Do you feel that you never have time to eat healthy when you’re constantly on the go? That your food choices are limited and you tend to have more cravings for unhealthy foods? You’re not alone, it is the reality of most busy professionals struggling with time pressure, deadlines, travel arrangements and other surprises of the hectic modern life.
The good news is that, with a little planning and work, you can eat healthy even if you’re constantly on the move.
Let’s explore the available options!
You can take them virtually everywhere, so keep them in your car, bag, on your desk, in your gym bag, when you are traveling.
Keep snacks under 200 calories and try to avoid those loaded with additional sugar. You can choose to make your own snacks or buy them pre-packed. Ideally, pick low glycemic index foods that release energy slowly – such as veggies and fruits, a low-fat yogurt, a handful of berries, vegetable proteins (nuts and seeds, a protein bar).
1.1 DIY healthy snacks
Sliced vegetables – mix celery, carrots, cucumber, peppers, zucchini, avocado, radish, tomatoes, broccoli. You can eat them as such or with a dip, such as hummus or yogurt.
Hard-boiled eggs make a great portable snack/breakfast option, they have good animal protein and are versatile – you can mix them with your vegetables of choice.
A sandwich – with tofu, salmon, avocado, sliced tomatoes, cucumber, lettuce and other veggies you may have in your house. You can add eggs, nuts and seeds as toppings.
A salad – mix your favorite greens, fruits (fresh or dried), nuts and seeds into a lunch box, add olive oil, salt and your favorite condiments.
Fresh fruits – bananas, apples are loaded with fiber and keep you full. To add more flavor, combine them with complimentary cheese (for example cheddar with apple or blue cheese with pear).
A jar of trail mix – buy them in bulk and make small portions. Mix almonds, pistachio, nuts, seeds, cashews, pecans with dried fruits (bananas, apricots, figs).
Whole wheat crackers, sticks or biscuits, rice bars/cookies – eat them alone or add more flavor with a plain yogurt, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, sliced avocado, tomatoes, fruits, banana slices.
Homemade protein and energy bars – such as granola bars. Granola is a baked snack made of rolled oats, nuts and a sweetner such as honey. It has high protein content and makes a filling snack.
Dark chocolate – with at least 75% cocoa content.
1.2 Pre-packed healthy snacks
KIND bars are made with only high quality ingredients, are delicious and healthy. These delicious bars consisting of nuts, fruits and spices, coated in roasted peanut butter and smoothered in dark chocolate are gluten free, have low glycemic index and are a good source of fiber.
Larabar is a popular protein bar made with minimal ingredients, consisting of a simple blend of 4 ingredients: dates, peanuts, chocolate chips and sea salt. It’s gluten-free, non-GMO, dairy-free, perfect for your active lifestyle. You can choose among a variety of flavors such as cashew cookie, peanut butter chocolate chip, strawberry spinach cashew, chocolate macaroon.
Nature’s Bakery whole wheat fig bar, made with whole wheat, real figs and blueberries, consists of 36 bars and makes a delicious portable snack.
Grandma’s oatmeal raisin cookies offer a delicious variety of homemade memories. Made without gluten, the bar delivers protein, fiber, and lots of energy from a cinnamon-spiced blend of seeds, raisins, oats and crisped brown rice. With 60 individually wrapped packs, there’s something for everyone to enjoy.
Purely Elizabeth – is a brand that combines superfoods like quinoa, chia, millet, hemp and coconut oil, herbs such as reishi, pitaya, spirulina and turmeric for deliciously functional benefits. Choose between the Grain-Free Superfood Bar, Grain-Free Granola and Probiotic Granola.
Fruitkies bars are made with minimal ingredients, are non-GMO and gluten-free and have only 193 calories. Choose between the exotic flavors combinations such as apple pineapple, apple cranberry, apple mango, coconut pineapple, coconut mango and coconut guava.
Mediterra savory bar with black olives and walnuts incorporates the grains, fruits and greens at the heart of the Mediterranean diet and is the on-the-go fuel that’s perfectly suited for the marathon of contemporary life.
Four Sigmatic organic mushroom hot cacao with Cordyceps is made with pure USDA certified organic Peruvian cacao, is energizing, supports athletic performance and has only 25 calories per serving. It does not taste like mushrooms and is caffeine-free. Both cacao and Cordyceps have antioxidant properties that support overall well-being.
You can also try the adaptogen coffee with tulsi and Ashwagandha, which helps you power up while keeping calm, balancing your body and helping it adapt to stress. The ingredients are organic and each box has a travel pack of 10 servings. Four Sigmatic coffee has organic adaptogens to support well-being with plenty of antioxidant properties.
Eating out is inevitable for a busy professional, however you can keep you healthy eating habits as almost all restaurants chains today have healthy dining options.
If you’re hungry when you arrive at the restaurant, you may end up eating too much. One way to prevent this is to eat a healthy snack before you get there. A low-calorie, high-protein snack like yogurt or a protein bar could make you feel full and prevent overeating.
If you want to avoid meat in restaurants and they don’t have many vegetarian options, consider ordering several side plates: mushrooms, potatoes, rice, grilled vegetables.
The way the food is cooked can have a significant impact on its quality and the calories. Choose baked, steamed, roasted and grilled instead of fried, crispy, crunchy or sauteed. Try to eat as healthy as possible, ordering foods as similar to those you would cook at home. In social gathering, allow yourself to indulge from time to time with foods you would not normally eat.
For checking restaurants options in a particular area, refer to 6. Using technology to find your best deals when eating out or traveling.
3. At the office
Bring your own pre-cooked food at work and store it in the fridge, or eat at the local cafeteria or nearby restaurants.
You can buy bulk ingredients once a week and spend a day or some evenings prepping your food. Then take your portioned meals to work. Usually you can keep most dishes fresh in the fridge for 3-4 days.
4. Exploring the dilemma “Eating out, ordering food vs cooking at home”
If you value more saving money over spending time, you may spend a little more time cooking, but you may save more money since you make your own food, which can also be healthier. Also, health costs (getting sick, insurance, pills) are extremely expensive nowadays, so you may save on that too.
How much can you save if you cook at home vs if you eat out or order food for work? You have 30 days in a month, 365 days in a year – how much can you save if you eat your own food 1 time/day? What about 2 times/day? Write down the figures – does it seem reasonable to spend or save that money?
Don’t get stuck with social pressure. Get satisfaction for saving those money with cooking!
However, you may value spending time and comfort over spending money. Especially if it feels challenging in the beginning, or you lack time, or you value time and comfort over spending additional money, search around for a company that would deliver your ingredients at home or eat out in restaurants. For checking restaurants, refer to 6. Using technology to find your best deals when eating out or traveling
5. When You Travel
Airports – while in the airports you have a wide range of food options, they are not the most healthy ones and they can sometimes be expensive. Some people pack foods for their flights – a sandwich, some protein bars or a pack of trail mix can be good choices. Check 1. Healthy Snacks ideas at the beginning of this post.
When you travel, you may do some research in advance for restaurants to make sure you get some of the best local dishes. Look the menus up in advance to check variety, prices, ratings.
You may check some restaurants offering International, Mediterranean, Thai, Chinese or Indian dishes where you can find healthy food options.
You can also pack some healthy portable snacks to take with you during your travels. Check 1. Healthy Snacks options at the beginning or this article.
Check the following 3 most popular apps for finding healthy restaurants:
HealthyOut is an app designed to help you find healthy meals in your area. You can filter foods by cuisine, ingredients and type of dish.
Veg Travel Guide is an app for vegetarians, vegans and anyone following veggie diets. It helps you find and share vegetarian locations.
Find Me Gluten Free – as the name suggests, this app helps you find gluten-free food around you.
We want you to get the maximum benefits from these healthy portable meals for active people! Great time saving solutions for busy professionals, while helping you eat as healthy and delicious as if cooking at home! With a bit of practice, you can adapt these solutions to fit your desired lifestyle.