Struggling with eating healthy on the go? These 8 tips will make things super simple.
Super simple tips for eating healthy on the go:
Tip#1: Slow down and stay healthy.
If you find yourself hitting your local fast food joint for lunch, you are probably eating more than you should. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Control surveyed 7750 fast food customers and found the average calories eaten at lunch was 827 (Pubmed). Now, if you are trying to lose fat or maintain a healthy body composition, this could be twice as many calories than you should be eating, and chances are, they are not very healthful calories.
Tip #2: Bag it!
Packing your lunch not only allows you to control the calories you are eating, it also allows you to pack healthful foods. Bagging your lunch also helps you learn what proper portions are. So, if you think brown-bag lunches are for kids in school, think again. The old brown bag lunch could be your trick to weight loss success. A small investment for a lunch size cooler and an ice pack will go far and serve you for many years.
Whether you are trying to lose fat, add lean healthy muscle or both, packing your own meals will allow you to control the calories and the portions you eat in order to achieve your goal. Allowing someone else to provide your meal leads to portion distortion and unwanted/needed calories and nutrients.
We live in an up-sell, or “super size” dining out world. Many people feel they are getting a better “deal” when they are served larger portions. Most of us grew up hearing, “clean your plate” so, that is exactly what we do. We eat everything that is served to us. If you are trying to drop unwanted fat, this can lead to unwanted fat gain. If you are trying to add lean healthy muscle, you may be getting proper calories but not proper nutrition.
Pack a complete meal that will be filling, with the right mix of fiber (carbohydrates), protein, fruits, and vegetables. For example, pack a turkey sandwich on a whole grain bread with mustard, red leaf lettuce and sliced tomato on it, or a small salad (with light or no dressing), and a piece of fruit or low calorie yogurt.
Tip #3: Plan ahead.
Don’t forget to be prepared with a mid day and/or post work out snack. If you are trying to add lean muscle, chocolate milk has recently been researched as the best post workout snack, so throw a carton or two in your lunch bag. Throw an extra piece of fruit or yogurt in your bag, don’t forget a spoon!
Here are some more ideas for eating healthy on the go:
Tip #4: Make use of your leftovers.
Make last night’s dinner today’s lunch. Pack it up in containers and heat it up at work. Make a sandwich out of a fresh experience. For example, stuff leftover chili in a pita with some veggies and avocado slices for a new taste.
Tip #5: Do you have a freezer and microwave available at lunch?
You can find some very tasty meals in the frozen food section of your local grocery store. There’s a variety of meals to meet every caloric need and every budget.
Tip #6: Can it!
Soup is filling and generally low in calories. If you need to eat more calories for your lean muscle building, add some canned beans and throw in some whole grain bread.
Tip #7: Don’t forget the snacks.
Fruit, low calorie yogurt, peanut butter and crackers, cheese and crackers, can all be great snacks. If you are trying to lose weight, limit your snack to 100-calories to get you through the day. You can your own 100 calorie snack bags – maybe a few nuts and raisins. This will require a food scale for careful measuring, but you’ll save a lot of money over prepackaged 100-calorie snacks. If you are trying to gain lean muscle, make your own 300 calorie snack bag, or whatever your caloric need for a snack is.
Tip #8: Do some research.
OK, we realize that your schedule may take you out of the office or on the road for lunch. So, do a little research before heading out the door. If it is a meeting at a restaurant, recommend or choose a restaurant that has healthy options. Find out what the menu is and plan ahead to make a wise choice. Most restaurants have their menu online and many have the nutritional information of what they offer.
Save unwanted calories and money! In addition to keeping you healthy, packing your lunch will cost you almost half the money you would spend eating out every day.