There is one thing that takes up a lot of my mental space, even when I am working from home. That question is, “What am I going to eat?” When I was working for a real estate developer, and my schedule was very predictable, I was able to shop and prepare my daily meals well in advance. Aside from the days when I stayed out too late the night before, and only managed to grab a bagel and some orange juice from the local food truck by my office, I pretty much had a system of what I would eat for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.
Once my work and personal life schedule started to become unpredictable and/or too busy to the point that a trip to the grocery store, visit to FreshDirect.com and/or even attempting to cook was not possible, I noticed my healthy eating habits went right out the window. I was skipping breakfast entirely and ordering fatty quesadillas and soda to my office everyday for lunch. Additionally, I tended to go out to dinner more often and for after work cocktails which not only did a number on my waist, it also did a number on my wallet.
In an effort to maintain a healthy eating regiment, and also keep an eye out on the coins spent on food, here are seven tips to eating healthy while maintaining your busy lifestyle:
- Make a Plan. I found that making a plan of when to shop for groceries, cook and prepare my meals alleviated most of the stress involved with eating. When I had a quick moment at work, I would jot down my grocery list, and either put in an order via FreshDirect.com while on break or go to the store on Friday evening (most often the slowest evening during my single days as we partied during the week). Sunday’s, after church and brunch, were my days to cook and prepare my meals for the week. I knew exactly what I was going to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner each day at work, which cut down on my expenses and caloric intake.
- Eat Breakfast. I honestly do not understand how I was once able to go without breakfast. I thought I was doing myself a favor by skipping it, and just utilizing those calories for lunch, however, I was doing myself a grave disservice. Not only did it aid in slowing down my metabolism, it also made me grouchy. Eating a breakfast high in complex carbohydrates (i.e. oatmeal, cereal, fruit and vegetables) as well and fiber and protein, will give you the morning boost you need to tackle your day.
- Invest in a Great Water Tumbler. I found that having a trusted tumbler or thermos for my water assisted greatly in my daily consumption. I would fill this thing up at least 3-4 times a day and make it a point to drink it all before I left work. Be certain that you invest in one that does not leak, because the ability to toss this thing (water and all) into your bag or purse keeps you accountable even when commuting.
- Keep Snacks within Arm’s Reach. If I am hungry between meals and there are cookies within arm’s reach, I eat cookies. If I am hungry between meals, and there is only fruit within arm’s reach, I am eating fruit. You can’t consume something that is not there, so make it a point to only keep healthy snack options around. To make it easier, pack small baggies of fruit and nuts and place in your lunch bag to keep you away from the vending machine.
- Cut Down on the Sugar. Leave the Now and Later’s at the local bodega, and cut down on the sodas and coffee at work. Instead show off your new water tumbler and sip on some tea.
- Limit Alcohol Intake. I know I tried it with this one, but it works, trust me. That ONE glass of wine you thought you would have at the company reception can easily turn into 2 or 3. Let us not even touch on the cocktails loaded with sugar that you may have after work when meeting up with friends. As a gal who once loved herself a cocktail (I’m 8 months pregnant), not being able to consume has shown me how much alcohol contributed to my chubby cheeks and belly. My face was fatter on my wedding day than it is now this far along in my pregnancy. That’s a damn shame.
- Take Your Vitamins. A good quality multivitamin/mineral is a must-have, along with probiotic supplementation, a B-complex vitamin (for stress, metabolism and healthy immune) and a good quality EFA (essential fatty acid/omega 3) supplement. Fish oil capsules also help to keep brain function high, digestion smooth, stress down, inflammation down and appetite controlled. Keep them close to your kitchen, so as to make it a point to take them daily with breakfast.
Rashida Maples, Esq. is Founder and Managing Partner of J. Maples & Associates (www.jmaplesandassociates.com . She has practiced Entertainment, Real Estate and Small Business Law for 9 years, handling both transactional and litigation matters. Her clients include R&B Artists Bilal and Olivia, NFL Superstar Ray Lewis, Fashion Powerhouse Harlem’s Fashion Row and Hirschfeld Properties, LLC.
Check Out This Gallery Of Groceries You Should Buy To Keep Your Waist Snatched:
1. Keep These In Your Fridge For Healthy Eating
If you're like me (and you need pointers in order to eat healthy), this list is going to be your saving grace! Sometimes when I go to the grocery store, I end up buying things I don't need or forgetting things that I need for the week. So I tapped George Zoitas, CEO of Westside Market NYC to give me a few tips on what to keep on your grocery list in order to eat healthy everyday. Check out what items made the list.
2. Ready-To-Eat Green Salad
Use a high-nutrient spinach as the base of a salad and top with cherry tomatoes, beans and nuts. Transform this side dish into a meal by adding grilled chicken breast, cooked shrimp or any of your faves!
3. Whole Wheat Pita Pocket Or Tortilla
These are associated with a variety of health benefits including weight control. You can pack the pita or wrap with all of your healthy faves and eat it on the go. Everything that you like on your salad--wrap it up!
4. Low-Fat Dairy Foods
The options here can be yogurt, cottage cheese or a reduced-fat cheese which provide both calcium and protein. Dairy products are also great for snacks or used within meals. These products stretch and can keep you healthy for multiple meals and multiple days.
5. Prepared Pesto Made With Olive Oil
Olive oil has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties and this pesto is a great way to work it into your diet. But don't just stop at pesto; use on snacks or main dishes too!
6. Almond Butter
Almond butter is considered a “smart fat,” which helps in lowering cholesterol and enhances the immune system. While almond butter has many great properties, make sure you follow the portion size, as it's still high in fat, even though it is the healthy kind. You can use this yummy treat as a snack or you can get creative with it in your main dishes.
Hummus is an easy protein-rich snack that fights hunger and balances blood sugar levels. Yummy on it's own, with your fave veggies or on a pita, hummus is a savory snack worth keeping in your fridge.
Salsa actually low in calories, when you skip the tortilla chips. Use the healthy snack on brown rice, flax or sesame seed crackers instead of the chips and you'll find yourself snacking without the guilt. In the morning try it on your eggs or put it on your salads at lunch or dinner. It's a great condiment no matter what time of day it is!
Some believe that while dieting, eating only the egg whites is best, but it's not; you to leave out all the protein, which is found in the yolk. The yolk protein helps stimulate the release of glucagon, which aids in fat-burning specially belly fat.
10. Chia Seeds
Chia seeds are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, calcium and iron, all which are great for weight loss. You can put these in smoothies, on your salad or use them to bread your chicken or thicken your soup.
This is a gluten-free grain, which can be savory or sweet, depending on what it is mixed with. As a complete protein source, quinoa is packed with amino acids and vitamin B. Hello health! Cook this up as a side or add some texture to your salad, either way, you're packing in a lot of benefits with one little ingredient.
12. Lean Protein
Having lean protein in your fridge is important because it helps keep you full. Excellent sources of this include skinless poultry, edamame, crab, fish fillets and pork tenderloin.
Bananas are packed with potassium and fiber and can be added to other nutritious foods that aid in dieting, like oatmeal and almond butter. This is one of the best snacks to always have on-hand.
Mushrooms are is often overlooked when dieting, but these "fun guys" help to tide you over in between meals. They also can act as a side or even the full meal, especially if you like portobello mushrooms.
Blueberries are on the top of the list for the fruits with the most health benefits. They have 40% more antioxidant capacity than strawberries, are high in vitamin C and strengthen the immune system! Keep these around to put in your yogurt, on your salad or just to have as a snack.
16. Bell Pepper
Red, yellow or green, bell peppers help in improving the looks of hair and skin, as well as eases aches and pains. Also, due to the high water content, this low-calorie food assists in weight loss. Keep these around for snacks, or cook them up in your meals.