As summer approaches and our lifestyles get even more hectic, believe it or not, you can still eat healthy while on the go. As impossible as this may sound, there are ways you can sneak in healthy snacks and foods throughout the day that help improve your health. Fast food has become a staple of our society and our health status as a country has diminished as a result. Diabetes rates have skyrocketed and obesity is at an all-time high. The following are tips to help include healthy eating into a fast-paced day:
1. Planning ahead is always key:
• Think about where you’ll be and what you could make or bring.
• Shop healthy and smart with a list of the essentials.
• Prep healthy staple foods such as brown rice, lettuce, whole-grain pasta, cut vegetables and cut fruit.
• The more you are able to think ahead and anticipate your day, the better success you will have in providing yourself with healthy options wherever you go.
2. Incorporating some “portable” foods into your grocery list is always important, especially for snacking. Some portable food ideas include:
• Trail mix
• Fresh fruit
• Chopped vegetables
• Oatmeal – low sugar
• Greek yogurt – low sugar
These are some healthier alternatives to the many unhealthy snacks that readily make their way around society today.
3. Eat a balanced breakfast before you leave the house. Have you ever heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day”? That is because breakfast provides you sustaining energy that will power your day. Incorporating protein into your breakfast is a very crucial component. Some healthy choices include:
• Oatmeal – add nuts, dried fruit and spices to up the nutrient content
• Greek yogurt – low sugar
• Whole-grain bread – spread with nut or seed butters for long-lasting energy
• String cheese
4. If you are out on the town and takeout or fast food is a must, make wise decisions regarding your choice of food. Choose salads with lean protein and an oil-based dressing, avoiding creamy dressings. Look for broth-based soups rather than the thick, creamy choices. Choose nonfried foods and focus on incorporating beans and whole grains into meals whenever possible. Finally, choose water for your drink. Sodas, juices and other beverages are high in sugar content and only add extra calories to your meals.
Being prepared and making smart choices can be the difference in your eating throughout the day, even when time is scarce. Using this information, you will be able to make healthier eating decisions on the go. Even with fast food or takeout, there is always a “better” decision to be made. These decisions can lead to better long-term health and decrease your risk for chronic diseases.
Aaron Stonelake is the nutritionist for the Kern County public Health Services Department. For more on health resources and programs, go to www.kernpublichealth.com.