As entrepreneurs, we can only do our best work if our minds and bodies are at their best. We can be deeply concentrated on the task at hand or on the road. At the end of the day we realize we forgot to take care of ourselves. Registered Dietitian Angela Drew, tells us how to better prepare for the day and keep it healthy.
Written by Angela Drew, RD LDN CDE
Eating right is always a challenge for anyone (even me! And probably supermodels?), but it can be especially rough when you’re constantly on the go. Running to a meeting or a networking event, picking up your kids, or take a basket weaving class (I won’t judge). If this is your life, you might end up eating out a lot, ordering takeout from the first fast-food on your way or even skipping meals, GASP! However, having the tools necessary to make smart choices throughout the day should help you achieve your goal, whether it’s to lose a couple of extra pounds, maintain your weight or just to eat healthier.
If your goal is to lose weight, it’s hard to always know what to chow down on. Some people tell you one thing, the internet tells you another. Let me tell you, I know a lot of people who are WebRD’s (or Google dietitians, whichever you prefer). Let’s start with the fact that eating fewer calories is not just about choosing healthier foods. Organic food refers to the way agricultural products are grown and processed. An organic cookie is still a freaking cookie people!
Eating healthier is also about eating less food (fewer calories) and paying attention to portion size. Making healthier food choices that are lower in fats, especially saturated and trans fats, as well as cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugar, can help you cut back on calories. The following tips will help you move toward healthier eating:
TIP #1 Prepare some meals in advance.
Don’t fight me on this. Meal prep can help you during a busy week. Set aside a couple hours a day (Sunday Funday?) and begin by hard-boiling a couple of eggs. You could also cook up a large amount of brown rice and freeze it for later (use freezer bags to make it easy to portion out later). You can also cook several chicken breasts or fish and then pull one out for dinner and have over a hefty veggie-filled salad. Now doesn’t that sound good?
TIP #2 If you are eating out.
Most restaurants have healthy options to choose from and most will honor your requests. I swear, I’ve done it!
- For lower calorie and lower fat cooking methods, look for terms such as: Baked, Boiled (in wine or lemon juice), Broiled, Grilled, roasted, lightly sautéed, poached, steamed in its own juice.
- Ask for salad dressing on the side; skim milk rather than cream; whole or 2% milk; and leave gravy or creamy sauces/soups out of the dish.
- Use technology: review the menu online and choose the healthiest option before you go to the restaurant.
- Also consider that restaurant and fast food portions have increased considerably (Google it). To decrease portion sizes: doggy bag half your meal for lunch tomorrow, order a low-fat appetizer as your main meal, or just share an entree with somebody.
- Last but not least…drink water! It’s usually free (AND calorie free)!
TIP #3 Don’t skip meals…Period. Because I said so.
Feeling hangry and sluggish? Don’t go running straight to the coffee pot just yet. Going for long periods of time without eating causes your blood sugar level to drop. In turn, your metabolism will slow and your muscles and brain to go into “hangry” mode. Try having a meal/snack every 3 to 5 hours to keep your energy levels up so you can continue to power through the day. If you do want to have some coffee, consider going for skim or 1% milk and try sugar substitutes like Stevia (a non-calorie sweetener made from a plant). Avoid sugar loaded syrups and flavorings.
TIP #4 Keep munchies around.
Carry snacks with you and have them handy in your kitchen. Even better, choose protein-rich snacks as it aids in making you feel fuller longer. This hunger-busting nutrient powerhouse slows digestion and keeps blood sugar steady, and research shows protein helps keep cravings at bay. However, you’re probably not going to carry around a piece of steak with you in your car, consider these options when you are on the go:
- Non-fat Milk, Cottage cheese and Greek yogurt (also high in calcium!): You can add to smoothies in the morning or pair them with fruit. Also try a stick of low-fat cheese and pair with whole-grain crackers. Yum.
- Eggs: Remember those eggs you made on Sunday Funday? Just grab and go in the morning. Pair with a piece of fruit or whole grain toast.
- Nuts or Nut-butters such as peanut or almond: You don’t necessarily have to carry a jar with you but consider the pre-portioned packets (but check for its sugar content). You can also portion out nuts in small baggies. Even better: walnuts. They contain heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Try apple with nut butter or nuts with some raisins.
- Individual packets of oatmeal: Make sure you choose regular oatmeal and add your own flavors to avoid extra additives and sugar.
- Protein bars: Read the label carefully. Aim for a bar with 10-15 grams of protein with about 5 grams of fiber and <15 grams of sugar.
- Turkey roll-ups: Wrap some turkey with cheese, carrots or even thin slices of red pepper.
- Chickpeas: Try oven-roasting them until crispy and eating them as a snack (they are full of fiber and protein).
Remember, eating well and healthy is all about balance. Instead of going crazy about what to eat and what not to eat, keep an eye on how your plate looks at each meal. Your target should be for about half of your plate to be fruits and veggies, a quarter to be carbohydrates (go for whole grain), and another quarter to be lean protein. Limit your intake of fats and sweets. It’s easy! Go to www.choosemyplate.gov for more information.