For many years I used ‘convenience’ as an excuse to eat all of the drive-thru chicken fingers and microwave meals instead of opting for fresh, wholesome meals, and I paid for it in more ways than one.
I couldn’t figure out why I was gaining weight even though I was exercising regularly. I attributed my constant state of fatigue totally and completely to ‘first year teacher’ stress. I was irritable most of the time and felt lousy all of the time. Yet, I had convinced myself that there was no other option. I was an overwhelmed and stressed out first-year teacher who was t r y i n g to fit in a treadmill walk/run . . . there was no way I had time to meal plan, grocery shop, meal prep, blah blah blah. I was on-the-go [okay, laughing as I type this at what I considered ‘on-the-go’ to be] and I was t i r e d. Drive-thru and microwave were my only options.
It wasn’t until much further along in my wellness journey that I realized that there are in fact many other options . . . almost ALL of which are better for me than fried chicken fingers and microwave pasta. Disclaimer: Chick-Fil-A is still a frequent favorite.
I’ve put together a list of my top tips for healthy eating on-the-go, because we are all busy and it IS possible to make healthy choices that are both t a s t y & a f f o r d a b l e.
- A L W A Y S carry a water bottle.
- Pack snacks . . . trail mix, fruit, low sugar protein bar, jerky, etc. Click here for an entire post on healthy snacks!
- Protein smoothies are your friend! If I’m running out for an afternoon of errands, I absolutely take one of these with me. Click here for my go-to recipes.
- When traveling, pack a lunchbox with few staples [vegetables and hummus, string cheese, apples and peanut butter, berries] to prevent the gas station snacks bought on impulse and out of hanger.
- If you absolutely have to make a fast food/drive-thru stop, choose a grilled chicken sandwich without all of the condiments, a salad with a light dressing, or a wrap with a fruit cup. Do what you can to avoid the fried and/or full of sugar options.
- Restaurant Tip: Preview the menu online and make your selection ahead of time.
- Restaurant Tip #2: Make a reservation, if you can, and ask the waiter to skip the bread and butter basket.
- Keep a few items on hand in the freezer for dinners on days that just don’t go as planned . . . frozen vegetables, riced cauliflower, chicken breasts, lean ground turkey, etc.
- Once a month, make a crockpot chili/soup and freeze it for a busy evening.
- Look into an affordable meal prep service for work lunches. Here are a few of my favorites: Daily Harvest, Hello Fresh, Clean Eatz [limited locations], Icon Meals.
BONUS TIP: If you end up at a Mexican restaurant for Taco Tuesday and eat an entire basket of chips and all the guac, DON’T SWEAT IT. Life is meant to be e n j o y e d. Just know that tomorrow is a new day and you’ll get right back on track. After all, this is a lifestyle, and it’s what you do MOST of the time that makes the biggest difference.
Here’s to a happy and healthy almost-weekend!