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.
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