We are busy! Some days, like it or not, there is no time to smell the roses and if it wasn’t for our love of coffee we likely would not even have time to nab a quick latte from our favorite coffee house on the way to dropping off the kids, picking up our wife’s prescription, and trying to make that 8 am meeting you squeezed in at the last minute! How in the world are we supposed to find time to prepare healthy meals through all of this? Let’s look at three strategies to make this happen!
Meal Spacing Digestion & Fasting
In response to stress our body has a “fight or flight” response. In a nutshell this means that when we are alarmed or “busy” our body engages what’s called the sympathetic nervous system. This is a natural response to stress. When the sympathetic nervous system is engaged; cortisol, testosterone, adrenaline, and other “excitement hormones” are released so we can focus on the task at hand and “get it done” the reality is that our body responds the same to positive stress, like finding out you just got promoted and negative stress like having to do 2 hours of work in 30 minutes. Stress affects our digestive system in many ways. It can cause a decrease in blood and oxygen flow to the stomach, cramping, and an imbalance in gut bacteria and inflammation. In the sort term, this lack of focus to the gut is not unhealthy, however it is a horrible time to eat, as the bodies digestive environment is shut down. This is why we are rarely hungry during exercise or busy times. Chronic stress can lead to poor nutrient absorption, being underweight, and other health issues.
Thus, in the short term, fasting can be a great way to handle a very busy morning or hectic day. This is not unhealthy and is perfectly natural for our body. Some very busy professionals adopt various fasting protocols to accommodate their lifestyles and love it as they save time and enjoy slightly larger meals to nourish their needs which they consumed later in the day when their sympathetic nervous system is not turned on. Fasting is not for everyone, but it can be a very useful tool. If you are not sure if it is a good idea or tool for you and would like to learn more than message us for a free 20-minute webinar on fasting where we take a deep dive into the science and practicality of the different methods.
Some of us love to eat on a consistent schedule which means that on busy days we need quick prepare deal that we can grab and go. Is there any hope with fast food restaurants? Nowadays fast food restaurants are getting more health conscience so let’s look at the best places and the 25-360 rule.
The 25-360 rule is to look for options that have 25+ grams of protein per meal and are less than 360 calories. The more greens and vegetables the better. This information should be easily obtained on the menu as most fast-food restaurants are required to post it. The protein will help control hunger throughout the day and keep blood sugar constant to prevent crashing.
Here is a list of the most protein rich and lower calorie options for fast food. In terms of getting your day started for breakfast.
Protein can easily be added to any of these by requesting double egg white or adding a small yogurt to the order.
For lunch the best options are going to be the create your own type places such as Qdoba, Chipotle, Poke Bowl restaurants, and supermarket salad bars. These restaurants allow you to easily customize your orders. A few rules of thumb when ordering here:
- Go for double protein (chicken, pulled pork)
- Hold the sauces, dressing and cheese or get them on the side
- Go for half rice
- Avoid full sugar beverages like teas, colas, and juices. Instead go for a diet cola, sugar free Minute Made or water.
As far as fast food restaurants that are not build your own or if you are going through a drive through then look for the Chick-fil-A or Subways. None around? No problem Follow these tips when ordering.
- Go grilled over fried
- Sub out fruit for fries
- Cut the nuts, cheese and dressing in half (or more) from salads
The final tip on eating out is to save even more time and use a popular delivery company like door Dash, Grub Hub, or Uber Eats. You can order from almost anywhere and have the food delivered right to your office or kids soccer game.
Lastly let’s dive into some meal prep strategies that make healthy eating a cinch when in a pickle. Taking a few hours on a Sunday to cook for the week s tried and true. It takes the same time to bake 1 chicken breast as it does 10 or boil 1 cup of rice as it does 8. A vacuum sealer is fantastic for preserving freshness and disposable Tupperware for meals can be purchased inexpensively from Amazon. Flash frozen vegetables are an easy and cheaper bulk purchase, or you can get fresh veggies, lightly steam them and pack or vacuum seal them up for the week. Delicious calorie-free or low-calorie sauces can be found at any supermarket to add additional flavor.
Not too handy in the kitchen or keen on bulk cooking or just need something grab and go or easily transportable in any condition (heat or cold)? Try these out for size.
No idea where the name came from but that’s just what we call them. Here you take oatmeal (easiest to do the entire canister) and powderize it on high in a blender. This will give the oatmeal a very powder like consistency. Throw it (around 30-40 grams) in with your favorite protein power in a sealed baggy and pour into water anywhere, anytime. For micronutrients go with baby food. Yes, these little jars of pureed veggies and fruits are great ways to get your veggies in on the go.
No better way to start a busy day than with TONS of nutrient density! 75 g spinach, 75 g kale 75 g strawberries, 75 g blackberries, 16 oz water, Splenda for taste and a scoop or 2 of your favorite protein powder and you are ready to go.
Need help or some coaching through your nutritional journey? Send us your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org We would love to help!