Tips on Quick Healthy Meals and Snacks on the Go
About the Author
Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author of One Size Does NOT Fit All Diet Plan, one of Amazon's Top Gluten-Free and Weight Loss Diets. (You may read more about Abby at the bottom of this article.)
We are past the days of farming where our mothers and grandmothers were in the kitchen all day shucking corn, peeling potatoes, and roasting chicken all day long. Though some of you may remember the good ole' days of grandma rolling dough and making your favorite cookies or pies, those days are long gone for others. We now live in an industrialized society. Most parents are working - not just "Dad." Many opportunities for kids are taking place, unlike twenty years ago. We are running from work to soccer practice to dance recitals to swim meets to baseball games... and so much more! If life hasn't gotten a hold of you, you are one of the lucky ones!
With the hustle and bustle of life, you may find that trying to live a healthy lifestyle is difficult. Fast food is convenient. Dining out provides relief as you don't have to be in the kitchen "working" after a long hard day. Besides, it's sometimes even more economical to eat out. Everyone loves the dollar menu!
Then the dreaded health topic comes up. You just had your annual physical, and the scale wasn't playing nice. Nor was your physician! In fact, your doctor may tell you that your lab results are not good and the only way you'll be able to change it for the positive is to live a healthy lifestyle. But, how can you do that when you're running from morning to bedtime?
Though you may not be a gourmet chef, healthy eating habits don't have to be difficult. In fact, you just need to know what to eat. Dining out can be dangerous to your waist and health, but knowing what foods to choose when eating out will help you. Additionally, you may find that a little preparation can help you as well. Follow along for some tips on quick healthy meals and snacks on the go.
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- How to Stick to Your Diet
Sticking to a diet or anything in life is tough! Meal planning is very important in sticking to a diet, but you also must know what holds you back. Know your behaviors and goals to help you plan.
- How to Eat a Good Diet
Eating a good diet will boost your metabolism and even help you overcome a weight loss plateau if needed. Learn how to plan a good diet, whether it be for maintenance or weight loss.
5 Healthy Eating Habits
First thing, you need to know what "healthy eating" is. With aggressive advertisement, many mixed messages are are thrown your way just to get your business. You must be careful! Following is a short list of healthy eating habits that are followed by most renowned nutrition experts in the world:
- Eat smaller meals every 2 to 4 hours.
- Make sure you're eating protein with every meal. Women should be getting one serving (20 to 30 grams), and men should be getting two servings (40 to 60 grams). One serving is approximately the size of your palm.
- Veggie up! To feed your body the proper energy, you will need the nutrients from vegetables. Try to get five to 10 servings in per day. One serving is approximately 1/2 cup cooked or one cup raw. If you measure this out, it's not much!
- Hold your starchy carbs! If you have body fat to lose, then you need to put down the pastas, breads, rice, and potatoes. However, if you've just had a strenuous workout, you may have a mix of carb sources that include starches, veggies, and fruit.
- Spread your essential fats throughout your day. Include fish oil, olive oil, coconut oil, flaxseed or flaxseed oil, chia seeds, walnuts, and avocados in your diet.
Restaurant Nutrition Facts
We believe in providing a balanced menu with choices. Whether you choose to eat a lighter option with our salads, a Chargrilled Chicken sandwich, find many products to choose from based on your individual taste preferences and dietary requirements.
- Kentucky Fried Chicken
Fresh is part of everything we do, and not because it’s the trendy new thing to talk about in restaurants. The Colonel staked his reputation on fresh when he started all this more than 70 years ago.
- Ruby Tuesday
Eating with us is all about having a choice, with a menu that offers a wide variety of delicious decisions, including many of Ruby Tuesday’s Smart Eating dishes that are lower in calories, fat, or carbohydrates.
- TGI Fridays
Participating Friday’s® will, upon request, provide Guests with a supplemental Gluten Sensitivity Selection menu and an Allergen menu with easy-to-read icons to identify foods.
Wendy's® is the real choice in fast food. We deliver quality fresh food with real ingredients that provide the best tasting fast food at wendys.com.
Healthy Eating Out
As discussed earlier, eating out is a great convenience and relief as it saves you from cooking. Whether occupation, travel, or kids' sports have made dining out your preference, making healthy food choices will help you live a healthier lifestyle. Let's discuss custom meal and compliant restaurant choices.
Choosing Custom Meals
Most restaurants design their menus based on typical customer expectations. They provide carbohydrate-heavy, sauce-laden, and no-vegetable entrees. Don't be trapped with these mouth-watering dishes! Instead, choose meals that are compliant with the five healthy eating habits discussed earlier. Many restaurants will even go out of their way to serve you, but you have to be bold and just ask. Improve your meals:
- Ask for extra protein.
- Ask to exchange starchy carbohydrates with vegetables.
- Ask to bring the salad dressing out separately.
- Ask to hold the salt.
- Ask to hold the bread.
Choose Compliant Restaurants
If you eat out regularly in a particular town or city, choose four restaurants that you know are compliant to your healthy eating habits. Pick two fast food joints, one medium priced restaurant, and one fine dining restaurant. For instance, Wendy's makes a couple of tasty grilled chicken salads and a chili that you can eat while on the go. Kentucky Fried Chicken even offers a food allergies and sensitivities guide. TGI Fridays can be your medium priced restaurant. Their menus are even marked with a supplemental gluten sensitivity selection menu and an allergen menu with easy-to-read icons to identify foods that contain wheat, soy, peanuts, shellfish, and other allergens. They will go out of their way to satisfy you. A higher priced restaurant may be chosen for those special events or dates.
Quick Salad Recipes by Abby
Blend all ingredients and allow to chill before serving.
- 1 head fresh broccoli, chopped into bite-size
- 1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
- 1/2 cup EVOO mayonnaise
- 1/4 cup Stevia in the Raw or granulated Splenda
Cucumber, Tomato & Onion Salad
Mix all ingredients. Chill before serving, or let stand for at least 10 minutes.
- 2-3 large cucumbers, peeled & thinly sliced
- 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
- 1/2 medium sweet onion, sliced
- 2 Tbs. fresh chopped -or- 1 Tbs. dried parsley
- 1 Tbs. apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tbs. EVOO
- sea salt and black pepper to taste
More Recipes by Abby!
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Do you need quick breakfast ideas that are super yummy? If you've enjoyed cold pizza for breakfast but want healthy breakfast foods or options, then try this Supreme Egg Breakfast Pizza Recipe.
- Hot Cereal for Low-Cal Diets
Craving cereal for breakfast but trying to stick to a low calorie breakfast? Know what the healthiest cereals are that will give your tummy the warmth it needs. Enjoy 6 low cal breakfast cereals.
- Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts Recipe
Looking for a delicious Brussels sprouts recipe? This Garlic Roasted Brussels Sprouts recipe will have your mouth watering and begging for more! It's also a delicious fat burning food!
Where do you spend most of your time eating?
Have you ever woke up late and rushed off to work without showering, much less eating breakfast? What about skipping lunch because you were just too busy with work? Or, you may have even skipped dinner because you were running late for your son's baseball game. Nonetheless, all of these scenarios present a unique nutritional challenge. However, the way you respond to these challenges will determine your results. If you truly want to transform your life into a healthy one, you will need to plan for the unplanned. This will require having meals and snacks prepared in advance. The following strategies may give you some ideas on how you can be better prepared for the "just in cases."
The "Sunday" Ritual
Though it doesn't have to be Sunday, set aside three hours of one day per week for food preparation. This should be enough time to write out your menu, shop, and prepare your meals for the week.
The Breakfast Ritual
Instead of planning out all your meals for the week as suggested for the "Sunday" ritual, you may prefer to do a little food preparation each day. That's what the breakfast ritual is for. Since you'll be preparing breakfast anyway, also prepare the rest of your meals for the day while your breakfast is cooking. Pack your lunch and dinner. Even if you plan to go to TGI Fridays with the boss for lunch and expect to be home for dinner, having your lunch and dinner packed in a cooler helps you be prepared for the "unexpected." If your schedule goes as planned, it's okay. You still have meals for another time. However, they are there in case you need them.
Another great way for you to save time in the kitchen is to pre-cook all your meats for the week. Grilling is the perfect cooking technique for this as you can prepare a batch of several meats (i.e., steaks, burgers, chicken breasts, turkey sausage) and cook them all at the same time. Then just refrigerate until needed. Once you do need them, re-heating them in a skillet or microwave is a snap.
Pre-Chopping Vegetables and Fruits
Though it's always better to eat your vegetables soon after chopping them, it's not always convenient for the busy lifestyle. Instead of skipping your veggies, chop up your weekly vegetables twice per week. You can chop half of your veggies after doing your weekly shopping. Then chop the rest halfway through the week. Store each vegetable separately in zip-lock freezer bags. This will cut down on your food preparation time significantly. All of it will be ready for you whether you want a salad, vegetable omelet, or stir-fry. You may do the same with fruits as well. The ones that do well are strawberries, pineapples, oranges, nectarines, mangos, and peaches.
A "Super Shake" is best when cold and creamy, but it's sometimes difficult to accomplish this while away from home. However, you can effectively make one with a few strategies:
- Invest in a small portable and handheld blender, or "Nutribullet," for home and work.
- Pre-blend shakes at home and store them in your portable cooler or refrigerator at work.
- Pre-chop all dried ingredients such as oats, flaxseed, or walnuts. Store them in zip-lock bags. When you're on the run, just add the dried ingredients to a shaker bottle and add your wet ingredients. Shake and drink!
Get Abby's Book Today!
Do you feel more confident in eating healthy while on the go now? As you can see, quick healthy meals and healthy snacks on the go don't have to be difficult. Memorize the five easy healthy eating habits, and they will help you as you make selections while dining out or eating at home.
Also, abiding by the five healthy eating habits doesn't mean that you can't have a "treat" every so often. However, sticking to the healthy habits 80 to 90 percent of the time will help you build a healthier body. You may even lose a few unwanted pounds! With that being said, the mindset of most who eat out believe that dining out is a treat. If you dine out often, it would be wise to plan which day you will schedule your treat day.
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About the author
Abby Campbell, BSc, SFN, SSN, CPT, is a leading professional fitness and nutrition expert, researcher, and published author. For the past 10 years, she has coached thousands of women locally and online to lose body fat and lead healthy lifestyles. Her clients have lost thousands of pounds, reclaimed health, and call her “Coach No Gimmick.” She is from Northern Virginia but now resides near Charlotte, North Carolina. Abby has been married for 20 years and has three grown daughters, one of which is autistic. She is a 19 year cancer survivor.