Eating on the Move: 6 Practical Solutions
Many of our clients have extremely busy lifestyles or have jobs that prevent them from being able to buy good food or don’t have the facilities to make good food during the day.
Recently we have been working with some of the stunt crew filming Thor 2, unfortunately the quality of food that is offered on set is not optimal, yet it is imperative that they stay fuelled with quality food that will enable them to perform at the highest standard, so coming up with practical solutions is imperative. Below are 6 simple solutions for eating when you have limited access to cooking your own food or the food on offer is not optimal for you. I use these every working day as I have no access to a fridge or cooking appliances at work and am often out of my house from 6am until 9pm.
Tip 1: Shop regularly or arrange your shopping to be delivered regularly
Eating healthy is about having healthy food to cook or prepare. If you get in at night hungry and you are ready to cook some dinner, yet there is nothing in the fridge to cook you are much more likely to either order a take away or go and buy something that is quick to cook or not as healthy as it should be. Also you should never shop on an empty stomach, this will almost certainly lead to purchases of food that do not fit in with your healthy eating plan. Make sure you always have a steady supply of vegetables, fish, meats, fruits, herbs and spices; these are the base of any healthy diet.
Although I always encourage a varied diet with your vegetables, fruits, meats and fish, I find the people that get the best results are those that keep structure to their meal planning. For example when I shop I buy foods knowing what I am going to eat and when. Below is a very simplistic approach to rotating and planning your protein sources:
- Day 1: Chicken / Salmon / Beef
- Day 2: Cod / Pork / Trout
- Day 3: Turkey / Mackerel /Eggs
- Day 4: Sardines / Prawns / Halibut
- Day 5: Lamb / Haddock / Venison
For those that want to take it a step further you can start to plan out what foods and when you are going to eat them, e.g. adding to the list above the vegetables, fruits and fats you intend to eat on those days. Whilst this may seem a bit over the top this encourages you to start making new meals and experiencing foods you may not have had for a long time whilst not exposing the body to the same food all the time which can sometimes lead to food sensitivities. It is not uncommon for me to see a food diary that over the space of a week consists of only 1-3 different protein sources, usually chicken, beef and pork.
Often the reaction to eating the way I usually recommend is that it gets boring. Food is only as boring as the chef! Boring is waking in the morning, eating the same cereal every day, having a sandwich for lunch from the same shop and eating a pasta dish in the evening. What sort of diet do you think your body finds more stimulating and exciting, a beige diet or a diet full of colour and nutrients?
Tip 2: Batch cook your food
When someone says they don’t have time to make and eat good food it instantly gets my back up. I have this discussion with people all the time when it comes to breakfast. For some people I recommend the meat and nut breakfast, often this is a change from the usual cereals and toast for breakfast. The usual response is I don’t have time to cook that in the morning, my response is you don’t have to, why not batch cook food the night before and keep it in the fridge, ready for you to eat the next day? This way you have no preparation time in the morning, it actually becomes quicker than cereal and toast!
Batch cooking is the most simple time saving advice I can give someone that is trying to eat healthy. Let’s be honest most people don’t like spending too much time cooking and washing up, personally I like cooking and find it a really good way to relax, as for the washing up, well I prefer to do as little of that as possible.
Make batch cooking part of your evening routine, instead of watching rubbish TV and wasting time on Facebook, unless of course its on the Body Solutions London Facebook Page. You should know what you are going to eat the next day and if you followed tip 1 you should have food ready to make.
Tip 3: Buy a Cool Bag and Ice Blocks
All this nice food you are cooking needs to be kept fresh and edible. A cool bag and some ice blocks are a great purchase. There are many different shapes and sizes depending on the amount of food you are taking in to work.
Tip 4: Buy a food flask
One of my best purchases for food was my food flask. There is only so much eating of cold meats, vegetables and salads one can do without getting a little bored and with the winter setting in now some nice hot food is always a pleasure during the day, especially if you work outside.
We have a variety of one pot recipes and we are continually adding more in our members section which is free to join. These are ideal for your food flasks, simply batch cook a soup, stew, curry etc the night before and warm up in the morning on the hob whilst in the shower and add to your food flask. Most decent food flasks will keep your food hot for at least 8-12 hours.
Tip 5: Know your supermarket options
If for some reason you have not managed to cook your own food or perhaps you are working away you should always be aware of the simple options you can get from your local supermarket or minimarket.
Earlier in the year I did a challenge called the healthy fast food challenge where I had to try and make some meals from what the leading supermarkets had on offer in their smaller outlets, such as Tesco Express, Sainsbury’s Local and M&S. Whilst everything is not 100% spot on it is a demonstration that if you look around you can make a good meal/snack out of what is on offer, rather than either skipping your meal or grabbing a quick pasta salad or sandwich. Here are the results of that challenge:
Marks and Spencers
- Mexican chicken slices with baby gem lettuce. Make a no bread chicken sandwich.
- House Salad with 3 bean salad and sliced beef.
- Calamari rings with red pepper dressing, lemon and pepper prawns, sundried tomatoes and 1/2bag of wild rocket.
- 2x poached salmon fillets with ½ bag of wild rocket.
- 1 pack of Moroccan Chicken Kebabs with ½ a bag of raw carrot batons.
- 2 cans of mackerel in tomato sauce, a bunch of celery and a pack of green beans.
- Hot Chicken, ½ bag of spinach.
- 2 cans of wild salmon with spring onion, pepper and ½ bag of spinach.
- 2 Packs of cooked king prawns with ½ a cucumber, small punnet of cherry tomatoes, ½ a tub of olives.
- 2 cans of sardines in olive oil, ½ a cucumber, ½ a tub of olives and some lettuce.
- 1 cold roasted chicken, with mixed leaf salad and olive oil. (chicken did contain very small quantities of brown sugar and dextrose, not ideal).
- 1 can of tuna, combined with ½ cucumber, ½ avocado.
- Tinned Mackerel in tomato sauce combined with cherry tomatoes, ½ cucumber, ½ avocado, handful of Brazil nuts.
- Wafer thin roast ham with baby gem lettuce, yellow pepper, celery sticks. (ham contained a preservative).
- Canned pilchards in a tomato sauce with mixed leaf salad, red pepper, olives, olive oil and carrots, handful of Brazil nuts.
Tip 6: Always pack emergency foods
Emergency foods are important for those of you that travel a lot. Whenever I travel I always add these to my bags, I also have them at work and usually a stash in my car. These are fall back foods for if you have ran out of food or find yourself somewhere where you have not been able to take your own food. Here is a basic list of emergency foods:
- Canned Mackerel or sardines in olive oil or tomato sauce.
- Bag of nuts. I prefer macadamia nuts because they are low in Polyunsaturated fats and high in monounsaturated.
- Small jar of pickled olives.