Let’s face it, we’re all busy! Whether you’re a young professional trying to score your first big job, a seasoned business executive attempting to meet all your deadlines, or a parent trying to plan summer activities for your kids, more than ever, we find ourselves racing around with not enough hours in the day. Within that busy schedule, sometimes being active and eating healthy can take a back seat, but I’ve learned that these things don’t have to take a huge chunk out of the day the way we think they will. More than anything, it’s about changing habits and planning ahead.
Skip The Drive-Thru
Going through the drive-thru for lunch or a quick snack has become routine for us! In reality, it often doesn’t take much longer to park and walk into a place to grab a bite than it does to get through the drive-thru. Further, I find that I make healthier choices when I have a bit longer to survey the options and perhaps even glimpse at the food itself. If you have to pick something up from a fast food restaurant, many of them now offer “better for you” meal options, so give those a try.
The Grocery Store Is For More Than Just Your Weekly Shopping
I find myself at grocery stores for my lunches and quick snacks more and more often lately. They have soup and salad bars, fresh sandwiches and deli items, and sometimes even sushi. Make your own salad or grab a broth-based soup to fill you up. Same goes for snacks – grab a couple different fruits from the produce section or look for an already-prepared fruit salad. The grocery store provides a much larger selection of healthy options and with multiple check-out lanes, you’ll be on your way in no time at all.
Just Because It’s Not On The Menu…
When I’m traveling for an appearance or restaurant opening, it’s hard to avoid eating out. After surveying the menu, I always choose an option with vegetables and a lean protein. I find that the option I’m searching for may or may not always be listed on the menu, but based on the foods they have available, I’ll ask that they make me a simple healthy version of one of their plates. Most restaurants are familiar with accommodating requests for a healthier option – if they have all the ingredients available, it’s fairly easy for them to throw a simple, healthy meal together. It’s all about choices and what’s best for you – just ask!
Keep It Interesting
People often tell me that they stray from healthy eating because they’re tired of the boring and bland food options. On the contrary, fresh and healthy foods should be flavorful and rich. First, make sure you’re using a variety of foods in your cooking. Produce provides endless options for side dishes and can be integrated into the main dish itself. A summer tomato with red onion, balsamic vinegar, extra virgin olive oil, basil and goat cheese is a meal! Try visiting your local Farmer’s Market to learn more about what’s in season and how to eat it. (You can also find tips in my June article and webisode with U.S. Tennis – Pro Mardy Fish.)
If you find yourself tiring of a certain food, simply change the way you’re preparing it. Every other visit to the grocery store, pick up a different vinegar, dried spice, mustard or seasoning. This will keep things new and interesting! I suggest that you stay away from pre-blended spices because they’re filled with additional sodium to extend the shelf life. If you have a favorite spice blend, take a look at the ingredients and try making it on your own! Citrus is also a great addition – a fresh zest or squeeze of lemon or lime juice on chicken or fish goes a long way for flavor without the unneeded calories. And now that summer is here, don’t forget grilling! Not only is it a healthier cooking option, but it leaves foods with that smoky, barbeque taste. Yum.
These are just a few ways that I stay healthy when I’m busy. As I mentioned, I find that it’s about making good choices, changing bad habits and planning ahead – which doesn’t actually take longer to do. I challenge you to try choosing the healthier options for just one week and see if it really takes you as much additional time as you think. Ready? Go!
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