http://allrecipes.com/” Allrecipes.com and HYPERLINK “http://www.myrecipes.com/slow-cooker-recipes” Myrecipes.com
TIME SAVER TIP: Batch cook and plan for leftovers. When you do have time to cook, simply double the recipe and set the extras aside to use later in the week on a particularly busy day. It takes very little extra effort to double the recipe, and you will reap the benefits of time savings later in the week.
Make Healthy Eating Strategies Work for You
Even with a busy schedule, you can still make sure that you are eating healthy, nutritious meals. By putting in a little bit planning, you can ensure that you and your family enjoy healthy foods that support your lifestyle and your goals.
You can do this! Let me know if I can help.