Summer vacation is long over. The children are back at school and the grown-ups are back to rush hour traffic and busy work days. The lazy days of summer are gone for another year. Deadlines, appointments, time schedules, and extracurricular activities keep people on the run. How then with all of the rush-rush do people keep up with healthy nutrition? Here are some ideas for people and children on the go:
#1 – Don’t forget breakfast! After getting a good night’s sleep, it is important to “break your fast” – which term has been condensed to the word breakfast. Even though the word ‘fast’ is in the word breakfast, it doesn’t mean to swallow food whole in under a few minutes. Eat too fast and there is a possibility of getting heartburn. And, believe it or not, by eating too quickly the odds of gaining weight are increased. Skipping breakfast is a bad idea. The energy needed to begin the day comes from breakfast. There is an old saying, “Eat like a king for breakfast, a prince for lunch, and a pauper for dinner.” Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Try out these ideas:
Prepare in advance. – Make a pot of oatmeal and heat up smaller portions throughout the week. Like hard-bolied eggs? Make them ahead and enjoy a couple in the morning. Crack the shell, toss on a little pepper, and enjoy as you fly out the door. Cut up enough fruit to last a few days and serve up some of that. Pour juice and cereal while toasting bread. Try getting up 5 minutes earlier than usual so that breakfast can be eaten sitting down.
Breakfast on the go. While sitting down to eat is the most beneficial, there are some mornings when there won’t be enough time to sit down and eat. For those days, try these quick ideas:
– Pop a slice of bread in the toaster while getting ready. Top it with peanut butter, avocado, or cottage cheese and enjoy it while doing other activities. (Don’t eat when driving. It is unsafe for the eating driver and others on the road. Chances are that to save one’s clothes from spills, a driver will focus on that instead of the road and accidents can happen. Who wants to show up for an important presentation with a large stain on the front of the shirt?)
– Instant oatmeal or other hot cereals take 2 minutes to cook in the microwave. Add some milk, fruit, and almond slices for a complete and satisfying meal.
– Make a yogurt parfait – mix berries, flaxseed, or a favorite whole grain cereal into low fat yogurt and voila! A yummy healthy start to the day.
On the worst of days when you don’t even have two minutes, pack a banana or apple and eat it on the walk across the parking lot and into the office.
#2 – Smart snacking. When hunger strikes it is easy to run to the vending machine and grab the junk food there for something to eat. Chugging down a soda, a candy bar, or greasy chips may make you alert for a short while, but then bam! The let down may make a person feel worse. With a little planning, you can give your body the real energy it needs and give your body long-term health benefits. It is true that good nutrition increases productivity, improves your focus, and offers long-term health benefits.
Plan ahead. Allow for a meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours to keep your energy levels steady. Project what the day may look like and pack what you need.
Skip the junk food. Junk food can actually drain your energy, in addition to increasing body weight and possibly fats and cholesterol in the blood stream. Think of the money that will be saved also. (Put the money that would have been spent on junk food in a jar and in no time there will be a nice cash fund. Reward yourself with a movie or a new book, etc.)
Power snacks. String cheese with an apple and a bit of peanut butter (Yes! Peanut butter on an apple is yummy.) make a great snack and give good quality nutrients and the fuel needed to power the day. Put complex carbs (veggies, whole grain bagels, to name a couple things) with a protein like eggs or lean meat or dairy and the energy needed for the day’s activities will be there.
Keeping things simple relieves some stress, promotes health and wellbeing, and can save money. To your health!