It's totally possible to be busy and follow a good diet - it just takes a little planning.
It’s easy enough to eat well when you are home all day or
you work part time. However, if you work crazy hours or you are always away
from home driving the kids here and there, you know how hard it can be to
follow a healthy meal plan.
Eating the right foods consistently throughout the day is
the best weapon we have to keep your energy levels and your health in order. The
following 10 tips will give you some ideas on how you might improve your eating
habits in spite of having a crazy, and sometimes unpredictable, schedule.
#1 Eat breakfast. This one is an oldie but
goody. We’ve all heard it, but tons of people STILL don’t eat something within
an hour or waking up, and it’s a huge mistake for the average person.* If you
don’t have a huge appetite in the morning, have something small that contains
protein such as a yogurt, a protein shake or a hard boiled egg. You can always
have a snack later on, but you don’t want to wait until lunch to eat. *Note: there
are certain food plans that specifically ask you to skip breakfast. If you
follow one of those plans, your ‘breakfast’ will be later in the day, but the same rules
regarding protein apply.
#2 Have healthy snacks on hand at home, in your
car and in the office at work at all times. The biggest reason people
choose the wrong foods is because they find themselves hungry and there is
nothing else convenient to eat. 100-calorie packs of nuts, fruit such as
bananas, apples and clementines, or whole food bars made with nuts and dried
fruit are good choices. If you have acess to a refrigerator, yogurt, string
cheese, and veggies with hummus are good snacks.
#3 Have a plan for lunch. If you’re working
through lunch, the best is to bring lunch from home. You can also bring a
healthy microwaveable meal. If you are going to get take-out, have a few go-to
meals you can order out that you know are healthy, and stick to that list.
Don’t wait until you are ravenous to eat lunch—you will make poor choices. Make
extra dinner the night before, and save a portion for lunch the next day. If
you go to work after lunch, try to make lunch the biggest meal of the day to
hold you over.
#4 Drink tons of water ALL day. This is
another oldie but goody. Water is even more important than food for our health
and energy levels. There is no getting around the need for, at least, 64 ounces
of pure water each day. Count how many times you fill up your water bottle and
make sure you’re getting enough. This will also help control your appetite.
#5 Managing the late dinner. A lot of
working people and commuters have to deal with the issue of a late dinner.
While not ideal from a digestion standpoint, eating late is not the end of the
world as long as your total calorie intake for the day is not excessive.
However, the main problem with a late dinner is that people get so hungry
waiting for a late dinner that the end up overeating. Try to have a snack that
contains fiber such as a piece of fruit or a whole food bar around 6pm when the
average person would be eating dinner, and fill up at least 50% of your dinner
plate with vegetables. Eat those first and you will not eat as much of the
higher calorie items. You will also ensure you get adequate nutrients since
vegetables are the most nutritious part of the diet.