We all know eating real food versus the processed, packaged, junk food is the better choice for our bodies and our health but committing to healthier eating does take some planning and prepping. As a mobile chiropractor, I spend most of my week on the go and in the car traveling to patients’ homes, so I had to figure out easy ways to eat the foods that make me feel best without the hassle. In order to eat real food on the go I had to be more creative and think outside the box (literally) when choosing healthy and nutritious meals that didn’t take hours to prepare. Here is my on the go guide to eating real food, I hope it makes your life a little easier and healthier!
Start the Day off Right
You have heard “breakfast is the most important meal of the day” but what they forgot to tell you was how important protein is in the AM. Our bodies produce a stress hormone called cortisol, which spikes about 20-30 minutes after waking. This stress hormone helps us wake up and get our day going by providing our body with the energy (glucose or sugar) it needs by breaking down protein found in our muscles. Unfortunately, people’s lives are busier and more stressful than ever resulting in higher levels of cortisol and more muscle tissue breakdown. To help minimize the effects of cortisol we can make sure to eat 20-30 grams of protein in our daily breakfast. Studies have shown that adding protein to breakfast will also lead to feeling fuller longer, less cravings and less late night snacking.
My favorite way to get the protein I need in the morning while still making it to work on time and without added stress is protein shakes and eggs. I use a dairy-free protein with 21 grams of protein in just one scoop. To keep breakfast exciting I add different berries and non-dairy milks for a nutritious and filling meal. If you are vegetarian, try a pea protein and if you are not sensitive to dairy, whey is also a great choice, especially if you are weight lifting and trying to build muscle.
On the Go Snacks
Snacking in between meals helps us keep our blood sugar from dropping and becoming “hangry”. Picking the right snack is important and can help us avoid spikes and drops in our blood sugar which have a negative effect on our metabolism. Choosing snacks that are high in good fats and protein rather than carbohydrates will better satisfy our hunger and keep us fuller longer. My favorite snacks are mixed nuts or fruit with nut butters. The fat in the nuts fuel our brains while a little natural sugar from fruit can satisfy our mid-day sugar cravings. My favorite on the go snack is an apple or banana with Justin’s Classic Almond Butter squeeze packets.
Another easy and nutritious snack is veggies and guacamole! To make this snack on-the go friendly chop your veggies ahead of time and put them in individual baggies and look for 100 calorie guacamole packets at the grocery store.
A Little Preparation Goes a Long Way
After a long day, standing in the kitchen chopping veggies and spending an hour making dinner just isn’t realistic for a lot of us. This is why on Sunday night I spend 30 minutes chopping sweet potatoes, carrots, zucchini, and other seasonal veggies that I can easily throw on a baking sheet with a little coconut oil and seasonings to roast later in the week. On Sunday, I also hard boil and peel eggs for a quick weekday breakfast or snack. It is a great idea to plan 2-3 meals for the upcoming week before you go grocery shopping to avoid buying things you don’t need and that ultimately go to waste. Another on- the- go tip is to make a few extra servings of dinner and pack the leftovers in container to take with you the next day.
When You’re in a Pinch
Making healthy food choices is a lifestyle change and also needs to fit into our busy lifestyles. Sometimes you may only have 20 minutes for lunch and you may have forgotten to prep or pack food, but don’t worry, you don’t have to settle for a greasy burger and fries. Many fast food restaurants are adding healthy choices to their menus and some of these restaurants are doing a better job than others. When I am in a pinch, my top “fast food” choices are a grilled chicken salad from Chick-fil-A, a burrito bowl from Chipotle (minus the rice, plus the fajita veggies), or chopped salad from places like Mad Greens. Here is a list of the best fast food salads to give you some more options!
More Choices, Less Excuses
Sticking to eating real whole foods doesn’t have to be stressful or overly time consuming. Be creative and switch up your choices of fruits, veggies, and protein sources each time you grocery shop to keep your new lifestyle from becoming stale. Pinterest is a wonderful tool with unlimited ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Check out my “Real Food” Pinterest board for tons of healthy and wholesome ideas! When searching Pinterest or online for recipes try using keywords like “paleo,” “whole 30,” or “anti-inflammatory” to find the best real food dishes.
I hope this on-the-go guide helps see eating real foods doesn’t have to be a hassle and can be easily achieved with a little creativity and preparation.