One of the biggest struggles that many women face today is a hectic schedule.
We’re so busy with work and life that fueling ourselves well becomes a real challenge. When you're on the go, go, go all the time, it's easy for quick and convenient foods to take the place of the more nourishing foods that would better prepare you to handle your packed days.
Those choices aren't bad per se. But a habit of poor quality meals is what ends up putting us on the hamster wheel of experiencing low energy, poor sleep, and disordered eating.
What if I told you it didn’t have to be this way? I'm serious. You don’t have to surrender your health to your schedule and resort to the vending machine on a regular basis.
It's possible to fuel yourself well, even with a jam-packed schedule. With a little bit of pre-planning, you can set yourself up for success. You'll feel better, have more energy, and find yourself able to accomplish a lot more during the day.
When you start nourishing your body with more conscious choices, you'll also find that you don't have that 3 pm slump anymore or need your usual afternoon caffeine boost. These are some of the added benefits that my clients experience, and they're always pleasantly surprised.
Eating Healthy When You’re Not Home
Our days are packed with surprises that twist our plans and keep us on the go for longer than expected. That's just how life is, right? Those are usually the days when you'll benefit the most of energy-boosting snacks, so it's only smart to plan for when things go awry. Vending machines can be real lifesavers sometimes, but more often than not they'll just fill you with empty calories that'll leave you hungry again shortly.
Daily Errands and Kids' Activities
Many of us spend several hours in our cars every week running errands, stuck in traffic, or just shuttling kids back and forth between activities. If you don’t plan, 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 when you’re starving to make food choices. That usually leads to rushed decisions that don't consider your long-term wellness. Pack easy to carry snacks, and keep them in your purse or your car. This way you always have something nourishing and satisfying right at your fingertips.
It can be smart to plan even when you're on vacation so that you make sure you're feeling sharp and can make the most of your time away.
If you're road tripping, pack a cooler to have easy access to snacks while on the go. If you’re planning on stopping at rest areas along the way, one fun idea is to pack a nutritious picnic lunch to eat before the next leg of your trip.
Snack bars, nuts, seeds or even pieces of fruit are some of the foods you can pack in your personal items bag. With a little creative planning, you can stay nourished and also save yourself a bundle of money you would have otherwise spent on pricey (and often not super tasty) airport food and snacks.
Remember that you can't pack liquids in your carry-on bag, but you can still have a refillable water bottle on you. Airports and airplanes are famous for terribly dry air, so keeping yourself hydrated is a must.
Easy to Pack Foods
We've been talking a lot of packing food to eat on the go, but what exactly can you pack that will be easy to carry around and also tasty and nutritious?
Here are some ideas that are easy to prepare and convenient to take on the go. Try them out and experiment to see which best fit your preferences and lifestyle. Mix and match to see what works best for your unique needs and tastes.
● baby carrots and cucumber slices with hummus
● sliced apples with sprinkled cinnamon and sea salt
● clementine or mandarin oranges
● sliced pears with your nut butter of choice
● a filling smoothie, if you plan to drink it within 30 mins or so.
● nuts and raisins, or create your own trail mix
● nut and fruit snack bars
● sandwiches or wraps
● string cheese or cheese cubes
● high-quality beef jerky
● cut-up rotisserie chicken (keep cold with an ice pack)
● hard-boiled eggs
Pro tip: be sure to keep any perishable foods in a cooler or use an ice pack, okay? Food poisoning is far from what we're trying to achieve here!
Make the Most of Technology
When life gets busy and hectic, the last thing you need is the added stress of calorie counting and portion tracking. These practices not only consume time and energy that you need to handle your packed schedule but also contribute to disordered eating patterns that make life much harder.
My favorite technology hack to promote mindful eating is to photograph your meals. That prompts you to stop for a second and observe your food and make a conscious choice to eat it. Is that food what you need right now? Will it fuel your current needs?
You can do that with just your phone's camera, but there also apps that can help with that. MealLogger and See How You Eat are some of my favorite food journal apps (and unfortunately two of the few out there without an emphasis on calorie and macronutrient tracking).
When you're busy, busy, mindful eating and a general mindfulness practice are essential. That's how you stay connected with what your body truly wants and needs, and avoid starting a habit of emotional eating.
The good news is that you can be more mindful through your days with as little as five minutes of your time. There are meditation apps out there that you can use to clear your mind when you feel overwhelmed. Some of my favorites are Headspace and Calm.
Make Midweek Meals Easy
Sometimes, there's not much you can do. Life just gets in the way, and it's hard to find the healthier alternatives you'd like. In these days, it's extra important to make sure you replenish yourself well over dinner. Now, the chances are that, if you had a crazy day, the last thing you want when you get home is to cook.
I feel the same way, and that's why I'm a huge fan of meal prepping. With a little forethought, you can make sure you refuel well when you need it most.
Check this post to get my simple system to prepare a week's worth of meals for you and your family with just a bit of planning.
Over to you
Even with a busy schedule, you can still make sure that you are eating healthy, nutritious meals. By putting in a little thought, you can ensure that you're always enjoying foods that support your lifestyle and your goals.
It's time to stop thinking of food as the enemy and to look at it as the empowerment tool that it is. When you're fueled, clearing your ever-growing list of things to do and places to be is a lot easier and enjoyable.
Planning to be on the go soon? Make sure to get your cheat sheet for eating healthy while traveling. That'll come in especially handy this holiday season when you head out to visit your friends and family!
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