We all know eating healthy on the go is one of the hardest things to do. Sometimes it requires a solid amount of prep (premade salads, snacks and stuff that will last and doesn’t need refrigeration); and sometimes you rush out the door and HAVE to stop somewhere to get something to eat. Sometimes all you require is a light snack and other times you are ravenous and could eat 3 Big Macs then and there.
So, what can we do? … We can’t always prep and we can’t always stuff our face with fast food. We need to find balance and have the right tools in place to know what to do when we are eating on the go.
We have been there and done that; to this day we spend hours working, writing, designing, blogging and then on top of it have full time jobs and babies. Eating when your life is crazy busy is built into the modern working girl AND the modern mom’s DNA. With that being said, we have some pretty solid tips for staying as healthy as you can when you are a busy bee.
This is one of the healthiest and easiest ways to fill your belly. Stock your freezer with frozen fruits and veggies; make sure you have some healthy fats on hand, add a tad of protein and a small amount of liquid and you basically have the perfect meal in a cup. It’ll usually fill you up and tie you over until your next meal.
But making a smoothie can sometimes feel daunting. You’ve added the wrong blend of ingredients one too many times and you end up with a brown soup of tartness and weird texture and flavor. You’ve given up. Well, there’s a kind of art to smoothies and once you’ve mastered it, you’ll be ready to take them on the go, or whip one up in 30 seconds when you are super busy. And hey, if you are a mom and can’t get the smoothie down, you have a nutrient dense snack for your baby or kid.
Here’s the low down on how to blend, you’ll need:
Basic Smoothie Building 101
Handful or Two of Fruit/Veg. Stock up on spinach, kale, frozen berries, banana, avocados, mango, pineapple, apples, pear etc. You can either buy, slice and freeze yourself, or there is no harm in buying pre-frozen.
1-2 Tablespoons of Healthy Fats and Protein. Avocado, nut butters, flax or hempseed oil, cacao nibs, cashews, hemp seeds, flax seeds etc.
¾ Cup Liquid. This can be dairy free milk (almond, hemp, cashew, coconut etc.), coconut water, regular water, full fat Greek yogurt.
Scoop of Boosters. A low protein smoothie might require a vegan protein powder like Vega or SunWarrior, other boosters could include chlorella, spirulina, matcha, hemp seeds, chia seeds, flax seeds etc. A booster is a nutrient dense little kick to add to your smoothie. It’s not necessary if your smoothie is already nutrient dense, but you smoothie can pack up more nutrients especially if you are having it as a meal.
This is seriously one of the healthiest and easiest things to eat and prep for. If planned properly you could have a literal grab-and-go salad. As nutritionists and as bloggers we definitely eat a lot of salads. It’s a go-to when you’ve spent the entire week cooking and prepping recipes, and when you just want something you don’t have to think about and can blindly throw together. There is a misconception that salads are boring, bland and no fun. But just like smoothies there is an art to building a salad. Here’s a little guide to help you prepare and get your fridge in order to have an easy on-the-go salad whenever you please.
Basic Salad Building 101
Prep ingredients for the week. There’s nothing worse than wanting a quick on-the-go meal that you should spend an hour chopping, shredding and putting ingredients together for. So much for on-the-go. Pick a day of the week that is mellow for you and set aside 15 minutes to wash and chop your veggies. You will thank yourself for it later when it comes to throwing stuff together.
Also, think about the salad flavours that you like best. Do you like summer fresh sweet salads with berries and sweet vinaigrettes? Or something more savory with spices and herbs? What about a combination of the two, tangy and sweet? Something that can really ruin a salad is a flavor combination that doesn’t work together.
Base. This usually consists of some sort of leafy green vegetables; iceberg is our least favourite, as it’s not very nutrient dense and quite bland even when dressed. If you’re looking for more of a crunch get a green leafy vegetable AND romaine and combine the two. The best greens to get are: organic spring mix, organic spinach, organic kale and organic arugula. They all have different tastes and textures so experiment. Make sure you destem and massage kale to remove some of the bitterness and make it softer to chew.
Veggies. What are your favourite veggies? Pick them, prep them and toss them into the salad of your dreams. Peppers, cucumber, roasted root veggies, corn, shredded carrot, cabbage, and even some fruits apples, strawberries and berries are a great addition. Add as many or as little as you like, but just make sure you are adding flavours that complement each other.
Protein. Chicken, fish, hardboiled eggs, grass-fed organic steak, tempeh, sprouted tofu, nuts, seeds, falafel, beans, pulses…. the list goes on. So again, know what you like, pair it with the rest of your ingredients and voila!
Fats. Avocado is one of the most amazing healthy fats you can add to your salad. Other fats that work great are nuts and seeds and/or cheese. We recommend having goat cheese handy, as goat milk is easier to digest and therefor makes for a healthier salad.
Texture. Don’t forget to add some crunch! Preparing a huge batch of salad toppers with hemps seeds, pumpkin seeds, toasted chickpeas etc. or make a huge batch of homemade croutons. Topping the salad with sprouts adds a nice little texture, a different flavor and a huge health boost.
Dressing Ratio. A traditional vinaigrette is 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but preferences can vary. If you prefer more of a sour or tangy flavor a 1:2 ratio can work. Use balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, lime juice or apple cider vinegar with olive oil, flax, hemp or avocado oil.
After you choose a vinegar and oil then throw in some additionals: honey and mustard, Italian seasonings, Bragg’s aminos, tamari, pureed cashews or tahini, garlic. Online is an amazing resource for salad dressing recipes. If you aren’t feeling confident in your salad dressing making skills, get store bought. Just make sure you double check the ingredients to avoid preservatives, extra sugar and sodium.
3. Healthy Snacks
The trick to never feel famished and reach out for processed foods from the office vending machine, gas station or store is to prep and keep healthy snacks handy. You can keep snacks in your desk drawer, carry them in your bag and just have them nearby when you need a boost.
6 Snacks to keep you going:
- Trail mix: Making your own is quite easy, just combine some raw nuts (almonds, cashews, walnuts, pecans, Brazil nuts), seeds (pumpkin, sunflower), dried fruit (cranberries, raisins, goji berries – make sure they are unsweetened and unsulphured) and you can even add some coconut shreds or 70%+ chocolate chips. Nuts and seeds provide you with healthy fats and protein and combined with the sweetness of the dried fruit, will give you just the boost you need.
- Energy bars: You can make your own or buy from the store. Just make sure that the bar is around 5 ingredients that you can recognize (think nuts, seeds, fruits, dates), and that sugar is not amongst the first ingredients. Bars can be perfect during a busy day, in the car between meetings or on the go. Check out our top 10 here.
- Fresh fruit & nuts: Banana with some raw honey and peanut butter, apple slices with almond butter or pineapple sprinkled with hemp seeds and cinnamon. Hydrating and packed with vitamins and minerals, fruits are always an amazing quick snack option.
- Dark chocolate: Rich in antioxidants and valuable minerals, dark chocolate (70%+) is one thing we always have in stock and is a perfect quick snack.
- Avocado toast: If you’re craving something more on the saltier side, then the next 2 options are for you. Avocados are one of the staples in our kitchen. A quick avocado toast takes 5 minutes. Roughly mash an avocado with some salt, pepper, olive oil, a squeeze of lime and spread it on a toast. Simple, quick and easy.
- Boiled egg: One of the best absorbed proteins by the body, eggs are amazingly versatile. You can use them for fancy dishes or just as a simple snack. One or two boiled eggs are an ideal filling snack or light meal on their own or with some avocado slices and a simple green salad. They will keep you full so you don’t reach out for crappy snack alternatives.
It’s always the small habits that add up. While it may seem hard at first, you’ll see that in no time this will become part of your lifestyle. Start with one tip at a time and just add on to it. And, don’t forget to check out Part 2 of Eating Healthy When You’re Life is Hectic where we give you our best tips for eating out.
We’d love to hear from you, too: What do you like to eat when you are super busy?