We all have those days when we are running from meetings to appointments, errands, and kids’ activities, all while trying to maintain a healthy body and mind. Ideally, we would manage to cook a wholesome meal and get to savor each bite. But on those days where good enough will have to do, grabbing some food on the go might be one of your only options. While regular fast food consumption is not the best choice for your health, there are ways to increase the nutrition quality of such food:
At fast-food chains and restaurants
- Portion control—watch for the supersized orders and instead order a regular or kid’s meal version.
- Most fast food restaurants offer healthy sides instead of the fried and unhealthy ones. If you really cannot (will not) give the fries up, get the healthy side with it, and eat it first.
- Order a side salad for fiber and vitamins and eat it prior to the fast food meal.
- On the side please—this pertains to dressings, mayo, cheese, croutons, and bacon. You can add a little to your meal for flavor instead of your meal drowning in those extras.
- Hold the soda—if you are already eating a less-than-healthy meal, you do not need to add empty calories in the form of sugar. Water is the best substitute.
- Go for grilled, steamed, and baked over breaded, fried, and crispy.
- Opt for a chain with a salad bar and/or deli sandwiches, where your options are healthier.
- Consider going to a supermarket for a fast-food break. There are many healthy options such as precut and washed vegetables and fruit, cheese, yogurt, guacamole, and even sushi and salads.
Preparation is key
Take an hour out of your Sunday to do prep work for the week ahead—for example, hard –boil eggs, cut up vegetables and keep them fresh in ZipLocks, cook whole wheat pasta, grill some chicken or fish, make a vegetable soup. This way, you can always grab something quickly and even create a healthy meal for yourself or a family in less than 15 minutes.
Stock your car, office, purse/bag with bottled water and healthy snacks.
Grab some healthy food before your busy day begins—fruit, nuts, yogurt, eggs are all good choices to hold you over for those days when you are unsure when your next break will be.
A meal does not have to be traditional in order to be healthy and filling. As long as you are filling your plate with fiber, healthy protein, and healthy fats, you are good to go. Even on the go!