With the new school year, kids going here and there, traveling for work and attending weekend events, it’s a wonder we eat at all - let alone eat things that are good for us. Here are some healthy foods that will keep you satisfied and some simple recipes for healthy meals to eat on the go!
The main thing that’s important to healthy eating is planning. The old saying, “Fail to plan, plan to fail,” holds true in this approach. But before you can plan, you should know what foods are healthy to consume. If you stick with a variety of mainly fruits and veggies, lean proteins, minimal whole grains and fats, you can’t go wrong. Here is a simple list of healthy foods broken down into groups:
- Fruits: Apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries - all should equal about 70% of your fruit intake. Fruits such as bananas, melons, grapes, oranges should equal the other 30% and should mainly be consumed early morning or post workout.
- Veggies: Any green leaf vegetable should be 70-80% of your veggie intake. Vegetables such as avocados, tomatoes, corn, carrots should be the other 20-30%.
- Lean meats: Chicken, fish, turkey, lean pork, sirloin and bison should be 80% of your meat intake. The other 20% would consist of darker meats like chicken thighs, ground beef/chuck (80% fat), bacon, New York strip steak, etc.
- Other protein sources: Other than eggs, all dairy products should make up approx. 20% of your protein intake - that means cheese, yogurt, cottage cheese, milk, etc. Try eating eggs in the evening or after a strenuous workout - they are the only complete source of amino acids and allow your sore muscle to rebuild over night.
- Whole grains: Oats, brown rice, wild rice, sweet potatoes, beans/lentils, whole wheat pasta should be consumed primarily during the day and never eaten six hours prior to bed.
- Condiments/good fats: Minimal salt, garlic, non-salt seasoning (like Mrs. Dash), pepper, hot sauce, low fat mayonnaise (made with olive oil), olive oil (but not to cook with), almonds, almond butter, coconut oil (cook with this), walnuts, cashews.
Take the list above to the store with you and stock up!
Now it’s time to hit the kitchen! The key is to prepare meals ahead of time that you can eat on the go. Just about everyone, no matter how busy, probably has about two hours he or she can spare to pre-cook meals each week - Sunday nights are a great time to get in the kitchen and do some pre-cooking for the week. Bake some chicken breast and fish, pre-make brown rice, sweet potatoes, and anything else that will take time to cook. Cut up into bite size pieces and store in glass or plastic containers (just be careful to not microwave anything in plastic).
Here are a few sample meals to prepare:
1) Chicken salad: Dice up 1 cup of chicken breast and place it in a bowl. Mix in 1 teaspoon of vinegar, 2 tablespoons of mayo, salt pepper to taste. You can even dice up onions and peppers to taste. Get as creative as you want - individual containers of this make great work lunches!
2) Brown rice, chicken and broccoli: Mix 1-2 cups cooked brown rice with diced up chicken breast and broccoli florets. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with garlic, salt and pepper to taste.
3) Sweet potato treat: Cook a large sweet potato, spoon out insides and mix with 1 tablespoon of honey, a sprinkle of cinnamon to taste and 1 teaspoon of butter. This makes a great dessert!
Remember preparation is the key. Being prepared with meals on the go means that if you realize you won't have time for lunch or making dinner, you'll have something healthy that you can grab and eat instead.