One of the most difficult parts of maintaining a healthy lifestyle is eating nutritious food when you’re crunched for time. Between work, school, families and various other commitments in our lives, it can seem impossible to find time to prepare and pack healthy food to eat each day. But with just a little planning and prep time set aside each week, it really is possible to maintain your healthy diet on even the tightest schedules. Here are some tips to help keep your diet on the right track when you’re on the go:
Plan a Prep Day
I find that it’s a lot easier to plan my meals during the week when I do the majority of my grocery shopping and food preparation on the weekend. Choose a prep day that works best for your schedule, stick to it and plan around it. In doing this, you’ll find that planning ahead for a busy week not only gives you a sense of accomplishment, it will actually be easier to make healthy food choices because you’ve already done most of the work.
Stock Up on Snacks
People typically grab junk food because of the convenience factor, so having healthy snack foods available both at home and the office can help keep you away from the cookie jar or vending machine. Also, portion out snacks ahead of time to avoid grabbing fast food while you’re running errands or commuting.
Apples, oranges, Greek yogurt and raw almonds make fast, delicious snacks and are easy to keep at the office. Be sure to cycle your snack foods to keep it interesting. Rice cakes, cottage cheese, protein shakes, fresh fruits and vegetables are all nutritious and easy snack foods to stock up on.
Make Healthy Swaps
Many people hit a low point in the afternoon, particularly if you’re sleep deprived. When this happens, it’s even more enticing to reach for high-calorie food and beverages for an extra boost. Making healthy swaps for the items you’re craving will satiate you longer and prevent you from derailing your clean eating.
If you know that you gravitate toward big, sugary lattes in the afternoon when your energy is plummeting, plan ahead and have some delicious protein powder and a shaker bottle stored in your desk drawer. Swapping the latte for a protein shake can be just as satisfying if you find a flavor you love. Chocolate peanut butter, cookies and cream or caramel are just a few ideas.
If you crave sugary or salty snacks, look online for healthy versions of the foods you love. Check out my amazing sweet potato muffins recipe for a delicious and healthy baked good that can help steer you away from fatty scones or coffee cake.
Drink Plenty of Water
Drinking plenty of water will aid proper digestion, keep your skin supple and suppress hunger in between meals. I tell my clients to shoot for a gallon of water a day. Dehydration makes you sluggish and ineffective, so find little ways to incorporate more water into your day.
If you have trouble drinking water on its own, you can create healthy flavoring by adding cut up fruits or vegetables. Lemons, limes, oranges and cucumbers are all delicious ways to spice up your water while avoiding the harmful chemicals and dyes of liquid or powdered water enhancers.
Track Your Calories
Tracking your calories can help keep you accountable while you’re on the go. You might not realize how many calories your snacks or beverages are adding up throughout the day! Phone apps are a great way to track your food. Most have convenient features like bar code scanning and auto-saved food favorites to make adding your meals fast and simple. Some of the best free food tracking apps are MyFitnessPal, LoseIt and SparkPeople.
Making an effort to clean up your eating habits doesn’t have to be overwhelming, expensive or tedious. Small changes in your daily food habits will really add up! Start with these healthy eating tips and you’ll see progress in no time.