So, I’m pretty sure that we have officially entered the busy season.
And here’s the thing: I know that many of you have been working hard…trying to develop new lifestyle habits in the areas of both diet and exercise…you’re changing mindsets, and living each day to become the healthiest, happiest version of you possible. I’m so proud of you!
But then this crazy-busy season hits: Suddenly you find yourself running from this sporting event to that meeting…From your kids musical to the next holiday party.
And what do you do!?
Freak out? Let all of your hard work go? Give in/Give up? Decide to start again in the new year?
NO NO NO…and NO!
This is where you pull up your big girl (or boy) panties, and face it all head-on. Be intentional. With a little planning, and some realistic goals and strategies, you’ll be fine! And guess what? You can even enjoy life at the same time!
The list I share today is not specifically for the holidays, but it will certainly help there too. This list is very practical, and applies to any busy time of the year.
(Is there such thing as a not-busy time of the year?)
Here are tips and tricks that have helped me, and many other people stay consistent in their healthy eating when the going gets…busy.
1. PLAN A DAY AHEAD!
If you know you’ll be on-the-go and not in your regular environment for a day, plan ahead. Pack some veggies, nuts, and things that you can munch on when you are hungry. If you know exactly where you’ll be, you might scope out some healthy restaurants or grocery stores where you can grab food that you feel good about.
BOTTOM LINE: Don’t be caught off guard and end up making bad choices.
2. ENERGY/NUTRITION BARS.
Nutrition bars are one of my personal favorite things, and help me stay on track every day. Sometimes it is breakfast, sometimes a snack. They are tasty, filling, and have about the perfect amount of calories for one small meal. They are also really easy to take with you wherever you go. I eat them driving Levi to preschool. Or while I correct homeschool papers. What I love about good nutrition bars is that they remove all of the guesswork of portions and balancing food groups. For example, I know that one of my 200 calorie bars has a blend of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, which will keep me satisfied for two or three hours.
My personal favorite bars?
Another great option which can simplify your food choices, satisfy a craving, and give you a lot of good nutrition is a protein shake or smoothie. They take a minute to prep, but it’s so worth it. I love smoothies in the same way that I love bars: They take the guesswork out of my food. I happen to know that the vanilla or chocolate smoothie I have every day has 200-300 calories, is filled with the very best protein, carbs, and fruit and veggie powders (that you cannot taste.) I mix it with almond milk, and a frozen banana, and sometimes toss in other fruit or kale. It tastes like a creamy shake. My family is hooked on these. (I use *Juice Plus Complete, which I believe is the best shake mix on the market, both nutritionally and in taste–but there are other protein powders you can buy at a health food store etc.)
WARNING: Not all smoothies/shakes are created equal.
First–Nutritionally: Just because it is called a “smoothie,” don’t assume it is healthy. Check the ingredients. Make sure you like what you see.
Second–Calories: If you’re not careful, you can easily consume a day’s worth of calories in one “healthy smoothie.” That is so depressing, you can’t let it happen. 🙂 Finding the perfect smoothie for you might take some experimenting, but don’t be afraid to try. At first you might measure things out so you know what you’re getting, but once you figure out what you like, you’ll probably want one every day.
4. PLAN REALISTICALLY.
If I’m out running errands, and I am so lucky as to be near a Starbucks, I will almost always plan that into my day. It may not be health food, but I love to treat myself with a PSL or a creme brûlée latte. But–thanks to that
obnoxious helpful new thing where all-of-the-calories are printed on all-of-the-foods, I am very aware that my Pumpkin Spice latte has about the same number of calories as a light lunch. So, I do two things:
First, I order my drink with either soy or non-fat milk, as well as half of the usual syrup (it’s plenty sweet even then!)
Second, my drink will be my lunch, (or at least a significant snack) that day. (If I’m really hungry I may get a sandwich and eat half, saving the other half for a snack later.) But for my caloric needs, a 300 calorie latte with soy milk for protein is a decent small lunch. And I enjoy it because it is a treat. The point is, I am not adding a sweet treat TO the rest of my foods, I am substituting it for something else.
Other days of course, I am craving FOOD, and then I listen to my body, and I buy a salad or a sandwich, and I am quite happy with a cup of coffee with a splash of cream.
BOTTOM LINE: When you are trying to maintain healthy eating habits, you don’t necessarily have to miss out on your favorite things, but you do need to find a new way to fit them into your healthy and lean lifestyle.
If you are living my sometimes-fantasy-life of having a real job with real adults who wear something other than yoga pants and tank tops, then odds are you find yourself in restaurant-type settings for lunches or dinners occasionally. First of all: Congratulations. You’re like something our of the movies to me…
But next, I want to encourage you to handle your restaurant eating like a fit and lean pro. No sweat. Look at that menu like the girl (or guy) you are becoming…Make wise choices on what to order. Ask for a takeout box as soon as your food comes, and dish half of your plate into it. Drink a big glass of water before your food arrives. You know all of this stuff, it’s just a matter of doing it. If there is truly nothing on that menu that you’d feel good about later, order a side salad and promise yourself a good snack somewhere else when you’re done. Be strong people!
6. IN THE CAR.
As I was preparing this post, I asked those of you on Facebook to suggest things that you do to eat healthy on-the-go. Here are a few things I heard: Pack carrots, nuts, cheese sticks. Always have a lot of water (remember, sometimes you think you’re hungry but you really just need water!) Keep nutrition bars handy.
I love all of these ideas! The point is to be prepared for the hunger to strike, and you might avoid a lot of really bad food choices…(Hello Golden Arches.) Keeping healthy snacks in the car (in a sealed container, thank you very much Hawaiian-cockroaches that want to make my car their home!) is a key to my staying satisfied, (and staying awake) in the car!
Your turn! Feel free to add any of your own tips or tools for eating healthy and mindfully when you are on-the-go!
See you soon,
PS *Juice Plus. I have been taking Juice Plus for over fifteen years, and am a Sales Coordinator with the company. I used to be quite active, working with Doctors who offer Juice Plus to their patients, and etc. I have pulled back a bit due to this busy season of my life. Though I do not mention it very often here, I am a huge believer in all of the Juice Plus products, and my husband, who does not believe in most “vitamins” is completely committed to the fruit and vegetable supplements made by Juice Plus. We think this company has figured out how to help bridge the nutritional gaps we all face. They are legit. Please feel free to browse my Juice Plus site and get in touch with me if you have any questions!