Happy Wednesday to you and yours. It’s a wonderful day here in Southeastern, PA. My sister just called to let me know that her water broke and my nephew will be arriving in the next 6-24 hours and so, I’m a bit excited!!!In a weird twist of whatever, I had been asked to write about: Nutrition on the Go and eating healthy when you live a hectic lifestyle. Seeing as I’ll be hanging around a hospital with a convenience store next door, I’m not expecting to get a 5 star meal in the hospital cafeteria. Not a knock, just reality.
In fact, it would be quite easy to fall off the wagon right now and just ‘eat whatever is around.’ But that’s not going to work for me and hopefully, that’s not you either.
Complete truth here – eating healthy is not easy and I understand why many people choose the ‘fast’ or ‘convenient’ variations of food. Folks will say ‘It’s quick, It’s easy and it tastes good.” I can’t argue with that, however, I will argue to the point of, ‘are those foods serving you and your health?’
I don’t agree with the fast food taste assessment anymore, however, if you had asked me at 16, the answer would be different. If you’ve eaten a grass fed steak and a Mickey D’s burger, you will know the difference and hopefully, are willing to make the healthier choice.
Let’s start with the basics.
In reality, your food should have 1 (ONE) ingredient…i.e. Beef, Apple, Broccoli
Your food categories are as follows: Protein, Fats, Veggies, Fruits
Pasture Raised Lean Protein: Red Meats like Beef, Deer etc, Poultry like Chicken or Turkey, Fish, Jerky: Beef, Turkey, Chicken
Grass Fed Protein Powder: The Best I’ve found is Tera’s Whey (Cow) and Tera’s Goat Whey for all the folks who don’t eat meat. If whey doesn’t work, Egg protein or Casein Protein may be an alternative.
Fats: Pastured animal fats, Healthy oils: Olive, Coconut, Sesame, Nuts: Pistachios, Cashews, Almonds, Pecans, Macadamia etc…
Fruits: Berries, Apples, Bananas etc.
Veggies: Anything Green, Cruciferous and Leafy is usually your best bet, but pick many vegetables with different colors: Cauliflower, Egg Plant, Peppers, Carrots etc.
Processed foods, foods high in grains and foods with ingredients you cannot pronounce are best left on the shelves.
Strategy# 1 – Weekly Meal Planning
Every Sunday (or some other day) you can plan what you will eat in your meals, go buy the food, prepare it and then portion it out accordingly.
Advantage: All your thinking is done for you in regards to food choices. You don’t have to wonder what to eat when your stomach is screaming at you, you can just go to the fridge and grab your meal. Ideally, carry a cooler or if you have a refrigerator at work, you can store it there.
Disadvantage: – It takes time to prepare. Not really a disadvantage, but an expenditure of time that is necessary if you want your food to nourish you.
Strategy #2 – Daily Meal Planning
Start by waking up earlier, about 30 minutes and throw together the leftovers you have. Maybe steam some veggies, slice some fruits and if you have a counter grill or quick stove top, you can saute and brown some meats as well.
Advantage: Get rid of leftovers. Less time to create the meals for the day than the week.
Disadvantage: Easy to fall off if you’re in the habit of eating out for lunch with co-workers where you might be tempted to eat as they do and fit in, rather than doing what’s best for you.
Strategy #3 – The lesser evil
In one hand you have a bag of roasted and salted nuts. In the other hand, a bag of raw, unprocessed nuts. Which will you choose? Most of the convenience type stores (Wawa and 7 Eleven near me, or Publix, Sonic, Cumberland Farms, Sheetz etc) are starting to get it, or at the very least, offer foods that can be considered as edible.
Look for raw nuts instead of oiled up nuts or eat the oiled up nuts instead of the gas station hot dog.
Look for an apple instead of dried fruits or maybe dried fruits instead of fruit snack or fruit rollups.
Look for a greek yogurt, cheese sticks, or jerky instead of a hoagie (apparently these are called: subs, grinders and heroes in other parts of the world…but here, it’s a hoagie!!!) or, Eat the hoagie without the bread instead of a ‘Protein Bar.’ Another name for protein bars is: Candy Bars….
Look for water instead of: any caloric beverage.
Advantage: You learn what you can ‘get away with’ if you eat it and don’t get fat or eat it and don’t get sick, then it’s probably, ‘ok.’
Disadvantage: You have to know something about nutrition and what’s actually healthy in order to make a sound decision.
Strategy #4 – Carry Protein Shakes and Good Snacks
If you can’t carry a jug of protein (grass fed), an apple or 2 and some nuts in the car, I’m calling you out. You’re not the President of the United States or even close to that busy…So please, get to the store.
How hard is it to add 2 scoops of protein into a bottle, add water, shake it up and drink it? How about picking up a bag of apples and raw nuts from the store? In roughly 30 seconds you can have a healthy balanced meal and have it eaten and digesting in less than 10 minutes.
a. Scoop Protein into bottle.
b. Add water
e. Eat Nuts
f. Eat Apple
g. Smile…you’re awesome!
Advantage: Super Easy…Like, almost mindless
Disadvantage: You have to do your research to get the right powder for you and you have to go to the store (unless you get it delivered to you, lucky you!)
Strategy #5 – When in Doubt
Eat Protein and LOTS of VEGGIES. The protein will keep you from gnawing off your neighbors arm and the Veggies will keep you full and sharp until you can grab something else.
Advantage: Gotta know what constitutes protein and veggies
Disadvantage: Not as easy as you’d think
Strategy #6 – Let someone else do it
Seems weird to have someone else cook for you, until you’ve had it done. I hired my mom to be my meal prepper. I’ve given her strict guidelines on what I’m looking for. I provide the food and she puts it together in a healthy way that allows some room for variety. She even does this for several of my clients, and so it’s even easier for me to help them because I know what they’re eating and I know what work they’re doing.
Advantage: Way more time to do you
Disadvantage: Costs more
Hopefully you are deducing my logic:
Pick the thing closest to natural with the least amount of ingredients and has the most nutrient dense foods as possible.
If you aren’t willing to take the time to eat better, then I really can’t help you. We could put together the perfect plan, and I’ll give it to you and most likely you will still fall short.
Why? As stated earlier, Eating Healthy is not easy. And the truth is, you already know what to do…
It’s applying that knowledge and creating the habit of healthy eating over eating anything.
If you can eat roughly 90% of your meals as natural and clean as possible, then feel free to enjoy the other 10% with some indulgences. Life is too short to eat chicken and broccoli at every meal.
A coach can keep you accountable and give you insight into how to apply these principles to your life.You have to want to do it, and be willing to make a conscious effort to do so. Coaches are not babysitters and we expect you to use your brains and think for yourselves. Unless you’re the type who needs to be lead by the hand to do everything…And you can’t afford my fee for that…