Fueling Your Body on a Busy Schedule

The days get busy. Let’s face it. You’re running between meetings and errands, juggling multiple responsibilities throughout the day. It’s hard to squeeze in time to stop and fix healthy meals all of the time. It’s easy to hit up the drive-thru, saving yourself a mess in the kitchen and satisfying your tummy’s desires.

But those quick grabs don’t often provide the right fuel to keep you going. Packed with preservatives, sodium and saturated fat, these fast food options are not going to support your health like other choices. So is there a solution? If you’re struggling to eat well and keep up with your schedule, give these tips a try.

1. Plan Your Menu

Pick a day each week to create a shopping list and menu. Don’t go crazy. It’s best to simplify, sticking to a few items that you can eat throughout the week in rotation. Write out a time frame of when you get hungry, trying to eat every few hours to avoid cravings and crashes. What could you get at the store to fit that spot?

Several free applications allow you to view the calorie, fat and salt intake. You might even see a breakdown of the vitamins the foods supply. If you’re unsure if these choices deliver essential nutrients, plug a proposed daily menu into a wellness diet app.

In addition, think about the hard-to-eat times and compensate by having a game plan ready to go. Are you skipping breakfast to get to the car? Plan for a protein shake and coffee for yourself. For your kids, rely on low-sugar yogurt and cereal paired with multivitamins for teens.

Are afternoons at the fields hard? Maybe you find yourself starving at 3? Select one or two on-hand items that you could throw in a bag or keep in a desk or car for these moments. A bag of light popcorn or a pre portioned pack of nuts may reduce your desire for french fries.

2. Carry Water With You

If you’re looking to keep in top shape and feel good, don’t just focus on giving yourself the right foods. Concentrate on your fluid levels too. For instance, Harvard Health Publishing discusses the benefits of water intake, noting that proper hydration supports several medical functions such as removing bacteria, balancing electrolyte levels and assisting in body temperature regulation. In addition, it could help with digestion and help with the flow of nutrients.

When life gets hectic, water is sometimes the first thing people forget. You might grab some crackers and a cheese stick but leave the glass empty. Don’t do that! Dehydration leads to problems, and it can happen quickly: within just two hours. You may feel less energy, suffer from memory problems and begin to feel hungry sooner, seeking out things to satisfy cravings. Avoid this problem and support your body by carrying a water bottle with you throughout the day. When it’s empty, fill it up. You don’t want to feel thirsty. That’s a sign you’ve gone too long without drinking.

3. Pack and Portion

When the alarm clock goes off, you take off with it, hardly stopping for a minute. Take what you planned for the week and ensure it’s portable, stress-free, tasty and quick. Did you pick out apple slices and cheese for the morning snack? Do you have salad for lunch? Unless you hire a meal company (which could work too if they fit your nutrition plan). However, if you planned for consistency, meal prep could take 30 minutes or less and provide satisfying fuel.

Carve out time for your packing and portioning. Put veggies in a bag. Pair it with hummus or premade guacamole. Use Tupperware to piece together hardier selections that you don’t have to sweat about during the week.

Tackle the busy schedule and eat well. Plan for simple meals throughout the week, sticking to some of your favorite healthy selections. Keep water close by to avoid dehydration, and pack and portion at the start of the week.

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