By Claire Bacon, ACN, CNC
PICTURE THIS… You scramble to get your kids off to school. Barely remember to grab your own breakfast/lunch as you head out to work. Spend all morning in meetings and forget to eat what you brought. Get a snack from the vending machine. Head home after a full day to prepare dinner without the slightest idea of what’s in the pantry. Scrounge up leftover veggies and whatever protein you have in the freezer, to serve as a smorgasbord of the week’s last remaining foods. Oops – whatever happened to eating healthy?
Is this YOUR STORY? Can you relate?
Planning your food can be hard, and actually fitting in good quality food can be even harder. Especially when we’re under a deadline or needing to travel!
The good news? We can help!
Here are 5 ways that food preparation can be easier and healthier for you (and your family)…
1. Think Ahead and Meal Prep
You might be intimidated, but don’t be afraid to start, because meal prep truly does work! Sit down for 10 minutes each week and decide on 4 dinners to fix (lunches can be leftovers!). Make a list of: proteins/produce/grains/freezer/other. Write down all the ingredients you will need under each category. You can even have a service like Instacart do the shopping and delivery for you!
2. Choose bulk meals
What would you like to make a big batch of? Bulk dishes include: crockpot meals, chili, roasted veggies, meatballs, lentils or quinoa, or soup. Think about foods that freeze well. These kinds of meals involve minimal work for maximum result (i.e. lots of food that can last several days). Use any leftover ingredients for another meal the next night.
3. Try one new recipe a week
When planning out your week, no need to have elaborate meals every night. One night a week, try a new recipe you’ve found in a cookbook or on social media. Make plenty so you can have leftovers for lunch! Most nights should be your tried and true recipes that don’t stress you out. And if you’re at a loss, one night can be easy, like “breakfast for dinner”. That will bring variety but no headache or stress!
4. Overdo the portions
Make more than you will need, so you and your family can eat the leftovers for lunch or a snack the next day. That’s one less meal you need to figure out!
And what’s the best way to dress up leftovers? Add them to a pot of bone broth, and you have a quick and easy delicious meal! Or just as good – heat them up and serve over a bed of lettuce! Either way, you’ll be glad that you’re not letting anything go to waste.
5. Use a meal-prep company
Even if you are not ordering meals for every dinner (or consistently every week), choose which nights are stressful (maybe you have baseball practice right after school and won’t have time for dinner prep). You may decide for those two days to have the meals pre-made for convenience (and your sanity!). Need a good company you can trust? We love Sunbasket! They have added ready-made meals and protein bars to their options. Good to check out!
What About Eating Healthy with Travel?
Well, you’re just going to have to shift your mindset for how you plan the trip. Let’s think about what you’ll need to recreate your healthy meals from home.
Planning Your Stay for Eating Healthy
Before you go, you should check for local specialty stores or farmer’s markets, or check the online availability of the local grocery store.
- Book an Extended Stay or an apartment on Airbnb with a kitchen, coffee pot, and a blender.
- Book a hotel room with a refrigerator and coffee pot.
- Stay in an area that has a nice grocery store nearby. Even better if they have a Hot Bar!
- Plan your client dinners at restaurants with healthy options.
- Draw a hard line that fast food is not an option.
- Order groceries online for home delivery the night you get back.
- Do not drink unfiltered tap water. Carry a water bottle that has an incorporated filter.
When Packing Your Own is Best for Eating Healthy
Maybe your trip is in an area without a lot of healthy options. In that case, you should plan ahead and check out what stores are convenient to where you’ll be staying. You’ll enjoy the trip a whole lot more if you bring your own food and eliminate the worry.
If you can take a small cooler with you:
- Organic lunch meat that lists only meat and salt on the label can work well.
- Cheese sticks (organic and pasture-raised) can also work, if you can tolerate a little dairy.
- Fermented pickles from the refrigerated section are another option for a snack on the go. Just make sure they don’t contain sugar or any other unwanted ingredients.
- Cut up vegetables and fruit can be a good snack or part of a meal on the go.
- Hard-boiled eggs can work if you don’t tend to get heartburn.
- Gluten-free meatballs or sausages that are cooked ahead of time and frozen are good.
- Non-dairy yogurt or Hummus or Guacamole in individual cups are convenient to take, too.
Or pack in your suitcase:
- Protein shake packets are easy to carry along and mix in a shaker bottle with water or nut milk.
- Greens powder packets add a lot of nutrition and don’t take up hardly any space.
- Meat Jerky that you dehydrate yourself with your own seasoning and spice is perfect. Or you can try Chomps, Nick’s Sticks, or Tanka bars.
- Raw Nuts and Seeds are a good snack for on the go. And of course nut butter pouches are the bomb!
- Protein bars like Standard Process Cocoa Crisp, Cocoa Cherry, or Berry flavors are based in almond butter; Bulletproof bars made from collagen are probably the best for a hypoallergenic diet.
- Dried fruit bars like That’s It or a small bag of dried mango slices can be a good dessert.
- Bring your vitamins! If you’re taking a targeted protocol, these will give you a lot of grace for when you’re not able to eat well.
Speaking of Vitamins…
Yes of course, we have a few favorite vitamins to keep us well while traveling:
- E-Z Mg guarantees we’ll get our dark leafy greens, even when we can’t cook! Swiss chard and buckwheat leaf contain 5 kinds of naturally occurring magnesium. Great for nervous system support and sleep!
- Gluterase because we’ll probably be eating more unwanted gluten.
- Carbo-G to help with digesting any other food senstivities. Available in office.
- Betafood as a great source of beets! Beets contain betaine, which prevents constipation, something you don’t want to happen when traveling!
- Ultra-VirX or Ortho-Mune for a better chance of staying well after flying.
Eating Healthy is Worth the Time
You know you’re going to get hungry; it’s just a matter of time. And you’ve already been working so hard to stay healthy! Don’t mess it up just because you’re busy!
With a little forward thinking and planning ahead, you’ll be meal prepping and packing like a pro in no time.
It will be well worth any trouble. Your future self will thank you!