Over the past month we’ve blogged about making a difference in turning around the childhood obesity epidemic. This month we’ll shake things up a bit and focus on how to be “healthier.” In upcoming blogs, I’ll also be providing tips on cancer prevention and also the complimentary (not alternative) treatments and the role of good eating and activity.
Is this you: “Gosh, I’m late for work – no time for breakfast, so I’ll grab a coffee and muffin at my favorite coffee place on my way;” or “My boss just emailed that we have to attend a late day meeting. It’ll go until 8-9pm. I’ll just grab a quick meal at the fast food place.”
Or how about, “My kids have practice and my spouse doesn’t get home till late. I’ll grab a meal for the kids at the fast food place.”
Life has a funny way of keeping us from a good meal. In the United States we lead a very unique lifestyle. We have a ton of things to do each day, and we spend very little time these days at home. Simply, we are a go-go-go, fast-paced society.
Still, there are ways to help make small changes with our eating habits, even if it means eating out all the time. Many of us know and have heard time again, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Well, quite frankly that’s right! Studies show that a good healthy meal in the morning has been proven to jump start our metabolism. Kids in all level from elementary through college perform better on tests, are more alert, and interact more in class with a healthy meal in their bellies compared to those students with an empty stomach in the morning. And adults perform better on the job.
Although I’m not advocating for fast food restaurants, there are healthy options and they are most definitely better than skipping. If you’re one of those people that are always on the go, try some of these healthy eating tips.
- Choose a side salad or fruit cup instead of french fries.
- Bring your own calorie-free beverage or choose water.
- Bring extra snacks such as fruit, pretzels, or yogurt with you on days you’re eating out, then order just a sandwich and stack it high with your favorite veggie.
- Visit the websites of fast food restaurants you frequent often. Plan out multiple low-calorie, low-fat options. This reduces temptation while still allowing choices.
- Order the kids meal! It’s a smaller portion and most often allows substitutions for sides (fruit, veggies, crackers) and beverages (milk, juice).
On-the-Go / At Work:
- Prepare a breakfast sandwich the night before when you’re preparing lunches for the next day.
- Keep non-perishable snacks in your car (granola bars, pretzels, dry cereal, dried fruit, crackers) so if your kids get hungry you won’t have to stop somewhere.
- Take one day a week (Sunday often works well) to prepare extra meals and freeze them. It’s easier to grab a Tupperware container and bottle of water out of the fridge/freezer in the morning than to pack a lunch.
- Keep a piece of fruit on your desk at work so it’s the first thing you see when you get hungry.
- Keep a cooler or insulated lunch box in your car or at your desk so you always have healthy options on hand. Yogurt, milk and low-fat cheese can stay good all day in a cooler with ice!
- When eating out, ask for dressing and spreads to be left off or get them on the side. This allows you to better control the amount of extra calories.
- Always keep a bottle of water with you to stay hydrated and curb hunger.
Remember, it’s OK to be a fast-paced person. The key to keeping your weight in control is planning ahead! Keep snacks on hand so you can eat every 4-5 hours and always stay hydrated.
What are your quick and easy fast meals and snacks? Feel free to share with our readers.