Article and audio introduction by Samantha Kennedy, Family and Consumer Sciences
Too Busy to Eat Healthy? Nonsense!
The key to eating healthy on the go is planning ahead. With proper planning, it is easy to incorporate healthy food choices into a hectic lifestyle. It may seem counterintuitive to suggest taking time out to plan when it seems there is not enough time for all the things that need to be done. But with a little practice, planning ahead will become a breeze.
Between work, family, and other obligations, it can be hard to make healthy food choices. Hitting the drive-thru on the way to another appointment is fast and convenient. But many of these quick and easy options are not healthy choices. Over time, these unhealthy choices can have negative effects on overall health and wellness.
Planning to eat fast food a couple times next week? Take some time to explore the menu for healthier options. Most fast food restaurants provide menu choices and nutritional information over-the-counter and online.
Many people are grazers, meaning they prefer to eat several small meals or snacks throughout the day instead of three large meals. In either case, being conscious of the types of food being consumed can help with making healthy choices. Whole fruits, trail mix, cheese, and nuts are all excellent snacks that provide a variety of nutrients that help maintain energy.
Plan Meals & Snacks Ahead of Time
Preparing meals and snacks over the weekend can cut down on the time spent on food preparation during the week. Make a larger portion of a weekend meal and divide it into single, portable servings for lunch later on. Bake a batch of whole grain blueberry muffins for a quick breakfast on the go.
Consider snacks that can fit easily into a purse, bag, desk, or car. Some examples include bottled water, fruit juice, fresh or dried fruit, granola bars, and dry whole-grain cereal. Portion them into snack-sized containers for a quick and healthy bite throughout the day.
Stocking the fridge and pantry with healthy staples can make preparing dinner a snap. Items such as low-sodium and reduced fat vegetables and soups, whole grain pasta and rice, whole wheat bread and tortillas, and pre-cut vegetables can cut back on time and make it easy to add a healthy flair to a quick week night dinner.
Controlling portion sizes is another way to eat healthier without any planning at all. Instead of super sizing a meal, get a child’s portion instead. Take a few minutes to eat more slowly and stop eating when the hunger pangs disappear. Avoid menu items that describe high-calorie foods, such as batter-fried, creamed, and buttered. Try items that are grilled, steamed, or roasted instead.
We all lead busy lives and it can be difficult to make healthy choices in the middle of the chaos. However, with a little planning and perseverance, eating healthy on the go can move from myth to reality.
For more information on this and other nutrition topics, please call Samantha Kennedy at the Wakulla County Extension Service at 850.926.3931.
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