Meeting the Challenge of Time
A busy schedule imposes time limitations on us all and can make it more difficult to practice nutritious eating. If this is a concern for you, there are tips and tricks on how to eat nutritionally with a full schedule below.
Beware of Forming Unhealthy Habits
When it comes to streamlining a busy schedule, often the first thing to do is cut out those “extra” items in your routine. Removing the allotted time to prepare and eat meals can form bad habits that work against your waistline and natural metabolic rate. Eventually, you will get hungry and because food is a physical necessity, you will need to eat. Skipping meals during the day means decreased energy levels and a higher risk of temptation to eat whatever is convenient. However, when it comes to eating on the go, fast food and other convenient choices don’t always provide good nutrition. In addition, skipping meals also slows the metabolic rate, making it more difficult to lose weight. This is not to mention one-meal-a-day plans that will inevitably backfire because consuming all your calories at one meal overwhelms the body’s need for fuel, forcing some of the excess to be stored as body fat.
Keep the Convenience, Lose the Weight
However, losing weight doesn’t require an entire or immediate lifestyle shift. By knowing and keeping in mind your body’s nutritional needs, you can power through your day at the same rate with a healthier diet.
- Be sure that you don’t go longer than 5 hours without eating. If you do, blood glucose levels will dip, leaving you feeling weak, fatigued and mentally sluggish. In this state, you’re less steady physically and your ability to make decisions is reduced.
- Drink a glass of milk or juice as a kind of “mini-meal” that will give you important nutrients and energy.
- Try grazing, also known as eating small, nutritious snacks, to get you through a busy day.
- Take it with you. Keep a ready-to-go snack/mini-meal parked beside the coffee pot. Or try keeping a week’s worth of easy breakfast meals stocked in the car, your briefcase, or your desk at work.
- If you are forced to make quick choices of fast food or other restaurant edibles, realize that the many choices range from fat-free to fat-intense. Order wisely as some items can contribute a full day’s intake of fat.
Salads or vegetable pieces provide ample nutrition with half of the caloric intake.
Choose grilled, broiled or baked chicken entrees.
Limit your intake of dressings and sauces as many are high in fat content.
For desserts try requesting fresh fruit instead of a sugary alternative.
Shortcuts to Speed Meal Preparation
It can be helpful to note certain shortcuts in meal preparation. Try cooking an extra chicken breast of other chicken parts in a crockpot with broth or water. Make soup with the broth and some of the chicken. Use the extra cooked chicken in a casserole, diced for sandwich filling, shredded in a tortilla, or in a pasts salad. Partially prepared foods such as the pre-cleaned vegetables that you’ll find in the supermarket’s produce section and the diced onions and green peppers in the freezer section can be a huge timesaver. Cook double portions and freeze or refrigerate the leftovers. Cold meals and leftovers can be wonderful quick-and-easy meals. However, the most important aspect is to be prepared mentally. Use your “waiting time” to work on your meal plan. Take advantage of the time you might otherwise waste while sitting in traffic, waiting for an appointment, or waiting for the bus.
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