Eating healthy can be tough. Especially if you’re someone who is always on the run and without the time to sit down for a proper meal. Some of us are so busy we eat many of our “meals” on the go. There’s the quick coffee and bagel in the morning, the drive through in the afternoon, and a granola bar to hold us over until dinner. And who really feels like cooking that dinner by the time you get home in the evening? It’s more likely that you place a call to your favorite delivery service, or if you’re feeling energetic, maybe go and pick it up yourself.
No doubt it’s tough to break this vicious cycle, but it’s not impossible. With the right nutritional knowledge and access to healthy food, anyone can eat well on the run.
Meal ideas for the mornings…
Breakfast is an important meal and many of us often skip it. This is a bad habit we should break. Mornings are hectic and busy and despite our best efforts we are often running late. This results in a missed morning meal which makes it hard to stick to a healthy diet throughout the day.
There are a few solutions that are quick and easy. Let’s start with that essential morning cup of coffee; while you’re waiting those few precious minutes for your caffeinated brew, put on a kettle of hot water and pour some instant oatmeal into a bowl. Your breakfast will be ready by the time your coffee is finished, and if you have time for a sip of coffee, you have time for a spoon of oatmeal. Oatmeal is packed with vitamins, minerals, anti-oxidants and fiber and will start your day off right. Throw in some cinnamon, honey or some chopped nuts and you’ve got a nutritious meal that will keep you satisfied right through until lunch time.
And do not underestimate the power of a blender. These days you can buy a compact appliance with the actual blender doubling as a to-go bottle! Fresh, healthy smoothies have never been easier. If you have 5 minutes in the morning, then you have time to make a breakfast shake. Use any combination of chopped fruit, low-fat Greek yogurt, ice and you’ve got yourself a meal. For extra nutritional value try throwing in some chia seeds, sesame seeds, avocado or even granola or muesli.
If you need something with a little more substance and protein, blend a combination of almonds, milk and oats. This drink is full of fiber, protein and healthy omega-3 fats that will help you to power through your morning grind.
Meal ideas for the afternoons and evenings…
Lunch is a tough meal to squeeze in between the meetings, phone calls, reports and deadlines. Many people work through their lunch break or grab something from a drive thru counter. Neither option is beneficial.
Take 10-15 minutes after dinner the night before to prep for the next day and you’ll be thanking yourself later. In the evening, chop up some veggies like carrots, celery, cucumber, avocado or lettuce and store in a sealed container. Use another small container to store some hummus. Keep a bag of whole wheat pita bread pockets at work and it will take you only 5 minutes to make a wholesome pita with your pre-cut veggies and hummus. Pitas are portable, too, so it’s a perfect light meal that you can take with you on the run.
If eating out is unavoidable during the day, try to steer clear of any fast food joint. Oily, trans and saturated fats are terrible for your body and will leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy for the rest of the afternoon. Stop by a grocery deli for a healthier alternative. Create your own turkey, avocado and mustard wrap or grilled chicken and roasted pepper sandwich. Avoid fatty condiments such as mayonnaise, creamy dressings and butter. Stick to mustards, light vinaigrettes and salt and pepper.
Don’t forget about the snacks…
The key to maintaining healthy eating is to keep some healthy snacks on hand. Stash them in your car or desk draw so when those hunger pangs hit between lunch and dinner, you won’t give in to the vending machine down the hall or a fast food drive-thru.
I’m willing to bet the following scenario is one many of you have battled at least once: you’re finally off work, but now there’s no time between the end of that final meeting and the start of your favorite aerobics class. Your stomach is growling and you know making it through a tough cardio workout is less than likely. Instead of skipping your fitness session, grab a snack to refuel and hit the gym!
Fruit is one of the best healthy snacks; it’s portable, low in calories and high in vitamins and fiber. For quick energy to keep you going choose apples, bananas, pears or oranges.
Nuts, like unsalted almonds and cashew nuts have loads of protein and “good” fats that will temporarily satisfy a rumbling tummy. Keep a plastic bag of nuts on hand for a quick crunch on your commute.
Muffins and bread are probably two words you didn’t expect to find when reading about healthy eating, but it’s all about the ingredients! Get creative enough and you can have a muffin every day.
Try these tomato, basil and mozzarella quinoa muffins. You will need:
½ cup quinoa, 1 cup water, 2 eggs- beaten, ¼ shredded mozzarella, 2-3 minced garlic cloves, ¼ tsp salt, 1 cup diced tomatoes, ¼ cup fresh basil – chopped.
Spray a muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Cook and cool the quinoa and set aside. In a large bowl mix the eggs, cheese, garlic and salt. Add the quinoa. Finally, add in the basil and tomatoes and mix. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Store them in the fridge or freezer for a quick bite, or make it a meal by adding a side of green salad.
Try a similar muffin recipe with this Tuna Salad variation.
You will need: 1 ½ cups of whole wheat flour, 1 tbsp sugar, 2 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp salt, 1 can of tuna – drained, ½ plain non-fat yogurt, ½ cup chopped green onion, ¼ cup chopped green olives, 1 tbsp chopped garlic, 1 egg, ¾ cup skim milk, 1/3 cup vegetable oil.
Prepare muffin pan with non-stick cooking spray. Stir flour, sugar, baking powder and salt together in a bowl and set aside. In another bowl, flake the tuna and add the yogurt, green onion, olives, and garlic. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, milk and oil.
Combine the bowl of tuna with the bowl of flour. When mixed, add the milk mixture. Mix well. Spoon the batter into the muffin pan and bake for 20-25 minutes.
Same as the quinoa muffins, you can save the tuna salad muffins in the fridge or freezer for a filling and healthy meal whenever you need it.
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be difficult; with the right ingredients and knowledge of what’s delicious and nutritious you can easily eat well every day!
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